NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed the new 2015 rules package, his season thus far and many other topics. Full Transcript:
YOU HAVE THREE CONSECUTIVE TOP TEN FINISHES. WHAT HAS YOUR TEAM BEEN DOING DIFFERENTLY AND HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE FINAL FEW RACES OF THE SEASON?
“Yeah not really anything different, our cars have been good really all year long. Early in the year I feel like we ran well but couldn’t really put the whole race together. Just seems like the last five or six races we have been able to run well at the beginning of the race and put a finish together with it. So we have just been a little more consistent.”
YOU WERE PART OF THE TEST AT MICHIGAN WITH THE PACKAGE THAT WE WILL SEE NEXT YEAR, CAN YOU ASSESS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE IN 2015?
“So when we did the test at Michigan, it was mostly about adding more down force to the car and then they had a run where they put what most of us thought was going to be too small of a spoiler on the car. And they completely removed the radiator pan in the front to try to balance it out. I think that most of us were shocked that we could have taken even more off. So when the rules were announced, we were hoping to get more down force removed but when I look at that, if they had put it in my hands, I don’t think I would have taken that big of a chance either of removing all the down force from the car. I think we are going to lean and creep more toward taking more down force off the car over the next couple of years. But we have to develop a car that is soft enough to run well at the beginning but have give-up.
“I know it’s hard to do that all in one shot. I was happy to see the amount of down force they took out with the amount of drag we had in the car. That is going to help the less horsepower. I don’t think anyone wanted less horsepower but I think the thought was that we could make the engines run two races in 2016. I think that is good for the teams and good for the sport if we can save a little money on the engines side. And that creates a new challenge for the engine builders but I think it’s going to be a really good package. I hope that in 2016 we can go toward taking more down force away and can get a softer tire yet again. But I think baby steps are better than just a Hail Mary at it.”
AS A DRIVER, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO FEEL AS A DRIVER WITH THESE CHANGES?
“Well, it’s not going to feel as secure or as comfortable but we have to create off throttle time. Michigan is the best example. When you go to Michigan and you only let off the gas for one second in each corner, the guy behind you just has no chance of passing you. It’s hard. So when you removed down force it not only creates off throttle time, but braking. All the sudden you had to use the brakes because you were sliding up the race track. It was a lot different racing than we had even in the last race and when we added more down force. Removing the down force is ultimately about creating off throttle time. All the drivers feel that that more off throttle time we have, the more passing we are going to have.”
THE WAY YOU GUYS ARE RUNNING AND THE WAY THE NO. 42 IS RUNNING, DOES IT MAKE YOU SIT THERE AND THINK WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN? ALSO TOUCH ON YOUR CHEMISTRY WITH KYLE AND ANY CONFIDENCE THIS WILL GIVE YOU GOING INTO 2015:
“I don’t live my life on what ‘if’s’. We have that every weekend in racing. Our group has run extremely well all year long, and the last few weeks it has been showcased more. The part that I am most encouraged about our season is in 2010, when we won the 500, the Brickyard, Charlotte and Watkins Glen, I think there were a lot of unknowns of, ‘why?’ Why were we running so well? They really hadn’t changed a lot from 2009 and 2010 was just a really good year for us. Some of it had to do with the engines as I think the ECR engines were the best at that time. But there were a lot of unknowns at our shop of, ‘why are we running so much better’. Then we went through obviously a tough couple of years, but when I look at this year, everything has scienced-out. The reasons are from lots of testing and the simulation program, our wind tunnel testing – everything is known of why it’s better, and why we are running better. So that is awesome leading into next year, because we know why. And they know the areas that they need to work on to make the cars better.
“As far as the rules changes for next year, even though it’s a couple of inches on the spoiler and on the radiator pan, I don’t think that is going to change who is running well and who is not. It’s really going to be just about getting the balance of the car back. So I am really not concerned about that because we know why we are running so much better this year versus last year and the year before.”
