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Preseason Thunder Jamie McMurray Q&A
Jamie McMurray: We're just trying to get cars to drive well. As cool as it is, if your car doesn't drive well now, when it gets hot, it always seems to turn into a bigger issue. Right now I'm just getting used to working with my new team and Jimmy Fennig. Everyone has different ways of going about making their car handle, and I'm just kind of trying to take everything in from what the 26 team has done in years past. They've run really well here. I think they've run 2nd twice. I'm just kind of going through the normal routine.
Q: What does the water from that well at Roush Racing taste like that all you guys seem to be able to be so successful once you get there? In all seriousness, what's it like? Is there a different attitude, a different vibe when you get to Roush Racing that's made that so successful that you can sense now coming in as an outsider?
Jamie McMurray: Well, they've won so many races over the last few years. You know, when I first went in and spoke with Jimmy, we were just trying to get to know each other, and he had talked about winning a lot. He said you're going to have races where your car just is great and it's a dominant car, and you just need to take care of it. And then he talked about races where you had to work on it. As he was saying that, I thought, that's great, but that's the attitude already. We haven't even been to a test yet, and he already assumes that because he knows that the cars are great and that he's assembled a great group of people.
It's definitely different from where I came from. From an outsider looking in my first few times to Roush Racing, it looked like everyone was on vacation because there was no one there, and come to find out that's all that worked there. They do it with a lot less people it looks like. It just looks like everybody can do everything there. There's not necessarily like a specialist for every area. Everyone there is a racer, and they pretty much can do everything. It's different for sure, but a good different.
Q: Your thoughts on the car tomorrow. Have you seen it, have you -- I don't know if you've tested it or do you plan on testing in it tomorrow?
Jamie McMurray: I've never -- I haven't tested it. I've only seen one, and that was on the Internet. No, I don't know a lot about that. They talked about it a little bit, but I think until we get closer, there's not been a lot of discussion.
You know, it seems like every time you change something, there's a reason to change it, and sometimes people don't always agree with it. But, you know, I suppose that will be like anything else once we get used to it. It's what we do every week. It's just the way it'll be.
Q: There's going to be a lot of questions for you in pre-season about pressure, expectations and all those kind of things. Obviously you know those are coming and probably nobody has better expectations for you than you. Can you just address those and all that situation?
Jamie McMurray: Well, I mean, obviously all of my teammates won races last year, and the car that I'm in won races last year. Yeah, I mean, I've thought about that a lot. I thought, what if you go halfway through the season and you don't win a race or you go all year and you don't win. But I've thought that for the last three years. So it's not really any different.
I think that obviously I'm more positive about it this year. I'm very excited that I got to get in the 26 car this year and didn't have to wait another year. And I think mentally you're a lot more positive because you know that the cars that you're in are capable of winning because that's their record. I'm so excited to get to Vegas and get in one of these cars at the Mile and a Half track. They've had so much success there, and racing, regardless of what people say is a mental sport, and if you believe you can win, if you're in a car that can win, you more than likely will. If you have a negative attitude, typically you don't get very good results.
The fact that all of my teammates have won last year and the team I'm with has won, I mean, I don't know that I view it as pressure, because like you said, for me everyone in the garage area has that, whether they're in a car that's capable of winning or not, they all want to and there's pressure to win.
Q: You kind of touched on the equipment and the winning, but do you feel that you also can turn to your other drivers, teammates, more than you've been able to?
Jamie McMurray: Yeah, most definitely. I mean, that was -- when I viewed leaving Ganassi and coming to Roush, I mean, that was one of my big decision makers, was not only did I feel like I was getting in the best equipment, but I knew that I was going to have two rookies as teammates this year. If we had won a lot of races over the last couple of years, then you would feel maybe you didn't need to pull information out of all of your teammates, but we hadn't.
When you look at the teammates that I'm going to have this year, it's so hard to compare two race teams and not knock on the other, but Matt and Mark and Carl, Greg, I mean, all those guys have won races and are incredible drivers. Yeah, I mean, I'm certainly going to dig all I can out of those guys and see what I can learn.
Q: When you start a season, as drivers do you set goals that the drivers -- we talk about it all the time, do you write down somewhere a number of wins and position and all that stuff, or do you just go to the racetrack every week and try to knock out the best week you can? Are you as a driver and drivers in general goal-oriented people?
Jamie McMurray: I don't specifically write something down. All the media interviews you this weekend and when we come back for the 500 and ask you what your goals are for the year, and every driver tells you he wants to win some races and make the Chase. That's what everybody wants to do. I think that goes without being said, what your goals are. But I don't do that, no. I've never heard of anyone writing down specific goals.
I think teams maybe do that. The crew chief gets the team together and maybe sets goals. But for a driver, you just go out every week and you try to win. That's what your goal is.
Q: Drivers in your sport have switched teams like forever. They've always been doing it, yet there seems to be an implication that when you and Kurt did it, there was something inappropriate about what you did. Could you talk about that a little bit?
Jamie McMurray: Well, I mean, I don't think I did anything inappropriate. I mean, I was not going to leave Chip Ganassi racing until my contract was up. But I had an opportunity come along with a team that had won championships and was winning races and what I thought was the best organization in our sport, and so I signed a contract to drive for them when my contract was up.
When I spoke with Jack, he said, look, I don't want anything to do with what you have right now. What we're doing is when your contract is over with. I don't really view that at all as doing anything wrong. I can't speak for Kurt because I don't know his situation or what happened there. You know, everyone in our sport does what's best for them, and sometimes that decision is hard because when you make a decision to leave a team, there are 20 or 30 families on your team that maybe don't necessarily depend on you, but your success is also success for them. So it makes the decision hard, but you make your decisions based on what you feel is best for your career.
Q: Do you miss the fact you're not going to be able to race in the Rolex race this year, and how much did you enjoy it and would you like to be a part of it in the future?
Jamie McMurray: Yeah, I wasn't going to do that anyway this year. I had a great time last year doing it, but when you do the Rolex race, you spend a couple of days going to their shop to get fitted for seats, then you spend a couple days testing down here, then you come back down here for a couple days, and that takes away a week of your three weeks that you get off.
I would like to do that again in the future, but that is not something I'd want to do every single year.