JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) "I didn't think the tires were any different here than they've been in the past. The tires fell off faster at the Vegas test than they did here. I made some long runs in my Busch car, and it feels...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
"I didn't think the tires were any different here than they've been in the past. The tires fell off faster at the Vegas test than they did here. I made some long runs in my Busch car, and it feels like the same Rockingham to me.
"I ran fifth here last year. I think we'll be one of the cars to beat tomorrow. Really in the fall, I don't know if we could have won the race, but throughout the majority of the race we had the fastest car. We were 10 laps down because we had to put a radiator in it. This is probably my best racetrack. We qualified well, and I think we've got a good shot to win the race.
"I don't know why this is my best track. If I knew I'd try to do to everywhere else. Everyone has a track where they run well, and this is the place I run well. I didn't run well at Darlington until last year, but it seems like guys who run well here run well at Darlington. I wish they could get some people in the stands. It's frustrating for me because I really like this place. To look up there and not see the stands full is disappointing.
"You've got Martinsville, Charlotte and Darlington close by. I don't if there's just not enough people around here or what. This is obviously NASCAR country. You've got two Charlottes, two Darlingtons, two Martinsvilles. I don't know why people wouldn't want to come here because it's a better race than anywhere else we go. They always have duels here.
"You can pass anywhere here. If a guy goes someplace, you can go the other way and pass him if you're faster, no doubt about it. You have to have a good car. The driver can't do it all, but it's no different than anywhere else. I think you can change your line here to make your car different and some places you can't. You can move around everywhere here.
"I'm hoping to run 18 Busch races this year. We're only guaranteed for here and Vegas, but I think we'll have a sponsor soon. I'd say by Darlington we'll have a sponsor on there. I think for me when you get to run both series it's an advantage. I like racing, so it works out well. The guys who are running the full schedule in both series, I think that's ignorant. I don't know why you'd want to fly from Pocono to Pikes Peak. The way I look at the Busch Series is it helps my Cup program. I enjoy racing it, but you can't jeopardize your job for fun. When you race Cup, you race the Busch car because you enjoy it and it might help you out. You can't jeopardize your job for that. I'd run a stand alone if it was on an off weekend, but I'd never do it flying back and forth.
"I looked at Junior last year. He was terrible or had terrible finishes at Daytona and Rockingham. It's not the end of the world. If you run well, you can get back up front, but under this new system you've got to run well every week and try not to have any problems. You've got to be there by the 26th race, but you've just got to get within 400 points. If you're 400 points behind you still get to start over. It might be better. We haven't really discussed strategy for it. It's not going to be fair for the guy leading. For the guy that's 399 points behind it's going to be great. For the guy that's 401 points behind it's going to stink.
"We raced well at Daytona, and we didn't race well there last year. We came here and qualified second. We're feeling pretty good. It was disappointed at Daytona because we ran so well in the Shootout and finished third in the 125. We ran in the top five in the Daytona 500 until it overheated and we had to come in and pull the trash off of it. Then we went back out and were in the back and got caught up in a wreck 20 laps later. You're there for two weeks and you run so well for 13 days. Then on the 14th day when you really need to run well you don't have anything to show for it. It's pretty hard to swallow.
"I don't know if we could have outrun Junior, but we would have been in the lead pack. I'm sure of it."
DONNIE WINGO (Crew chief No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
"Unless we mess something up bad, I've never seen Jamie run bad here. I think this track fits his driving style. He's real smooth with the accelerator. He's not bad about breaking it loose coming off the corner. He just runs well here. He hasn't been that good at Darlington, and Darlington is like Rockingham to a certain degree but you've got to run Darlington a little different. The last race at Darlington we had a car that could have won the race. We were leading with 15 laps to go and got beat out of the pits, but I think Jamie has gotten better everywhere.
"It was tough to get a finish like we did at Daytona after running as well as we did down there all week. I've always tried to forget about what we did last week and try to concentrate on what we've got to do this week.
"You've got to look at every race this year. You could still come back if you had a bad finish here. You'd just need a few good races in a row, but we're not looking at coming out of here with a bad finish. If that happens, you've just got to keep pushing on.
"The biggest thing I like about Jamie is his enthusiasm. He wants to be involved with what's going on. He's real knowledgeable about what he wants with the cars. I think that's what happened toward the end of last season. During the race he knew what kind of adjustments we needed to make to get what he needed. I think that's what helped us as the season went along. We worked together better and better.
"I think the whole team atmosphere makes it work. We've got a great bunch of people, not just with the 42 but throughout the whole organization. We've got a lot of people we can lean back on if we get in trouble. I think that helps out a lot. It puts you more in a comfort zone. If you do get in trouble, you've got a lot of people to bounce things off of to get ideas to get better.
"This is my 22nd or 23rd year in the sport. I worked with Bud Moore 10 years. I learned a lot there, and I learned a lot from Jimmy Means, too. I wouldn't take nothing for that. As far as calling the race, Travis Carter taught me a lot about that. I always thought Travis Carter was one of the best on pit road when it came to calling the race."