TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 5, 2008) – When it comes to racing at Talladega Superspeedway it’s about putting yourself in a good position to avoid the “Big One” and be there at the end of the race. After making his way to the head of the pack, Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray thought he would be ahead of any trouble on the track. However, while running in the fifth position, the car next to him blew a right-front tire and slide directly into the oncoming path of McMurray’s No. 26 BernzOmatic Fat Boy Ford Fusion. Although McMurray was able to return to the speedway following the accident, the No. 26 team was left with a 32nd-place finish at the 2.66-mile speedway.
After unloading on Friday afternoon and running the first practice, the team knew they had a very balanced race car for Sunday’s 188-lap event. During second practice the team only made a handful of laps before retiring the No. 26 BernzOmatic Ford Fusion to the garage. On Saturday, the team qualified 28th for Sunday’s race.
After taking the green flag before a crowd of over 145,000 fans, McMurray maintained his position on track noting to crew chief Larry Carter the car felt good, but didn’t seem to have the speed under it. After two pit stops, the story changed.
McMurray exited the pits on lap 55 scored in the 10th position and quickly showed the Roush-Yates horsepower under the hood of this No. 26 Ford Fusion. As the freight train of cars assembled, McMurray quickly maneuvered his way to the lead on lap 64. After leading for three laps, McMurray was passed, but still maintained a top-five running position.
On lap 67, as the field made their way through the tri-oval, the No. 83 car blew a right-front tire directly next to McMurray. Slowing to avoid to the wreck, the No. 26 Ford Fusion was left with no where to move and was hit on the driver’s side by the No. 83 car. When the smoke cleared, the No. 26 Ford was left with extensive damage to the right side of the car.
Carter directed McMurray down pit road where the No. 26 team quickly went to work examining the car for damage. Shortly after coming to rest in the pit box, NASCAR displayed the red flag which meant the team could look at the damage, but could not begin work on the car. After 17 minutes of red flag conditions, while track officials cleaned the track, the No. 26 team quickly went to work on McMurray’s Ford. After determining the damage was too much, Carter directed McMurray to the garage for further service.
After receiving service in the garage, McMurray returned to the speedway scored in the 33rd position and 30 laps down.
The No. 26 BernzOmatic team continued with the race, but were only able to gain one additional position before being left with a 32nd-place finish.
“I guess the 83 blew a tire, but the car was really, really fast,” said McMurray during service in the garage. “In practice our Ford Fusion just seemed kind of OK, but, wow, I couldn’t believe the speed that our Bernzomatic Ford had today. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do now. If the guy hadn’t blown the tire, we’d still be racing. That can happen anytime. It was fun racing that hard, but that hard racing isn’t what caused the wreck.”
Next weekend the No. 26 team returns to the site of McMurray’s first Sprint Cup Series win – Lowe’s Motor Speedway. After a three-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the No. 26 team will unload on Thursday at the 1.5-mile “hometown” track. The racing action at Lowe’s Motor Speedway begins at 7:00pm with ABC television and PRN radio affiliates carrying the live race broadcast.
Bank of America 500
Lowe’s Motor Speedway (1.5-mile speedway)
October 11, 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.