McMurray enjoys new stardom

Following qualifying at the Michigan Speedway two weeks ago, a Cinderella story began for a young rookie in his Dodge Ram. Rookie candidate, Jamie McMurray won his first-ever pole position during his first weekend with the TKO Motorsports...

Following qualifying at the Michigan Speedway two weeks ago, a Cinderella story began for a young rookie in his Dodge Ram. Rookie candidate, Jamie McMurray won his first-ever pole position during his first weekend with the TKO Motorsports Dodge team. What the 24-year old McMurray didn't realize was the media attention that he would receive along with his 177 mph new track record.

Until that Friday afternoon, McMurray had never been to the Bud Pole board and wasn't even sure of its location, but the big fun for McMurray was following his first top-ten finish when he returned home.

"My mom and sister taped every television show that interviewed me or even talked about me and ended up showing me almost six hours of myself on television," said McMurray. "Of course I had to critique myself and all I kept noticing was this funny thing that I did with my lip when I talked. I need to stop that, but my sister told me not to worry about it and just be myself."

"All of this has actually been a big shock to me and I'm real flattered at all the attention that people have given to me and I just hope that I can back up my performance from Michigan this week at IRP. I really feel like we have a good chance to get a top five and maybe even a win. I guess because this is the type of track that I grew up racing on and running as well as we did at a speedway that I'm not as comfortable racing on also increases my confidence level."

While it takes most teams several weeks or even months to gel and work together between the driver and crew, the TKO Dodge team has gelled quite well in just a week.

"I just can't believe how dedicated and hard-working the guys on this TKO Dodge team are," said McMurray. "All of the guys are willing to help each other to improve and learn new things, I think it makes the whole group even stronger. And Todd (Meyers) has put together a group of guys that just love to race. At Michigan they gave me the most incredible pit stops every time we had to come in. They picked up positions for me every time and I would feel like I let them down on the track when I would get a bad restart or lose a position in the race. But we have all worked together great and I feel like I've found a home with TKO and with Dodge."

McMurray will make his second start in the TKO Motorsports Dodge this Thursday at IRP looking to improve upon his sixth place finish from Michigan Speedway.

Sometimes drivers have that one track that they wait all season to return to because they feel like it owes them something. Dennis Setzer and the Mopar Dodge team are looking to Indianapolis Raceway Park this week.

In 1999, Setzer put the #1 Mopar Dodge on the pole for the first time in his career in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and went on the dominate the early stages of the event. But a spin with another truck put Setzer at the back of the pack, but he worked his way back to the front to lead once again. But with nearly ten laps remaining in the race Setzer once again was involved in a spin with another truck causing his to the back for a second time. Setzer was able to rebound to finish seventh.

"I really like IRP and after running as well as we did last year and not winning the race just gives me even more ammunition to win this year," said Setzer.

Following the Michigan 200 at Michigan Speedway on July 22, 2000...

Dennis Setzer #1 Mopar Dodge Ram Started fifth, finished fifth Eighth in championship points 1 win, 6 top fives, 11 top tens $263,190 total money won

Joe Ruttman #18 Dana Dodge Ram Started 30th, finished 14th 11th in championship points 1 win, 5 top fives, 6 top tens $272,628 total money won

Randy Tolsma #25 Supergard Motor Oil Dodge Ram Started 13th, finished 10th Seventh in championship points 5 top fives, 11 top tens $280,885 total money won

Steve Grissom #43 Dodge By Petty Dodge Ram Started 14th, finished 16th Sixth in championship points 5 top fives, 9 top tens $191,850 total money won

Scott Riggs #86 RC Cola Dodge Ram Started tenth, finished 11th 23rd in championship points 0 top fives, 6 top tens $103,665 total money won 11 starts in 2000

# # # Dodge Ram Report - 1 -

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dennis Setzer , Jamie McMurray , Scott Riggs , Joe Ruttman , Randy Tolsma , Steve Grissom