LONG POND, Pa. (June 8, 2008) – This afternoon’s Sprint Cup race marked Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray’s 200th career start in NASCAR’s elite series. After starting 22nd, McMurray, piloting the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion was quickly able to move into the top-15. On lap 46, while running in the 15th position, McMurray was hit on the left side of his Ford Fusion, leaving the team with damage and moving them to back to the 41st position. The team overcame the huge setback to finish the Pocono 500 in 22nd place.
After two days of testing at Pocono Raceway just two weeks ago, the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team felt confident entering this weekend’s race. During qualifying on Friday afternoon, McMurray qualified 22nd for Sunday’s Pocono 500.
On a muggy afternoon in the Pocono Mountains, pole winner Kasey Kahne led the 43 car field to the green flag. McMurray moved the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion to the low line on the track and rocketed off into turn one. After picking up three spots on the first lap, McMurray continued his way towards the front of the field.
The first caution was displayed on lap 26 for debris in turn two. Crew chief Larry Carter asked McMurray how the balance was in his race car. McMurray responded to Cater, noting the car was a little tight at the beginning of the run, but was starting to become loose. During the first pit stop, Carter called for four tires, fuel, and both an air pressure and wedge adjustment. Following the pit stop, McMurray restarted the race in the 18th position.
As the race action resumed, so did McMurray’s charge through the field. Following the second pit stop on lap 41, McMurray had moved into the top-15.
Just three laps into the next run as McMurray exited turn three, the IRWIN Tools Ford was hit in the left-front corner by the No. 18 machine. Following the incident, after accessing the damage, Carter instructed McMurray to come down pit road.
As McMurray came down pit the No. 26 crew awaited with tools in hand to fix the damage sustained in accident. Following the extended pit stop, McMurray returned to the track in the 41st position. Although there was slight damage to the No. 26 Ford Fusion and the team had given up all of their track position, Carter told McMurray to hang in there, and they would get every position they could before the end of the race.
The No. 26 team never gave up and continued to work on their race car throughout the race. As the checkered flag waved for race winner Kasey Kahne, the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion came across the line in the 20th position.
“It’s really a shame our day had to end like that, we had a much better car,” said McMurray in the garage following the race. “I don’t know what happen with the 18 car, his spotter must have told him he was clear, when obviously he wasn’t. He tried to move into space that did not exist on the track and in the end, we were both victims. We had a much better Ford Fusion than 20th. It was a tough day and one of those deals that was completely out of our hands. I’m really proud of all the guys on this No. 26 IRWIN Tools team; they really pushed hard today and we were able to salvage some what of a good finish. We’ll take this and move on to Michigan next weekend.”
The top-20 finish left McMurray 22nd in the Sprint Cup point standings. Next weekend the team will travel to Jack Roush’s backyard for 400 mile race at Michigan International Speedway. In the same race last season, McMurray finished eighth at the 2-mile speedway.
Michigan International Speedway (Two-mile speedway)
Sunday, June 15, 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.