JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: McMurray qualified on speed for his first NASCAR Winston Cup race Friday at Rockingham and will start second in Sunday's race. "It's pretty amazing how much everything has changed...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: McMurray qualified on speed for his first NASCAR Winston Cup race Friday at Rockingham and will start second in Sunday's race.
"It's pretty amazing how much everything has changed the last few months. We tested here and I think we brought 20 sets of tires with us and made 15 sticker runs. We felt pretty good about qualifying, but I didn't think we could qualify that could. I thought if we could get in the top five or top 10 for that matter that I'd be pretty happy.
"We were fortunate that it rained at Charlotte and Atlanta. We wouldn't have qualified as well as where we started. I think we would have almost had to get a provisional. We just weren't that good. We tested here and anytime you test somewhere you feel better about coming back. When you feel like you had a good test that especially helps.
"All of the cars at Ganassi are the same. The paint on the outside is about all that's different. We have different crews. When we go test we take engineers from both teams, not just one. Just like here, when I'm with the Havoline team next year I can go over and talk to all of those guys. The biggest thing we have on our side is almost everywhere we've been we've been able to unload with Sterling's setup and use it really close. I think that's something that's going to be great for next year. When we go to some of these racetracks that I've never been to, we'll have a great starting point.
"I think every driver has his own style of driving. Glover told me when we went to Charlotte to drive a lot like Sterling. Sterling doesn't really charge corners. I think he's really smooth at rolling out of the throttle. They said I drive a lot like him and that's why the setups are working - similar driving style. Jimmy (Spencer) a lot of times can't run our setups, I don't think. He can at some tracks. I think it's just because Jimmy drives so hard. That guy is always on the edge.
"Tony has been around so long. I really value and respect his opinion on everything. When he tells me something I believe it. I don't ever second-guess him. He has some great stories. If you ever want to hear about the old days, Glover has the story. He's just tried everything, and he's been around so long, when he tells me something I really believe. If you would say somebody is like your dad on the team, I would say Glover would be like my dad. I always feel like he's looking out for my best interest. He's the guy who always comes on the radio the lap before we make a change and says it's big and be careful the first lap. He's just a great guy. He's really an intelligent guy. It's kind of neat the way the team works. Lee is the crew chief and makes a lot of calls, but at the same time they talk to Andy and Doug on the other team and also to Tony. The decision is made between all of them, and it's neat the way that works."
"To go and run well at Atlanta meant a lot. We didn't practice well in qualifying trim. We lucked out and it rained. We didn't have a very good car at the beginning of the race, but when the rain made the racetrack green, that really helped us. I found a line in my Busch car, and my Busch car is really helping me out. I think that's what made me consistent in a Cup car because I'm getting so much track time. I think they're both helping each other. I learn something on the Busch side and bring it over here. Then I learn something here. We tested here with the Cup car a couple of weeks ago and I qualified the same setup pretty much in both cars. It's pretty neat we're getting to run as consistent as we are. Everything is just on my side. This is the first Cup race I've qualified for (on speed) and we qualified second. Realistically, I would have two provisionals and a second so far. It makes it better so you guys don't rag on me on why I won a race and now I'm in provisional land. So yeah, it's making it easier on me.
"Everyone wants to be first, but it's a long race. I didn't really expect to beat him (Ryan Newman). When they said the lap we ran, our car picked up so much but it didn't feel as good. I knew that he was so much quicker than everybody else in practice that more than likely unless something happened, the sun came out and the track got a lot warmer, that he more than likely was going to beat us. I didn't think we'd even be second. I thought we'd be fifth to seventh. I'm proud of second, but I'm a little disappointed.
"I've been nervous before. We were fifth in practice this morning and that was a pretty easy lap. I didn't feel like I was ragged the whole time, and I felt like we could back up our time there. I always get in my car early before qualifying. I like to get in it early and get situated and be comfortable. I was joking around. As soon as qualifying started I jumped in real quick and said, 'you guys see how nervous I get now.' Our car was so good in practice. I feel like I learned a lot in Busch qualifying. I feel like I overdrove it this morning in each corner. I just got backing my corners up, and I felt like if I could do that I'd run a good lap."