BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 23, 2008) – After qualifying 41st, McMurray and the No. 26 team were on a mission to prove themselves at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile.” 500 laps later, the Sharpie Pen team had worked their way into the top 12 after a challenging night at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Sporting a special Sharpie Pen paint scheme, the No. 26 team unloaded their Ford Fusion for two practices and a qualifying session on Friday. During qualifying, McMurray noted the car was way too loose and did not have a lot of grip. During “Happy Hour” practice on Friday evening, the team worked to get their car better entering and through the center of the turn. Following practice they knew their car would race well; they just needed to be there at the end of the race.
Pole winner and Roush Fenway teammate Carl Edwards led the 43 car field to the green flag before an estimated crowd of over 170,000 fans packed tight in the coliseum shaped stands of Bristol Motor Speedway.
After taking the green flag from the 41st position, McMurray quickly climbed the leaderboard. By the time the first caution was displayed on lap 97, McMurray had already moved into the 27th position. Following a pit stop for fuel, tires and a slight air pressure adjustment, McMurray returned to the track scored in the 21st position.
On lap 235, McMurray cracked the top 10, and just eight laps later was scored in the seventh position.
The next caution flag was displayed on lap 280, which gave McMurray and crew chief Larry Carter a chance to talk about their car and the strategy for the remainder of the race. During the caution period, Carter called McMurray down pit road for four new tires, two cans of fuel and another slight air pressure adjustment.
Following the pit stop, McMurray noted to car was a little too tight in the center of the corner and suggested the team go back on the previous air pressure change. On lap 343, the caution flag was displayed again for debris in turn four, which gave McMurray and his No. 26 Sharpie Pen team a chance to come down pit road for service.
During the ensuing run, McMurray noted the car was better, but the track position, with the number of lap cars on the track was making it very difficult to pass. After sliding back to the 14th position, McMurray was able to regain the lost positions and when the checkered flag flew for teammate Carl Edwards, the No. 26 Sharpie Pen Ford Fusion came across the line in the 12th position.
“After the way we ran all night, I’m a little disappointed in our finish tonight, said McMurray following the race. “We had a great Sharpie Pen Ford Fusion that Larry and all the guys worked so hard to make the right adjustments, but we seemed to struggle a little bit in the pits tonight. We were able to drive up through the field, which was fun, but when it came down to it at the end, it was all about track position. We needed those few extra positions there at the end to pull out a top-10. We had a good night overall for the Sharpie team.”
Next weekend the Sprint Cup Series returns to Fontana, Calif. for the second race of the season. Fontana is statistically one of McMurray’s best tracks on the NASCAR circuit. In 10 starts at the two-mile speedway, McMurray has finished in the top-10 five times.
Auto Club Speedway (Two-mile speedway)
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 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; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.