HAMPTON, Ga. (October 26, 2008) – Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team hauled in their eighth top-10 finish of the season in this afternoon’s Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After starting 20th for Sunday’s 325-lap race, the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion quickly made its way into the top 10. Once securing the top 10, the team never let up and when the checkered flag flew for race winner and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards, the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion crossed the line for seventh place.
Rain showers on Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway limited the teams to only 10 minutes of practice. After the delayed practice was rained out, NASCAR officials set qualifying by the rule book – lining up the field by current 2008 owner’s points. During the two practices on Saturday afternoon, the No. 26 team knew they had a strong Ford Fusion for Sunday’s race.
Current point leader Jimmie Johnson led the 43-car field to the green flag at 2:20pm on Sunday afternoon. McMurray, who started from the 20th position, noted right away that his car was a bit too tight in the center of corner, but felt the car would be pretty good in the long haul.
During the first pit stop on lap 36, crew chief Larry Carter called for a slight air pressure change to help with the tight balance McMurray was experiencing. After exiting the pits in the 17th position, McMurray continued to gain on the leader board.
It took the No. 26 team 100 more laps and three more pit stops to get their car into the top 10, but once securely in, McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford never let up. McMurray raced his way up to the seventh position before a mishap during a late pit stop dropped him to 12th.
With only 36 laps remaining in the race, McMurray knew he had the car under him to make up the lost ground. One by one McMurray picked off positions until a last lap battle with teammate David Ragan moved McMurray into the seventh position. During his final run down to the checkered flag, McMurray came within inches of knocking off sixth-place Kurt Busch, but ran out of real estate. McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team secured their eighth top-10 finish of the season in this afternoon’s race.
“We had a great afternoon in our No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion,” said McMurray following the race. “Larry and Derek (Stamets) made some great adjustments, which helped us work our car towards the front. If we had a better pit stop on that last one, I think we could have picked up a few more positions, but that’s part of it. We had a really fast car this afternoon and we didn’t have anything crazy happen to us. It was a great day for the Crown Royal team and I know we are all looking forward to Texas next weekend.”
Next weekend, McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team return to Texas Motor Speedway. In nine starts at the speedway, McMurray boasts five top-10 finishes. The racing action at Texas begins at 2:00pm (Eastern) with ABC television and PRN radio affiliates carrying the live race broadcast.
Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile speedway)
Fort Worth, Texas
November 2nd, 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.