LOUDON, N.H. (September 14, 2008) – Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray entered the 300-lap race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with much confidence after posting some of the fastest times in the three practices leading into the race. After making his way up to the 16th position, the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion was taken out of contention when McMurray was involved in a three-car accident on lap 84. The early race incident left the No. 26 Crown Royal team with a disappointing 39th-place finish.
After placing fourth in the first practice on Friday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, rain showers moved over the speedway and for the second week in a row the starting lineup for the race was set by current Sprint Cup owner’s points. During both practices on Saturday afternoon, the No. 26 Ford Fusion proved to be one of the fastest cars entering Sunday’s race.
Early morning rain showers on Sunday gave way around noon, leaving cool and overcast conditions when the green flag finally flew at 2:29pm. McMurray started the Sylvania 300 from the 19th position and quickly radioed into crew chief Larry Carter that the handling was a little loose but felt very comfortable with the car’s balance.
NASCAR alerted teams prior to the race that on lap 35 a competition caution would be thrown, allowing each team to come down pit road for service. During the first pit stop, Carter called for four fresh tires, one can of fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment to help the handling of McMurray’s car.
During the following run, McMurray moved up to 16th and noted the car was much better. Carter came over the radio on lap 80 to tell McMurray his lap times were great and to continue hitting his marks.
On lap 84, as the field exited turn two, the No. 18 car began to slide backwards down the track and into the grass. With his spotter telling him to go low, McMurray guided his No. 26 throw a cloud of white smoke, but did not have enough time to see to the stopped race car ahead of him. McMurray made hard contact with the rear of the No. 6 machine which sent his car sliding sideways into the side of the No. 18 car. After a brief stop on pit road, Carter directed McMurray to the garage for further service.
In the garage, the No. 26 team quickly went to work to repair the damage, but in the process McMurray lost 70 laps. After returning to the track on lap 154, McMurray was scored in the 43rd position.
The No. 26 team continued to work on the car throughout the remaining laps, and were successful in gaining four positions in the process. When the checkered flag flew for Roush Fenway Racing teammate and race winner, Greg Biffle, the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion came across the line in the 39th position.
“It’s really hard to believe and very disappointing that we once again had a really fast Ford Fusion and were caught up in a wreck,” said McMurray following the race. “We knew after the first practice on Friday that all we needed to do was to fine tune on our car and we would have it exactly where we wanted it. I saw the No. 18 car start spinning and started to slow down, but did not see the No. 6 sitting in the middle of the track sideways. There was nothing I could do and by the time I saw him it was too late. I hate it for us and for David, but there was nothing I could do. We had a really fast car this afternoon and for it to end like it did is pretty disappointing.”
Next weekend the Sprint Cup Series travels to Dover, Del., for the second time this season. In the spring race at Dover International Speedway, McMurray started the race from the fifth position and went on to finish in the top 10. The No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team hopes to repeat the same effort next week. The race broadcast will be aired on both ESPN and MRN beginning at 2:00pm.
Camping World RV 400 Presented by AAA
Dover International Speedway (One-mile speedway)
September 21, 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.