NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Gatorade Duel 2
Topics: Gatorade Duel
February 16, 2006
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin the press conference portion of the second duel. Joining us is third place finisher in the 26 Crown Royal Ford. Talk about your run out there today.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Actually, it's so much tighter than what it was in the shootout. My shootout car, felt like it was the dominant car. We just haven't been able to get this car quite as quick. It was better in testing. We worked on it for the last couple days, worked on it tonight. It still just doesn't want to turn like the other car did.
Have a little bit of work ahead of us. Looked like everybody was somewhat fighting the same issues. Even the 24 leading the pack looked like he was a little bit tight. Been pretty happy, our second race together. We've already yelled at each other, got that out of the way and move on, good run for us tonight, though.
Q. There was a time where you had three Roush guys lined up behind Jeff Gordon. Is it hard to pass the leader that even with three guys lined up like, that you couldn't have passed if you wanted to?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, for some reason, when the guy gets out front, it is tough to get up beside him. I assume that since we put two tires on, Mark and Greg and I all did, that we'd be able to get on the outside.
You know, you make the commitment before it goes green that you're all going to stay in line. You get down to the corner, there's two laps to go, that's a tough commitment to keep (laughter). Everyone kind of broke apart. When that happens, it's hard to get up beside the leader. Everybody's kind of doing what they feel like is best for them.
If you probably all stayed together, you could. But I think that the caution really hurt the chances of getting by the 24. If we could have kept running, you kind of get your momentum built up. The 24 is on obviously older tires. If you can get his car to get tight while he's on the bottom, you can get a little bit of a run.
Q. A lot of the emphasis, especially prerace, was on the bump-drafting and aggressive driving. What did you see out there? Do you think it was a lot different than it might have been otherwise?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, I was fortunate that I was in the top three for most of the night. You know, I didn't have to bump anyone until the end. When it comes down to a couple laps to go, it got a little bit wild.
But nothing like the shootout. But the shootout, I don't know, the mentality when you drop the green flag in that is to try to get to the front. Run two- or three-wide. It was a lot different race. You're not racing that car in the Daytona 500. You're not quite as careful.
The 150, you know, we use it as a testing tool, seeing what our chassis would be like on long runs, when you're committed to having to stay out for 30 laps on tires, it's just a different type of race.
But I thought it was probably better than normal today.
Q. Compare your cars last year, Ganassi, to the Ford's this year? Talked to Kenny Schrader a little bit. He came from Dodge. He said the horsepower of the Ford Racing engines are phenomenal.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, I mean, the Roush, Yates engines are pretty impressive. You know, not only here at the superspeedways, but also at the Vegas test, you know, they don't seem to ever stop pulling. The new Ford Fusion, you know, they've obviously done a lot of homework on that car because it's great here, and I thought it was even better at the downforce track at Vegas.
It's tough to compare one team to another without putting one down. I'll just keep my mouth shut, but I'm happy where I am.
Q. Several drivers today have talked about the fact that this was a different kind of race from the shootout. Does that mean that this no bump zone is unnecessary, that NASCAR didn't need to make that rule?
JAMIE McMURRAY: No, I think that -- I mean, I think it's certainly something that needed to be addressed because it seems like every week or every time we would come back to the speedways, it would get worse. Guys would start, you know, obviously making their bumpers stronger in the front and weaker in the rear to get the spoiler knocked down out of the air.
It's something that needs to be addressed. I told someone earlier, there's something about when Mike Helton talks, everyone listens, very powerful voice. A lot of the drivers that went to him and complained and just wanted everyone, you know, to understand when you need to do it and when you shouldn't.
I think everyone tries to do it in the right places. I mean, I've been guilty of hitting someone in the tri-oval. It's not necessarily because I wanted to, but it's because you have someone shoving you. There's not a whole lot you can do.
No, I think it was great. The orange dots they put on the racetrack, they're very noticeable. If you're on the inside, you can see the marks they put on the track. I mean, I think it's great what they've done.
THE MODERATOR: Also joining us on the podium, we have the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, 41 Target Dodge, Reed Sorenson. Talk about your run and about being in the 500 on Sunday.
REED SORENSON: Well, we were dead last for a little bit. We just didn't really have the right gear to run the bottom. Finally moved up to the top there near the end, got a couple good runs. Had a really good run when that caution came out for the green white checkered. It wasn't very fun until we moved up to the high side there, and then it was pretty cool.
Q. Jamie, with this package, with the aggressiveness of most of the drivers out there, it seems like it's almost become impossible to finish a race either here or Talladega without it going green white checkered. What are your thoughts on that?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I'm not real sure. I don't know what happened tonight to create that. But it does seem fairly common that we've had a lot of green white checkers. It certainly gets -- everyone gets more aggressive when it comes to, you know, one or two laps to go because you're so close, even if you're 15th, you can see the front of the pack. I think it's just natural to want to shove the guy. You get a little bit anxious. Everyone is guilty of it, the side drafting or running into the guy.
I assume that's what's causing all the green white checkers.
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