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February 18, 2008 9:15 AM

McMurray Finishes 26th in the 50th Running of the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 17, 2008) – In one of the most historic races in recent history, Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray started the 50th running of the Daytona 500 from the 38th position. Throughout the entire 200-lap race, McMurray overcame an ill-handling race car through the help of the No. 26 Crown Royal team and when the checkered flag flew for race winner Ryan Newman, the No. 26 machine crossed the finish line in the 26th position.

Luck was not on the side of the No. 26 Crown Royal team during “Speedweeks” at Daytona International Speedway this year. After losing the Shootout car last Saturday night, the team lost their primary Daytona 500 car when McMurray was taken out of the race by another race car in Thursday’s qualifying race. The No. 26 team was forced to use chassis RK-549, which was designated as the back-up car for the other two race machines. After a transmission change on Saturday morning, the No. 26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion started the race from the 41st position.

Before a sellout crowd of 191,000 fans, the 50th running of the Daytona 500 was underway at 3:41pm Eastern. Prior to the race, both McMurray and crew chief Larry Carter discussed the option of pulling to the rear of the field, well behind the main draft of cars, to avoid any early race accidents and save their car until the end to make a move towards the front.

Early into the first run of the day, McMurray noted the track was very slick and his car was extremely loose both entering and exiting the corners. Carter called for a track bar change on the first pit stop in an effort to improve the handling of McMurray’s machine. As the field began making their first green flag pit stops of the race, McMurray wheeled his No. 26 Ford Fusion down pit road and came to stop in pit stall 12, where the Crown Royal team went to work on his machine. After new tires, two cans of fuel, and both an air pressure change and a track bar change, McMurray was back on his way and scored 38th on the leaderboard.

The original plan was still in place for the No. 26 team – to run far enough behind the main pack of cars to be able to avoid any trouble, but not too far behind where the team would be unable to make a run at the end of the race.

As the afternoon went on, McMurray continued to battle the loose condition in his No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, but was still able to maintain solid track position.

The first caution of the afternoon was displayed on lap 79 for debris on the race track. McMurray radioed into Carter, noting the car was still very loose and asked for additional adjustments be made during the next pit stop. When McMurray pulled down pit road on lap 82, the No. 26 crew again changed four tires, added fuel and pulled one spring rubber from the right-rear of the car.
The afternoon remained relatively quiet, as the caution flag was not displayed again until lap 150, again for debris on the track. McMurray wheeled down pit road for service on lap 152, and after the day’s fastest pit stop by the Crown Royal team of 13.2 seconds, McMurray picked up four additional spots on the speedway. When the green flag flew again lap 154, McMurray was scored in the 26th position.

During the team’s final pit stop of the day on lap 178, McMurray noted the car was still too loose, even with the changing track temperatures. Carter called for an air pressure adjustment, as well as four new tires and fuel.

With 20 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, McMurray and teammate Carl Edwards worked together, as they began moving up through the field. McMurray cracked the top-20 on lap 184, but as the draft moved on the outside lane, the No. 26 machine was shifted back to the 26th position. Unable to gain any additional positions, McMurray came across the line in the 26th position.

“We didn’t have the best car tonight,” said McMurray. “You can’t expect much when it’s your third car. We wrecked our Shootout car, it was our backup, crashed our primary car, and this one was just the third car in line. It wasn’t very fast when we brought it, but it’s all we had and we just kind of rode around and missed what little wrecks that they had, and finished. It’s disappointing because I know all the guys on this Crown Royal team worked all winter for tonight’s race. We had really good tests at both Fontana and Vegas, so we’ll look forward to the next two races.”

Tonight’s Daytona 500 kicked off the 2008 season for McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team. Next weekend the team heads out west for one weekend in Fontana, Calif. followed by a weekend in Las Vegas, Nev. After two successful test sessions at both intermediate tracks last month, the No. 26 team looks forward to both upcoming races. McMurray leaves Daytona International Speedway ranked 27th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings.

NEXT UP:
Auto Club 500
California Speedway (Two-mile speedway)
Fontana, Calif.
Sunday, Feb. 24, 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 and Joey Clanton; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

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