HOMESTEAD, Fl. (November 16, 2008) – The 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season ended with Saturday night’s Ford 300 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jamie McMurray and the No. 17 CitiFinancial team headed south for the finale looking to close the season on a high note. Through practice, qualifying and the first half of the race it looked like the team would head into the offseason with a solid top-10 finish. As the sun went down and the race ended, however, McMurray reported that the car’s handling was “awful.” McMurray wrestled the ill-handling CitiFinancial Ford Fusion to a 19th place finish.
McMurray started fifth and told crew chief Pierre Kuettel that the car was “good, just a little tight” during qualifying. Early during the Ford 300, McMurray said the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was “tight and getting tighter.” A long green flag run set in and McMurray was down to 14th when Kuettel called him down pit road for the first stop of the night. The CitiFinancial team gave McMurray four fresh tires, air pressure and track bar adjustments and sent him back on the track. McMurray liked the changes and was up to 11th when a debris caution came out on lap 64. He told the team the car was “pretty good there.”
The No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was running eighth and still feeling “pretty good” for McMurray when the time came for another pit stop. Under caution, Kuettel called for two tires and no adjustments. McMurray restarted eighth and was up to sixth at the halfway point in the race. Another caution came out at lap 101 and McMurray said he was “not bad, pretty fast.” The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion came in for four new tires and restarted 10th with 82 laps remaining.
McMurray was solidly in the top 10, up to seventh when he told the team he was getting “tight on entry.” The tight conditions worsened and McMurray asked Kuettel to “free it up.” The CitiFinancial crew went to work and gave McMurray four tires and another air pressure and track bar adjustment. McMurray restarted 15th and quickly said that he was “really loose in.” The handling of the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion worsened and McMurray began losing ground. With the laps winding down and no more chances to work on the car, McMurray fell to the end of the lead lap and crossed the stripe 19th when the checkered flag flew.
“That wasn’t how we wanted to end the year,” said McMurray. “The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was really fast there for the first half of the race, but it got terrible there at the end after those last changes. It’s disappointing. P.K. and the guys did a great job this weekend and this season. I hate that we weren’t able to win a race together.”
McMurray ended the season with two poles, two top-fives and six top-10s in 11 Nationwide Series starts.
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.