Newsmaker: Jamie McMurray

Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2004

RICHMOND, Va. Jamie McMurray has four top-10 finishes in his last five races, allowing him to move from 19th to 12th in the Nextel Cup Series standings. The 27-year-old former go-kart champion talked about his success and what he expects in the future.

Question: What's your outlook for Saturday night's race at the Richmond International Raceway?

McMurray: It's quite a bit faster than it was, and it seems like it might be hard to get a hold of the track. Even though it's got a lot of grip, on cold tires, it's hard to get a hold of. It's been known to have two-wide racing every time we go there. It seems like the first race after they pave the track it messes that up, but hopefully it'll widen out, maybe the Busch cars will widen it out and we'll have some good racing.

Question: There are only four open weekends on the racing schedule. Do you need time off?

McMurray: My weekend off probably wears me out. You probably go harder than you should, but I like to continually keep going. That's one of the reasons I want to get back in the Busch car. I feel like I'm (more) tired on Sunday not running the Busch race because I sat around all day on Saturday. For me, I like to go, go.

Question: After Richmond, you get to spend consecutive weekends at the Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte with the all-star race and the Coca-Cola 600. Do you like that?

McMurray: Every week after a race I sit the whole next week and think about the racetrack. You kind of eliminate that because you've been there (Lowe's Motor Speedway) all week. The best part about being in the same place for two weeks is that you live five miles from it. You don't have to travel in the plane or sleep in your motorhome. You get to stay at home. That's a fun racetrack. It's different. I know they talk about moving that race around, but the thing that's cool about Charlotte is you get to put a setup in your car that's not totally based on aero. Guys aren't running 400-pound springs in the front and 800-pound springs in the rear. They run a more conventional setup. That makes the racing better. That place is still rough. You get to move around and find a groove, so that's a great place to be two weeks in a row. You've got to keep your car balanced. It's so rough. You've got to have everything there. For the all-star race it's not that bad because it's such a short race. The 600 is such a long race. Five hundred miles is a long time. Six hundred miles is just incredible. I think one of the big things in Charlotte it's one of the first races where it's really, really hot. Even though it was really hot in Fontana, I didn't break a sweat during the race. I got tired, but I didn't really break a sweat. But when you go to Charlotte, it's hot and muggy. They put that right window in the car and the heat. It's a long, long race. Four hundred mile races are about the perfect length I think. You're not junk at the end of it. Some of the 500-mile races you're not tired. At California, I was tired after the race. When your car drives good, those races aren't so bad. I hope my car drives good and I'm not tired after Charlotte. I get hungry. You don't get light-headed, but you're hungry and fatigued.

Question: Some drivers are pointing fingers at Tony Stewart and his aggressive driving style. What do you think?

McMurray: He hasn't done anything to me. I've read stories and heard the gossip, but I don't know what's going on with him right now. He's one of the best guys there is, at least with the helmet on. It seems like sometimes he loses his head, but he's cool with me. I don't have an issue with him. I think sometimes you don't see the whole story with what's going on. There might have been something in the past, but he might just be having a bad day.

Question: Did racing go-karts help your stock car career?

McMurray: Anytime you can be in something racing, whether it's a go-kart or a stockcar, it doesn't matter what it is, just racing, that's going to help you later on for sure. You get used to practice, qualifying and racing go-karts. Then you move up to stockcars. You need to be in something racing for sure.

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