FONTANA, CA (February 25, 2008) – Jamie McMurray turned his debut in the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion into a weekend to remember after fighting rainy skies and an exhausting double-header to finish 6th in Monday’s Stater Brothers 300 at California Speedway. The second race of the Nationwide Series season was slated to run Saturday, but relentless rain and numerous delays pushed the event to Monday afternoon. The wait was well worth it as McMurray held the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in the top-10 for the majority of the day and went on to finish 6th for his first top-10 of 2008.
After the first scheduled day of on-track activity was washed out due to rain, the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion finally made it on track Saturday morning for practice; McMurray’s first outing with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. McMurray was happy with his car, especially on long runs. Qualifying was rained out and the field was set by points, lining the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in 10th place.
When the green flag dropped, McMurray fought hard to keep the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion close to the top-10. He was running 11th on lap 14 when he reported that the car was “getting a little free everywhere.” When the first caution fell on lap 22, Blickensderfer decided to bring McMurray down pit road for four tires and a slight track bar adjustment. During the next green flag run, McMurray broke into the top-10 saying “you’re not going to make the car much faster – it’s really good.” When the next caution fell, McMurray told Blickensderfer “don’t change anything.” After a strong pit stop, McMurray restarted the race 5th on lap 52.
A long green flag run set it and McMurray proved he was strongest on long runs, breaking into the top-5 on lap 62. “It’s pretty good, I just need it to run green,” said McMurray. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was 3rd on lap 80 when McMurray started reporting on loose conditions. Green flag pit stops begun and McMurray hit pit road on lap 98 for four tires and another track bar adjustment.
The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was fighting traffic around 15th place when the next caution came out on lap 106. With only eight laps on the current set of tires, Blickensderfer decided not to make a pit stop, a call that led to McMurray restarting the race in the lead with 40 laps remaining. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion remained loose and McMurray couldn’t hold onto the lead. He fought hard to remain in the top-10 and when the checkered flag flew McMurray crossed the line 6th for his first top-10 of the season.
“The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was really good for most of the day,” said McMurray. “I just got loose there at the end and couldn’t do much with it. I’m happy with the day, especially being my first time to work with this team and with Drew. I think we communicated really well and overall I’m really happy with the weekend. We had awesome pit stops when it mattered most and I’m looking forward to getting back in the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion a few more times this year.”
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.