WHEN THERE ARE CHANGES IT SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE DRIVERS WHO ADJUST BETTER, BUT YOU SAY THESE ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH FOR THAT. CAN YOU EXPLAIN?
“Well, I think sometimes when they make rules changes, there is a lot more that goes into it. Cutting the spoiler down and narrowing the radiator pan down, although that is going to create a lot less down force, I think the teams already have an idea of what that is going to do. When we talked about rules changes we had before, the last really big rules change was when we went from the really huge front splitter to what we currently have. For some of the groups, ours included, we ran really well with that old configuration. What that consisted of was the way we mounted that and we found an advantage of how to mount that on the car. Now you are not changing items as significant as that as what the splitter was. I don’t think anyone is freaking out in the garage because we all know that kind of direction and what it’s going to be.”
DOES IT FRUSTRATE YOU THAT YOU GUYS ARE RUNNING AS WELL AS YOU ARE AND NOW WE HAVE A NEW RULES PACKAGE?
“I think the media plays that up a little bit more than what the reality is where if you cut the spoiler off that it favors one guy or the other. I think we all would like to believe that one guy likes a looser car or a tighter car, but ultimately we all just like faster cars. If your crew chief can get the balance right, it doesn’t matter what configuration you are in. If you look back over the last ten years, I don’t think Jimmie Johnson struggled with one particular package. It’s about one team figuring out what that guy needs with that package and when you figure that out and you get that, you have the same guys running up front.”
DO YOU HAVE THAT WITH KEITH RODDEN?
“Yeah Keith has been…personally I like Keith, but he has had just a great way of getting to where we need to be. My favorite part of Keith is that he has an answer to every question. I think that he is already thinking about things before I am. I feel like I am ahead of the game on most of that. So when I ask Keith a question, I feel that he already has an answer to that and he is a really sharp guy and he has done an amazing job this year. Being a first year crew chief there are a lot of obstacles that I don’t think you realize when you become a crew chief that come up, where when you are the engineer that is on the crew chief’s hands. Keith has done an amazing job as a first year crew chief. I only sense that getting better.”
A LOT OF PEOPLE POINT TO TEAM PENSKE AND SAY HOW BENEFICIAL IT HAS BEEN HAVING ALL THEIR TEAMS UNDER ONE ROOF. DO YOU GET THE SENSE THAT MAYBE IF THE GANASSI INDYCAR TEAMS WERE UNDER THE SAME ROOF AS THE CUP TEAMS THAT YOU MIGHT BENEFIT FROM THAT?
“I don’t know. I like the idea that all those teams are together at Penske, but I’ve never been over there to see how it actually works. I don’t know if all the engineers sit in the same room. I don’t know how that works. I don’t think we are ever going to be at that point. The IndyCar team being where it is with the IMSA team is working really well. I don’t know that is benefiting Penske. Again, I think that is media making more out of that than it is, which is great for all you guys I guess. You just email back and forth or get on the phone. I don’t know that it is that big of a deal that you have to sit right next to each other.”
GOING TO KANSAS NEXT WEEK IT LOOKS LIKE THE NO. 1 TEAM IS ABOUT A 10TH- 15TH PLACE CAR ON THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS. ARE YOU GUYS READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP? IF SO WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO AT KANSAS?
“Honestly I think we are a little better than that at the 1.5-mile tracks. Chicago being the last one we ran really well at. We won the All-Star race on a 1.5-mile so it’s really about – Kansas is one of those tracks that tires don’t fall off a whole lot, they don’t mean a whole lot. It’s about qualifying well and having the right pit strategy and if you can get in the top five it’s much easier to maintain. It’s hard at a place like that where the groove is fairly narrow and the tires don’t fall off to make up a lot of ground. Kansas should be really good for us. Racing goes in these waves. When things aren’t going well you can’t do anything right, but when things are going well everything you do is right. Fortunately for our group, not just the No. 1, but the No. 42 car we are on the high side of that and it just seems like the changes we make each week and the developments they come up with each week are better. I’m looking forward to really pretty much any track we go to.”