McMurray Scores First Top-10 Restrictor Plate Finish TALLADEGA, Ala., (April 25, 2004) --- Jamie McMurray and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team continued their recent string of top-10 finishes today when McMurray scored ninth-place honors in...
McMurray Scores First Top-10 Restrictor Plate Finish
TALLADEGA, Ala., (April 25, 2004) --- Jamie McMurray and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team continued their recent string of top-10 finishes today when McMurray scored ninth-place honors in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The result marked McMurray's first top-10 restrictor plate finish in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition.
"That was a lot worse than Martinsville," McMurray said. "I've never been hit that hard on a superspeedway. It was cool, but the 29 (Kevin Harvick) and 20 (Tony Stewart) hit me so hard it shoved me up in the lead a couple of times. I was trying to return the favors, but you've got to be in the right place at the right time at the end. I wish we could have had a green flag finish, but it might have been just a white-checkered and no one would have been able to pass. You've got to get up to speed before you can do it, so it wouldn't have been that exciting. All-in-all, it was a good day for the Texaco/Havoline team."
After qualifying 33rd, McMurray used patience in the early stages of the race as he maneuvered through the tightly bunched field. By lap 50, the Texaco/Havoline Dodge was running in the 15th position.
McMurray was able to dodge several big wrecks during the day, including one that occurred on lap 82. During the caution period, McMurray headed for pit road and elected only to top off his fuel tank in an effort to gain track position. The strategy paid off as he was running in the second position by lap 92.
The Texaco/Havoline Dodge shot into the lead on lap 114 as the caution flag waved for debris on the racetrack. McMurray would be shown as the leader through lap 115 when he headed for pit road with the leaders to take four tires and fuel.
McMurray would lead again from laps 122-123 as the Texaco/Havoline Dodge began to flex its muscle. He would remain in the top-10 through the end of the race.
As the race reached the final laps, McMurray was in a spirited battle for the victory with the lead draft of cars when the caution flag waved on lap 183. With less than four laps remaining in the race, NASCAR was unable to get the field restarted and the race ended under caution with the Texaco/Havoline Dodge crossing the finish line in ninth place.
The ninth-place finish continues a string of solid runs for the Texaco/Havoline team. McMurray has posted two top-five and six top-10 finishes in the first nine races of 2004.
McMurray was also able to add to his "Drive for a Cure" fundraising total for the Autism Society of America. McMurray led four laps today totaling $168. With the pledge matches from ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, the total money raised today was $504. To date, $15,120 has been raised for the Autism Society of America.
Throughout the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, McMurray will donate $42 for every lap he leads to the Autism Society of America. In addition, the Joplin, Mo. native will donate $42 for every pole he wins in 2004. ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be matching both of McMurray's pledges during the 2004 season.
Next up for McMurray and the Texaco/Havoline team is a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. in preparation for the upcoming race in June.
McMurray and the team then set their sites on the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. for the running of next Sunday's Auto Club 500.