March 17, 2008 9:19 AM

McMurray Endures a Long Day at the Half-Mile Short Track

BRISTOL, TENN. (March 16, 2008) – This afternoon for Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team was an afternoon of endurance.  The team overcame a broken rear axle cap and an accident that put them behind the wall for almost 125 laps.  The No. 26 Crown Royal team was left with a 43rd-place finish in this afternoon’s Food City 500.

After another weekend of rainy weather, the field was lined up by 2007 owner points, which put McMurray 18th on the starting grid for Sunday’s 500 lap race at Bristol Motor Speedway. 

Before a sellout crowd of over 160,000 fans, Jimmie Johnson led the field of 43 cars to the green flag.  McMurray, starting from the outside line in the 18th position, immediately drove down to the inside line, where his car seemed to handle better for him.  The field quickly settled into place, with few changes early into the race.

On lap 50, NASCAR displayed the yellow flag for a competition caution.  The caution period gave all the teams a chance to evaluate their cars and make the appropriate changes during their first pit stops of the day.  As McMurray came down pit road for service, he noted to crew chief Larry Carter that the car was just a little tight in the center of the corner, but otherwise it was handling well.  The Crown Royal team changed four tires, added a can of fuel and made a slight air pressure adjustment before sending McMurray back on the track in the 22nd position.

After just three laps of green flag racing the caution flag was displayed again for a spinning car off of turn four.  During the caution period, Carter noticed the rear axle cap had fallen off the No. 26 Crown Royal machine.  He immediately called McMurray down pit road for service.  The No. 26 team replaced the cap and after one more stop on the ensuing lap, the No. 26 machine was fixed and still running on the lead lap in the 37th position.
Back on the track, McMurray fought his way through traffic, hoping to regain some of the lost spots.  After a pair of caution flags, and two additional pit stops, McMurray had worked his Crown Royal Ford Fusion into the 31st position.

On lap 190, as McMurray entered turn one, he was hit on the inside by the No. 40 machine.  The impact pushed McMurray’s car up the speedway, where he was hit again by the No. 49 machine.  The damage left McMurray’s car drivable, but the team needed to make additional repairs in the garage. 

After 40 minutes of service to the No. 26 Ford Fusion, McMurray returned to the track, but after one lap, pulled the car back into the garage for additional repairs.  The No. 26 team quickly replaced suspension pieces on the Crown Royal Ford Fusion and after another round of service, McMurray returned to the track, but was scored 125 laps down.

McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team finished this afternoon’s race, but were unable to gain back any of the positions lost during their time behind the wall.  After a grueling afternoon, the No. 26 team took the checkered flag in the 43rd position.

“It’s so hard to believe that our afternoon went this way,” said McMurray following the race.  “When we started this race, I thought we had a really good car for today.  We got out there and car ran well, but early in the race, our day was cut short by another car.  We did everything we could to fix our Crown Royal Ford Fusion and return it to the track, but even after that, we were so many laps down that all we could do was hope to finish a few positions better.  It’s hard to believe we are in the position we are, but we are and we’ll have to figure out where we are going wrong.  We’ll take this off weekend and look at everything and come back for Martinsville and hopefully have a better run.”

The No. 26 team will enjoy their first off weekend of the season, as the Sprint Cup Series breaks next weekend for the Easter holiday.  The series returns to action at Martinsville Speedway on March 30th for the Goody’s Cool Orange 500.  The action begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on FOX and MRN.

Goody’s Cool Orange 500
Martinsville Speedway (.526-mile speedway)
Martinsville, Va.
Sunday, March 30, 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.

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