NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Ford 400
Topics: Ford 400
November 16, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Joined is our third place finisher in today's race. He finished the 2008 season certainly on on a strong serge. That's the driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford, that's Jamie McMurray.
Jamie, congratulations. You had a heck of a run here the last few races, particularly the last two weekends. Your thoughts?
JAMIE McMURRAY: We had another really good car tonight. And the way the pit sequences worked out where some guys would put, some would put two on, and we kept having those short cautions. We got shuffled back to like 14th or 15th. When it gets late in the race, it becomes a lot harder to pass than it does the first few runs, because everybody gets their car better.
So Larry just made a wonderful decision to go ahead and pit at the end, and just try to save gas. You know, to get the best finish we could. So I ran the last, I don't know, whatever it was, 55 laps. I ran about ten of them hard, then I just kind of pedaled it the remainder of the race to make sure we could make it to the end.
Q. What's the difference between the Chase and before? Are you guys testing stuff? And certainly with the success that you've had in the last short period of time, is there any mixed emotions about changing crew chiefs at this point?
JAMIE McMURRAY: There's not really anything different. If you looked back and paid attention to our team, for the last three months, we've had just really fast cars and didn't have much to show for it. And for the last two months, we've had things just kind of go our way. Obviously, the last month has just been incredible.
I don't know that even when I was with Ganassi and, you know, could contend to make the Chase, I didn't run as well as I am right now. It's by far the best I've run in my career. It just seems that every week you have a chance to win. So it's a lot of fun to get to run that well.
You know, the same thing, when the season started everybody was asking me what is wrong? And I'm not doing anything different now. I think I'm able to communicate with the crew chief and the engineer better to make better adjustments. And when the race starts cars are just faster.
I tell you, if we could have qualified for the five or six races that rained out, we could have qualified well and raced better in those races. But when you have to start back in the 20s it takes forever to get to the front, and you just have to race differently.
Q. When you have gotten here in the last couple of weeks, I guess it was Texas and here -- at Texas you seemed to be the guy with the gas strategy. Here you came back in and topped off, I'm assuming you figured you were going to go the distance and that may carry you to the end. You tried it both ways and still couldn't win. Does it show how frustrating and difficult it is? I keep looking at what Carl did in the Chase, and Jimmie still beat him. It's a typical thing to do what they've done here. All this winning and all these championships that Jimmie has done, this isn't easy to do, is it?
JAMIE McMURRAY: No, and when we got shuffled back to 12th and 14th, wherever it was, it made the decision all that easier to go ahead and pit. Larry said we were two laps short on fuel, and I was like, man, I'll save you two laps of fuel. I really believe I can do that. So it makes it easier when you're farther back.
I really thought the 29 was going to be the car to beat. I saw the 18 and the 6 run out, when we took the white, I was like I don't care if I run right now, when you think you're racing for a win, it's worth it to take that chase to maybe run out. But what Carl was able to do to have not only one of the fastest cars on the track, but to get the fuel mileage he does, that's something a lot of drivers will look into is how they can try to get better mileage.
Obviously, I drive for the same team. We have the same carburetors, the same guys tuning them. It's not like he has a bigger gas tank or a leaner engine. But he always gets better fuel mileage than anybody. The rest of us tend to get similar fuel mileage, but not as good as Carl's. So we have to look at that and try to make it better as a whole.
THE MODERATOR: Jamie, you really finished strong. Good way to finish the season, congratulations.
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