Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Cask 16 Ford Fusion, posted a pair of top-10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway in 2007. HOW GOOD DID LAST WEEK'S TOP-10 AT MARTINSVILLE FEEL? "Certainly, we needed that as a race team. Our car --...
Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Cask 16 Ford Fusion, posted a pair of top-10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway in 2007.
HOW GOOD DID LAST WEEK'S TOP-10 AT MARTINSVILLE FEEL? "Certainly, we needed that as a race team. Our car -- Atlanta, really, is the only track that we've struggled at. The bigger race tracks, we really haven't hit on, what feels good to me. It's rained so much this year that we've really had limited amount of track time, so we're just trying to run what the 99 car has been running, because he has been our best car. And, we went and did a Nashville test last week and Carl [Edwards] actually went with me -- and trying to run the set-ups that he likes, I didn't like them, and we were able to make the car a lot of faster with a different-type set-up. So, with the car of tomorrow, we felt like the bodies are enough alike and the cars are enough a like that if one guy liked it then everyone should like it. And the more we learn about the car, that's not the case. It tends to take a different set-up for a different driving style."
WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET HEADING INTO THIS WEEK AFTER HAVING TO QUALIFY ON TIME LAST WEEK AT MARTINSVILLE? "Last week, if I had to pick a place to go to qualify and race, that's probably one of my best tracks. But, it's hard because you don't know if something is going to happen in qualifying. You just don't know. You've seen good cars go home because they just missed a set-up -- you never know the circumstances that you're going to be faced with. So, it's very nerve-wracking. That's a hard position to be put in. I'm glad that we ran well enough that we've got a bit of a cushion, and this is also a very good track for me. It's a different mindset on Fridays. I feel for those guys that have to make it in on time this weekend, because we'll go out and work on race trim and not really pay attention to qualifying today."
YOU HAVE SOMETHING LIKE A 59-POINT CUSHION OF 36TH PLACE. DO YOU FEEL PRETTY CONFIDENT MOVING FORWARD NOW THAT YOU WON'T HAVE TO FACE THAT AGAIN? "Well, it's different when you're racing for 36th than when you're racing for the top 12, because you can finish 15th when you're racing to make the chase and lose ground, where the guys that you're racing for 36th, they wouldn't be in 36th if they ran in the top 10 every week. So, it's a little bit easier, but with some of the luck that we've had at Bristol, you can't make those mistakes or you'll be put back in that position. But you learn from that and we'll move on."
IS THERE A SENSE THAT YOUR TEAM HAS TURNED A CORNER, AND NOW THE BAD TIMES ARE BEHIND YOU AFTER LAST WEEK? "Honestly, since winning Daytona last year, some really odd things have happened to us. At Charlotte I ran third almost all night, and with 50 laps to go we pitted and the caution came out, and then at Atlanta I was running fourth on the last lap and Dale Jr.'s tire fell off, and I got caught up in a wreck. So, I mean, we've had good cars, and just had some really odd things happen to us. I don't want to say bad luck because you tend to make your own luck, but it seems that we've been in good position and had some things happen. You always hope that once you have a good run that momentum will carry over and the luck will turn around. And for us, we're with an organization that certainly can contend to win races every weekend. So, we have all the tools, we just have to use them."
YOU MENTIONED HOW YOU LIKE MARTINSVILLE AND YOU'VE DONE WELL HERE. WHEN A DRIVER HAS SUCCESS AT A CERTAIN TRACK, IS THAT BECAUSE THE DRIVER ADJUSTS WELL TO THE TRACK? THAT THE TRACK PLAYS WELL TO A DRIVER'S ABILITIES? A COMBINATION? "Ever since I went there the first time, I liked Martinsville. And, Texas is a mile and a half, it's similar to Atlanta and Charlotte and all the other ones, and I don't know, this place has always been really, really good to me. I ran well in a truck here back in '99, and that kind of got me the opportunity to move on and do a Busch deal and then, eventually, a Cup deal. This has always been a good track. And I think some of it, you just kind of feel at home here. My home is only five hours from here."
YOU HAVE A SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND. "It's Autism Awareness Month, and certainly that's the charity that my foundation supports, and so this is an important month for us to try and create as mush awareness as we can. A few years ago I ran a black car with puzzle pieces on it and it looked really good, and we had mentioned that to Crown Royal and we have the Cask 16 paint scheme this weekend, which is a black car, and the puzzle pieces really stick out on it. It's cool that the sponsors are willing to let us promote something that's so important, not only to my family, but to the world right now. It's unreal how big autism is and how many people it affects. It's cool that they're helping us create awareness."
-credit: ford racing