NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Irwin Tools Night Race
Topics: Irwin Tools Night Race
August 21, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Let's roll into our post-race for the Irwin Tools Night Race here at Bristol Motor Speedway. Our third-place finisher Jaime McMurray. He drives the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi. Jamie, you battled up front just about the entire evening. You had a good race car. You put on a good show. Your thoughts about tonight's performance?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, we qualified well this weekend, and we had an issue on pit road with a lug nut and had to go to the tail end, but fortunately it happened early enough in the race that we were able to recover from that.
And you know, we had that long 130-lap run and just had a really fast car throughout that, was able to drive up to the lead. And then we put our last set of tires on. The tires just felt flat in the front and I couldn't get my car to roll through the center as quick as it had earlier in the night. It wasn't way off, but it was off just enough that I couldn't compete with the 18 there.
Q. The first pit stop I think you rolled through the box, too, right?
JAMIE McMURRAY: About four boxes I rolled through it looked like, yeah.
Q. What's going through your mind when you have two missed pit cues like that and especially when you know you have a really good car? Did you sort of have to settle down and go?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, this is a pit road that you can gain a lot of spots on by really pushing the limits, and we were fortunate with the way the timing lines were that you could cheat it. I don't know, my pit stall was just a lot slicker than what I expected, and it only cost us like three or four spots, I think, the first time. The lug nut cost us quite a bit.
You know, when you have a fast car, and certainly this racetrack is very raceable. If you have a good car you can pass on it. And it really wasn't that big a deal. We went to the back and I passed about ten cars the first set of tires. We passed like ten cars the next set of tires, and then we had that long run and I drove to the lead.
I think when you know you have a good car -- what you worry about for me is just getting caught up in someone else's mess there, someone is blowing a tire while you're caught on the outside of them or something, but it really wasn't a big deal.
Q. Obviously it's tough to win in this series. Kyle did it three times in the weekend, all three. What do you think of an accomplishment like that?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I mean, it's pretty remarkable what he's been able to do this weekend, especially with owning his own truck team. I know that's been fairly stressful for him. And obviously the Nationwide, it's -- I don't know, it's amazing how many races they can win in that car. But then to be able to come out tonight and win again, he obviously has a really good feel for this place, and he just had a really good weekend. He's been close to doing that before, so that's really impressive what Kyle has been able to do.
Q. Another pit question actually: Last pit stop you had gotten the lead from Kyle at that point, and then you both pitted. Can you walk me through that? Obviously he was able to get the lead from you, but it looked like you both had pretty good stops.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, I mean, he just had just a little bit -- we came in, and I was very self-conscious not to get caught speeding entering pit road. If you get -- a pass through here would just end your night. So I was a little bit cautious coming in, and Kyle was able to get beside me. And then I think he just had a half second or a second quicker pit stop and was able to beat me out.
It was amazing because he beat me out of the pits and just that little bit was like five cars that got stuck in between us. My car just didn't feel as good that last run, and I was having a hard time even passing the lap car, so that really let him spread it out, and I think David actually short pitted. I didn't even know that he was leading the race. I thought I was in second actually.
Yeah, I mean, it's frustrating but it's part of it. It's a team sport, and my sliding through the pit box, they didn't get mad at me, so you can't get mad at them for anything like that.
THE MODERATOR: Let's hear from our second place finisher in tonight's Irwin Tools Night Race, David Reutimann. He drives the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. David, certainly a gutsy performance out there this weekend and especially tonight for you. I know you're feeling a little bit under the weather.
DAVID REUTIMANN: Yeah, I'm okay now. We had a good car, and it's just a total team effort. We had a great Aaron's Dream Machine, and Eric practiced the car the first part of practice and I was able to get in it, and we just adjusted on it some.
So my team gets all the credit. I mean, we had a good race car, and you know, we battled being loose at times through the center and loose on exit, and then we made the exit better but hurt the center, and that's kind of what ultimately got us at the end.
You know, it was a good race. I enjoyed racing the guys up front, Jamie and Kyle and those guys. You know, it's just a -- I feel really, really good about the finish, but I'm not feeling so hot right now, so I'm ready to go to sleep at some point. Maybe now.
Q. Jamie, you you've moved into 13th in points. Do you dare to start thinking the possibility of a Chase with two races to go?
