AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 9, 2008) – Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Phoenix International Raceway was one that Jamie McMurray and the No. 17 CitiFinancial team had circled on the schedule for some time. McMurray won the NNS race at Phoenix in 2004 and looked poised to challenge for the win during the spring race until he was caught up in a wreck. This weekend started of well with the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion posting strong times in practice and qualifying sixth. McMurray fought loose conditions during the race, however, and had to settle for a seventh-place finish.
Early on during the Hefty Odor Block 200, McMurray told crew chief Pierre Kuettel that he was “real loose.” When the first caution flew on lap 23, McMurray came down pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. The No. 17 CitiFinancial team picked up two spots during the stop and sent McMurray back on the track in fourth place. McMurray was up to third on lap 38 and told Kuettel that the car was “quite a bit better.”
The No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion fell back to seventh during the next run with McMurray reporting that the car was “not turning well enough.” The next chance to adjust on the car came under caution on lap 64. The CitiFinancial team gave McMurray four tires, wedge and air pressure adjustments and picked up another three spots on the transfer. McMurray restarted fourth and quickly told the team he was “way, way, way too loose.”
McMurray came in for two more pit stops, receiving tires and air pressure adjustments each time. The changes weren’t enough, however, and when the race ended the No. 17 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was seventh, the sixth top-10 finish for McMurray in 10 Nationwide Series starts this season.
“We had a pretty good car in practice and qualified average,” said McMurray. “Then it was just too loose the entire race. These races you have to get your adjustments done early. I was scared to have them adjust it too much. We just never caught up to it.”
McMurray and the No. 17 CitiFinancial team return to the track next Saturday for the season finale from Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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.