LOUDON, N.H. (June 29, 2008) – Jamie McMurray started Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from the 13th position. After battling back from an ill-handling car to start the race with, the No. 26 team moved into the top 15, then the top 12, and was knocking on the door of the top 10 when McMurray was involved in a late race accident with the No. 88 machine. Extensive damage from the wreck left the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team with a 41st-place finish.
Entering Sunday’s race, the team felt very optimistic about their race car after two solid practices on Saturday afternoon. During the final “Happy Hour” practice, McMurray easily had a top-10 car entering the 301-lap event on Sunday afternoon.
The talk of the garage on Sunday morning was the weather – how soon would it rain and would the race be delayed until Monday was the question all teams were asking. McMurray and the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team remained focused on the race and what they would need to produce a good finish.
The overcast skies gave way to a bright, sunny afternoon by the time the 43 cars took the green flag to start the 301-lap event. McMurray started on the inside of row six. After five laps, McMurray reported to crew chief Larry Carter that the car was extremely tight both entering and exiting the turns. Carter radioed back that on the first pit stop the team would make the need changes.
The first pit stop of the day for the No. 26 team came on lap 68 during green flag conditions. Entering in the 25th position, McMurray pulled into pit stall six, where the team quickly went to work changing four tires, adding two cans of fuel, and making both an air pressure and track bar adjustment. Following the pit stop, McMurray returned to the track and noted the car was still too tight.
The first caution flag of the afternoon came on lap 85 when the No. 40 car spun exiting turn four. During the caution, Carter radioed McMurray and told him they would make additional changes to his car on the ensuing pit stop. Following the two-tire pit stop, the No. 26 team also made an air pressure adjustment hoping to free up the handling in McMurray’s car.
During the next run, McMurray noted the handling of his car continued to get better as the run went on; as did his position on the leaderboard. By the midpoint of the race, McMurray had moved back into the top 15, and was continuing to gain positions on the track. On lap 203 the caution flag was displayed for oil on the frontstretch of the 1.058-mile speedway. During the pit stop on lap 204, the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team changed four tires, added two cans of Sunoco fuel and made another air pressure adjustment to McMurray’s Ford Fusion.
On lap 165, Carter radioed to McMurray they would be stopping for fuel in 15 laps. McMurray, who was running in the 12th position, chased teammate Matt Kenseth, who followed behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr. On lap 271, the No. 88 car jetted down pit road directly in the path of oncoming McMurray. The two made contact and sent the No. 26 spinning high into turn four and the No. 88 to the inside wall. After making contact with the outside wall, the No. 26 car finally came to rest on the inside wall. The damage was too extensive to finish the race, leaving the No. 26 team with a 41st-place finish in today’s LENOX 301.
“I’m not real sure what happen out there,” said McMurray in the garage following the accident. “I guess the 88 was pitting, but typically when a guy pits the spotter will say something, either theirs to yours or what not. I was just trying to get underneath the 10 car. I’d been running on the apron all day and I was really focused on looking at the outside and seeing where he was and I never saw the 88. Certainly it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have run into the back of him. I hate it for all the guys on the No. 26 IRWIN Tools team. They all worked way too hard to get us a good car at the end of the race for this to happen to them.”
Next weekend, McMurray and the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team return to Daytona International Speedway, where one year ago, McMurray edged Kyle Busch to the finish line by .005 seconds, for his second career Cup victory. McMurray returns as the defending champion, and hopes to make it two in a row in this year’s Coke Zero 400.
Coke Zero 400
Daytona International Speedway (2.5-mile speedway)
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Saturday, July 5, 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, Travis Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.