JAMIE McMURRAY: No. I'll let Bono worry about it. He certainly is worried about it, and -- I remember the stress that goes along with that, and I'm really fortunate this year that we were able to win those two big races because if we don't make the Chase, it's not going to be devastating.
So yeah, it does -- I want to make the Chase, but there's nothing you can do. We drove as hard as we could tonight and finished third, and I don't think we really gained any points. But two races left, a lot can happen, and certainly Atlanta is one of those tracks that, man, you can really have a good car there and you can really miss it and be three laps down.
So we'll just have to wait and see. It certainly is a better position to be in right now for us because there only is one person we have to pass. When you have three or four in between you, you have to hope all of them have something bad happen to all them.
But the 33 is running really well right now. I kind of put him in the same category as us. They are running really well but they've had a lot of DNFs. I think that team will perform fine, and we will just have to wait and see how it works out.
Q. What's your approach towards the rest of the season if you are in the Chase picture? Your performance the last few weeks has really picked up. Do you try to keep building on that for the rest of the season?
DAVID REUTIMANN: That's all we can do. I mean, unfortunately since we won Chicago, haven't done a whole lot right, and we've struggled and had some finishes that were just certainly not Chase worthy. We have to run like we ran tonight all the time almost in order to have a chance to get in.
We're back a pretty good bit in the points, and I don't know if it's realistic shot or not, but we're just going to keep trying to run as good as we can. We don't have anything to lose, just go out there and try to win races and gamble on pit strategy and things like that to try to make things happen because you're either in or you're not.
I'm proud of my guys, and as far as what we do the rest of the year as far as pit strategy and things, those will be Rodney Childers' call, but we'll just go out there and race as hard as we can and get all we can while we can.
Q. Can you talk about your battle with Kyle, about that ten-lap segment side by side? Seemed like a little bit of a game of cat-and-mouse, go high one lap, low another lap. When he took the lead it appeared that you wiggled off of 2. Was that from contact or was that just you getting off the corner a little high?
DAVID REUTIMANN: It's just me trying to stay ahead of him and getting back to the gas a little early. We got together, but we were just racing. It's no big deal. That's part of the deal. And if you race Kyle, you know you're going to get run into at some point. That's just kind of the way it is. So it's no big deal, we're just racing.
But when he got by me, I just got loose, I made a mistake, and we were -- he was getting faster and we were getting tighter, so I think we were just prolonging the inevitable. You're out there leading a race, you've got to do all you can.
Really he races clean, and we were just racing and got into us a little bit off of 2 over there, and hey, it's just part of the deal. No big deal, I just made a mistake, got a little loose up off the corner, got to the gas too quick, got too aggressive and he was there to pounce on it, and the rest is history.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about it looked like you were blocked in or somebody was in your pits as you were trying to exit that last time. Can you kind of describe what happened, it looked like maybe Kevin Harvick?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, Kevin was just trying to get in his stall, and actually I forgot about that. I don't know if that cost us beating the 18 out, but it certainly probably cost us a couple car lengths. But you know, what are you going to do there? Bono did a really good job of screaming that the 29 was on the outside, and you've just got to let that guy get in his stall.
Q. In watching the race, it looked like the battle between Reutimann and Kyle Busch was, I mean, a long, fierce, kept everybody else behind it. Once he got cleared of him, was that a case of the difficulty in getting around Reutimann allowed him to get a huge advantage or did you just really not have the car that he did to get around Reutimann? Seemed like Reutimann was kind of holding up Kyle but maybe not holding up the people beyond.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, my last set of tires just didn't have the grip, the front grip. They felt flat. Honestly, when I pulled out I felt like the rims were actually hitting the racetrack. The tire was folding under so much. I talked to Bono, and we didn't really have less air pressure in them, but when we made that green flag stop, that tire just didn't agree with me. We really needed another caution to put another set of tires on.
Even when I got back in the back of the pack, honestly I think thought maybe I had the best car. I was amazed at not only how well it would turn but the drive that I could have off the corner, and I had that all night except for the last 100 laps, and that last set of tires just didn't have the speed.
I think if I could have cleared Reutimann that I would have drove away from him. I just didn't have enough car to clear him on the bottom. It's hard.
THE MODERATOR: Jamie, thank you so much, and we'll see you. Appreciate it.
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