MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 19, 2008) – Jamie McMurray proved this afternoon at Martinsville Speedway that his No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion was a top contending car in the 500-lap race. Starting 20th, McMurray was involved in an early accident, restarting 34th. After driving all the way to the lead and running in the top five for most of the afternoon, a rear gear broke on McMurray’s Ford Fusion leaving him with a disappointing 38th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums QuikPak 500.
For the ninth time this season rain plagued qualifying on Friday afternoon, leaving the field to be set by current 2008 Owner’s points for the start of Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway.
Before a full house at Martinsville Speedway, McMurray took the green flag from the 20th position. Making his way up to 15th before the first caution of the day was displayed, McMurray noted to crew chief Larry Carter that the car was a little tight in the middle and loose off the corners. During the first pit stop on lap 29, Carter called for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment in each of the tires. McMurray returned to the speedway scored in 28th.
The next caution was displayed just 30 laps later and this time Carter opted to stay out and not pit. This called earned the No. 26 team 19 positions on the track, as McMurray moved up to the third position. McMurray remained in the third position until lap 81 when he was spun in turn four by the No. 88 car. After pitting for four new tires, McMurray returned to the track in the 32nd position.
The caution flag was displayed again a few laps later, and to McMurray’s benefit , the No. 26 team had just pitted. Carter told McMurray to stay out allowing McMurray to the head of the field.
McMurray restarted the race as the leader and held the lead for 36 laps, before being passed by the No. 48 car.
Through solid pit stops and a great handling car, McMurray was able to remain in the top five until trouble struck the No. 26 team on lap 404. McMurray reported that a gear or axle had broken on the No. 26 machine as he exited turn four. Carter immediately directed McMurray to the garage where the team replaced the rear gear.
After returning to the speedway 29 laps down, McMurray and the No. 26 team were only able to make up one additional position on the track before ending the day in the 28th position.
“That was probably one of the best cars I’ve had at Martinsville ever,” said a disappointed McMurray following the race. “After happy hour, I didn’t think our car was that good, but Larry (Carter) and Derek (Stamets) made some great changes and gave me one really good Crown Royal Ford Fusion. I can’t believe we broke something in the rear gear, but that’s the way our luck has gone. We had a great run at Lowe’s last week and I thought we’d have another one this weekend, but it didn’t work out for us.”
Next weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The racing action at Atlanta begins at 2:00pm with ABC television and PRN radio affiliates carrying the live race broadcast.
Pep Boys Auto 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.5-mile speedway)
October 26, 2008
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.