BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 17, 2008) – This afternoon Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tool team backed up their top-10 spring finish at Michigan International Speedway with another top-10 finish in today’s 3M Performance 400. After 200 laps around the two-mile speedway located in Brooklyn, Michigan, McMurray moved up one position to 18th in the Sprint Cup point standings and has now recorded six top-10 finishes in 2008.
McMurray kicked off this weekend’s activities with a BBQ on the lake with last year’s IRWIN Industrial Tools’ “Ultimate Tradesman Challenge” winner, Bruce Quigley and a host of his friends and family. Following the BBQ dinner on Thursday evening, McMurray qualified 18th on Friday afternoon for the 200-lap race at Michigan International Speedway.
Pole winner Brian Vickers led 43 cars to the green flag before a packed house of 125,000 fans. McMurray, who started from the 18th position settled in the lower groove around the two-mile speedway, and noted right away the balance of the car was a little loose. As the first run of the day progressed, McMurray continued to report that car became looser and looser.
On lap 18, the first caution of the day was displayed after the No. 21 car’s engine expired on the backstretch. During the caution period, crew chief Larry Carter and McMurray discussed the changes they would make during the first pit stop. On lap 23, pit road was opened, giving McMurray a chance to come down pit road for four tires and fuel, as well as an air pressure and track bar change.
McMurray restarted the race 19th, and early into the next run again noted the car was still too loose. Throughout the afternoon, the No. 26 team continued to work on the balance of the car. By the midpoint of the race, the team still hadn’t found the right balance, but continued to make changes to their No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion.
With just 30 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, McMurray had successfully moved up to the 13th position, and looked to continue his charge up the board. When a late race caution flag was displayed on lap 186 for debris on the track, Carter made the call for McMurray to pit. Although the team would have to give up track position, Carter felt confident McMurray would be able to use the final laps to rocket his way into the top 10.
After taking on four tires, and a splash of fuel, McMurray returned to the track in the 14th position. The plan seemed to be working as McMurray made it way up to 12th before another caution flag was displayed on lap 194. The long caution period set the field for a green-white-checkered finish. On the final restart, McMurray took the green flag scored in the 12th position, and during the final two laps was able to pick up the additional two positions he needed for his second top-10 finish of the season at Michigan International Speedway.
“I was driving as hard as I could those final two laps of the race,” said McMurray following the race. “I knew we only needed a couple of positions to get the top-10 finish. I was racing so hard on that last lap I hit the wall coming out of (turn) four. It was a great day for this No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team. We didn’t have the best car to start the race with, but over the course of the day, the guys continued to work on it, and in the end we were able to walk away with a top 10. I’m really proud of all the guys, they worked hard all day and it paid off well for us in the end.”
After locking up his third top-10 in four weeks, McMurray moved up another spot to 18th in the Sprint Cup point standings. Next weekend, McMurray and the No. 26 team will return to Bristol Motor Speedway sporting the Sharpie Pen paint scheme. This will be McMurray’s first time back in the Sharpie Ford Fusion since Bristol in 2006. The action begins at 8:00pm and will be aired on both ESPN and PRN.
Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile speedway)
Saturday, Aug. 23, 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.