FORT WORTH, TEXAS (November 2, 2008) – For the third time in four races, Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team roped in another top-10 finish this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. After starting fourth for Sunday’s Dickies 500 at the 1.5-mile speedway, located in Fort Worth, Texas, the Crown Royal team proved the entire race how strong their Ford Fusion could run. With 70 laps remaining in the event, McMurray took lead and only gave it up when he was forced to pit with 12 laps to go for fuel. The checkered flag waved for teammate Carl Edwards, who stayed out and took a huge gamble on fuel, followed by Jeff Gordon, then McMurray, who secured his second top-five finish of the season.
After unloading on Friday afternoon with one of the fastest race cars on the track, the No. 26 Crown Royal team backed up their effort in qualifying by posting the third fastest time of the session. However, the No. 07 car ran the same time in qualifying and would take the third starting spot due to the NASCAR rulebook (higher in 2008 current Owner’s Points).
On a beautiful afternoon in Texas, before a full house of fans, 43 cars roared to the green flag. During the start, teammate Matt Kenseth was able to pass McMurray and pull away for a moment, but McMurray quickly rallied back and took the spot back from Kenseth just two laps later. McMurray was securely in the top five.
On lap 47 the field began making green flag stops. The No. 26 team followed suit on lap 52 coming down pit road for two cans of fuel and four new tires. After a solid pit stop by the No. 26 Crown Royal pit crew, McMurray returned to the track scored in the fourth position.
During the next run McMurray noted to crew chief Larry Carter that the balance was a little loose getting in the corner and tight in the middle. Carter responded to his driver, that he and the No. 99 car were the fastest two cars on the track. Quickly, McMurray proved that by picking up two additional positions on the track.
McMurray continued to run in the top three until a late caution flag on lap 260 brought the field down pit road. As McMurray entered pit road, Carter called for two right side tires and fuel only. After the team completed service, McMurray exited pit road as the leader.
Taking the green flag on lap 267 as the leader, McMurray checked out from the field, placing a 1.5 second gap between himself and the second place car. It wasn’t until a pit stop on lap 321 that McMurray relinquished the lead to teammate Carl Edwards after being called down pit road for fuel. During the pit stop, the team changed two tires and added enough fuel to make it to the end. Back on the track, the No. 99 and 24 cars took the leader and also a huge gamble to make it to the end of fuel. McMurray settled back in the third position, riding it out and hoping the two cars ahead of him would run out of fuel. Neither car did run out of fuel as the checkered flag was displayed on lap 334. Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards took the checkered flag, followed by Jeff Gordon, McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle completed the top five.
“What a great night for the No. 26 Crown Royal team,” said McMurray following the race. “Larry just made a great call to put two tires on with 70 laps to go and we ran that out and put two more tires on, but some of those guys were able to make it on fuel, but, overall, that was cool to get the lead that way and it’s pretty exciting to have the possibility to win, so the guys did a really good job in the pits all night. Larry and Derek (Stamets) made really good adjustments, so these 500 mile races are really long and it’s pretty easy to screw your car up when you have 500 miles, so they did a nice job tonight.”
With just two races left in the 2008 season, McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal team have racked up two top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Next weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Phoenix International Raceway for the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. ABC television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live race broadcast beginning a 3:00pm (EST)
Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
Phoenix International Raceway (One-mile speedway)
November 9, 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.