DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 14, 2008) – Valentine’s Day at Daytona International Speedway was more heart breaking than loving for Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 team after an early accident in Gatorade Duels qualifying race.
The 60-lap shootout known as the “Duels” is the qualifying race for the famed Daytona 500. After Sunday afternoon’s qualifying session, the field is divided into two races, and based on each driver’s finish, the starting field is set. McMurray qualified 25th on Sunday afternoon, which put him starting 16th in this afternoon’s second qualifying race.
Sporting a new “Crown Royal Cask No. 16” paint scheme, the black and gold Ford Fusion took the green flag from the 16th position and after three laps still maintained the top-20 position.
The field lined up two wide entering the 31-degree banked turn one and continued that way all the way around the speedway. McMurray jostled back and forth between to the two lines, trying to find the best handling line for his No. 26 Ford Fusion.
Just 17 laps into the 60-lap event, a car ahead of McMurray became loose and skated down the race track, then back up the track directly in front of the oncoming No.26 machine. McMurray almost avoided contact with the spinning race car, when he was clipped from behind and quickly gathered into the accident.
The accident left the No. 26 team with a badly wrecked car and forced them to pull out the backup machine for this weekend’s Daytona 500.
“I’m not sure what happened,” said McMurray after being checked and released from the infield care center. “The 27 car just kind of lost it on his own. He corrected and went back across the track. I avoided him and someone ran into the back of me. It’s just unfortunate for Crown Royal and the entire team. We’re going to pull out the backup and do everything we can tomorrow in practice to make our Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion as fast as the one we had before all this.”
McMurray will start 38th in the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon. Coverage of the race will be carried on FOX starting at 2 pm Eastern.
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.
About Crown Royal
Crown Royal, the number one selling whisky in the U.S. by value, has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal's smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.