HAMPTON, GA (March 9, 2008) – Jamie McMurray made his debut in the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway; a race that would turn out to be a fight against both Mother Nature and a loose car. The CitiFinancial team struggled all weekend to find the right balance for McMurray. McMurray and the team overcame limited practice time and cold race conditions to finish 13th.
Rain and snow washed out the first scheduled practice session which left the team with just one practice to work on the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion. “Loose” quickly became the word of the weekend for McMurray and the CitiFinancial team. The crew went to work and when practice ended, the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was 15th fastest on the charts.
Qualifying was also cancelled due to weather, setting the field by points. McMurray and the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion lined up 13th.
Early during the race, McMurray felt the car was “really pretty good.” The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was running 10th on lap 28 when the caution fell and McMurray visited pit road for the first time saying the car had gotten “just a little tight off.” The CitiFinancial crew gave McMurray four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Not long after the restart, McMurray began reporting the car had gotten “really loose,” a condition the team would struggle with for the remainder of the afternoon.
A long green flag run set in and McMurray fought to hold on to the “wicked loose” CitiFinancial Ford Fusion. Green flag pit stops began on lap 85 and McMurray came down pit road two laps later for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. The stops cycled through and McMurray began working his way back up through the field. McMurray was 15th on lap 101 when he said the car was “still pretty loose.” The next chance to adjust on the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion came under caution on lap 141. McMurray received four tires, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment and was sent back on the track in 14th place. The changes didn’t help like the team hoped and McMurray quickly told the team he had “no grip at all.”
With the laps winding down, McMurray was forced to make the best with what he had. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion avoided multiple late-race cautions and when the checkered flag flew, McMurray was 13th.
“We just struggled all day,” said McMurray. “The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was pretty good at the start but it seemed like from our first pit stop on, I just kept getting more and more loose. The guys adjusted on it all day but we just couldn’t get it to tighten up. I can’t complain about finishing 13th considering the weekend we had. I’ll be back in the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in Texas in a few weeks and we’ll come back with a strong run.”
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.