MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 30, 2008) – The weekend at Martinsville Speedway was filled with many reasons to celebrate for the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools driver and team. After qualifying fifth for the Goody’s Cool Orange 500, Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray kept his No. 26 Ford Fusion in the top 10 for the entire race. When the checkered flag flew at lap 500, McMurray scored his first top-10 finish of the season when he crossed the line in the eighth position.
Entering the Martinsville weekend, the No. 26 team found themselves outside the top-35 in points, meaning the team had to qualify on time in order to make Sunday’s race. After a strong practice on Friday afternoon, McMurray turned a lap in qualifying that secured the No. 26 team a fifth-place starting position for Sunday’s 500-lap event.
McMurray’s international counterpart Marcus Marshall helped make the weekend even more special for IRWIN Industrial Tools by visiting in support of IRWIN’s “Ultimate Tradesman Challenge.” Marshall was present as McMurray climbed in his No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion before a crowd of 65,000 people on Sunday afternoon in Martinsville, Va.
Jeff Gordon led the 43-car field to the green flag at 2:17pm. McMurray, who started on the inside line of row three, immediately picked up one position on the start, and by lap eight had moved into the second position. Crew chief Larry Carter came over the radio and told McMurray to save his equipment, and that he had a long race ahead of him.
The first caution of the day fell on lap 43 for a wreck off of turn four. This was the first opportunity for McMurray and the team to make adjustments to their No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion. McMurray asked for a slight air pressure adjustment, as he noted the car felt great. After a quick stop by the No. 26 IRWIN team, McMurray was back on his way.
McMurray made light work of handful of cars ahead of him on the restart, and quickly settled back into the top-five.
The team continued to maintain their top-five position until the last pit stop of the day, which came on lap 387. McMurray came in for four tires, fuel, and both an air pressure and track bar change. The team entered pit road in the fourth position but returned to the speedway in the eighth position after four cars remained on the track, opting not to pit during the caution period.
During the final run of the day, McMurray maintained his position in the top-10, and when the checkered flag flew for race winner, Denny Hamlin, a Virginia native, the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion came across the start/finish line in the eighth position.
“What a great day for the entire No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools team,” said McMurray after climbing from his car. “I had to race those guys a little bit differently than I would have if we hadn’t been in that situation (as far as the point standings). When guys would get underneath me, I would just let them go because we had to finish well today so we could have a little bit of a buffer in the points when we go to Texas. That was a really solid day. We made our car better as the day went on and at the end had one of the best cars, but I just gave up a couple of spots there at the end. Overall it was great day for everyone on the team. We are certainly looking forward to next week at Texas.”
The eighth-place finish in today’s race moved McMurray to 30th in the Sprint Cup point standings. Next weekend, the No. 26 Crown Royal team will travel to Texas Motor Speedway, where McMurray finished fifth in the spring race last season. The No. 26 Ford Fusion will have a special look next weekend with the Cask No. 16 paint scheme along with the autism puzzle pieces. The action begins at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox and PRN.
Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile speedway)
Fort Worth, Texas
Sunday, April 6, 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, Kvapil, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.