MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 14, 2018
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S/CESSNA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Daytona 500 Media Day. Full transcript:
HOW IS LESSER NUMBER OF CREW OVER THE WALL GOING TO CHANGE THE DUALS ON THURSDAY
“I know we had some stops in the Clash, but I don’t think until you get into the (Daytona) 500 and other races that I think that will show more especially with having 40 cars in pit stops instead of 16. I think then there will be a big difference from what we had last year.”
WHAT ABOUT YOUR STOP IN THE CLASH?
“We didn’t make a rush stop. When we made our stop, we changed a lot of other stuff. We only made the one.”
DO YOU THINK THE NUMBER OF YOUNG DRIVERS THIS YEAR WHO DON’T HAVE MUCH SPEEDWAY EXPERIENCE WILL AFFECT THE RACE SUNDAY?
“I don’t think it is that big of a deal. To get here, you’ve done some speedway racing. It is kind of unique though in that the practice is so limited this weekend, those guys don’t get to practice at all and on top of that, the cars are driving a lot different than what they did for the last 10 years. The rules have changed quite a bit this weekend, and I think the cars drive worse, or are harder to drive than what we’ve had in the past. So, to me that is a lot coming in if you don’t have a lot of experience and the way the cars are driving.”
DO YOU FEEL THE ORGANIZATION HAS TURNED THE CORNER WITH BOTH CARS IN THE PLAYOFFS LAST SEASON?
“Yes…Kyle’s (Larson) test at Las Vegas was a big relief for our whole group because of the way they are teching cars now and us having the Camaro. There are a lot of unknowns. So you don’t know if our car is going to be as good as it was last year. And, then how is it going to relate to other guys cars. We felt like at the Las Vegas test, not just Kyle, but a lot of the Chevys were really good. That is really promising and that makes all of us feel pretty good heading into Atlanta and then Vegas and some of these other tracks. Daytona is so unique, it is just so different.”
DO YOU LIKE RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING? DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF ONE OF THE DRIVERS WHO CAN DO IT WELL?
“I don’t think anybody likes speedway racing. Even Brad (Keselowski) who won on Sunday who has been really successful. I don’t know – I haven’t really asked him. But I don’t think anyone truly likes this because it really comes down to this-we run a 500-mile race hoping you survive. It is such a different event than we have anywhere else. But it is also our biggest race this weekend, so I feel like the Daytona 500 is a little different than the other plate races. But gosh it is so much survival and just getting in the right position. I watched the Clash race video, and the same guys seem to find the front. But there is some luck involved in that. I don’t know that truly loves coming to plate races.”
WILL YOU FOCUS MORE ON BONUS POINTS THIS YEAR TO ENSURE GETTING TO THE PLAYOFFS?
“I don’t think you can focus any more. I will assure you that Martin (Truex, Jr.) didn’t want bonus points more than everybody else. He was just faster than everybody else. The way that worked out, the fastest car had the most bonus points, and so on. I feel like the stage racing once we got through the first Texas race, that opened up people’s eyes because tires didn’t make a big difference there and some people tried to get stage points in the second stage, so they stayed out. Then the way the cautions fell, it was hard to get back to the front. So I feel like once we got through that first Texas race, people kind of maximized the points in the stages for the best finish in the race. Yes, everyone wants to get bonus points, but it is just harder than it looks.”
TALK ABOUT KID’S FOLLOWING THEIR DREAMS:
“I have a kid, and we’ve had these discussions. I think it is different for everyone. I grew up in Joplin, Missouri. My Mom was a school teacher; my Dad was a car salesman and I had a dream of making it to NASCAR. That wasn’t a very likely dream to have, but I was always a super hard worker, and I was always the guy that got up early and stayed up late and just put the most effort in. I don’t know that I’ve ever been—I know that I haven’t been the most talented driver. The fact that I have put more effort in than a lot and that has gotten me to the level that I am at and has been able to keep me here. It is so cliché to say it, but hard work and putting a lot of effort in goes a long way.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO KIDS ABOUT BEING BULLIED?
“I will tell you that even as a NASCAR driver I get bullied. Social media is so great-it is a great way to get news. It is also a horrific way….I can’t imagine being a kid and having a limited amount of people follow you. It is one thing when people say something negative about you that you don’t know. They don’t know you, right. But I can’t imagine being a kid in school and having someone that I know say something bad. So it happens to everyone. It is so hard to brush off, and it is so hard to not worry about it, but that is what you have to do.”
TALK ABOUT YOUR OFF SEASON:
“I ran a marathon this off season, so I trained for that leading up to it. I knew what my off season had in store. Once my marathon was over, then we started Christmas and New Year’s so you have those two weeks off, then we started our photoshoots immediately in January. So even though we just got to Daytona, we’ve been doing stuff since January.”
IS ANYONE YOU KNOW ALARMED ABOUT THE CAR COUNTS?
“I haven’t heard anyone talk about that up to this point. I don’t know why there are 40 cars here and not 43 or 48 or 50. The charter system maybe has a little something to do with that, but I don’t know. I don’t have a good answer for you. I’d love to give it to you, but I don’t have it.”
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT THE POTENTIAL OF THE NEW CAMARO ZL1 IS?
“The one thing about us introducing a new car this year and kind of knowing what the rules are going to be and the way they were going to tech the cars, I feel we able to maximize it a little more than the other makes. So we feel like as long as the Hawkeye scanning system is in force, we hope we have a little bit of an advantage over the other two makes. But until we get to Atlanta and Las Vegas and see where we are at, you just don’t know.”
DO YOU THINK THE NEW INSPECTION SYSTEM IS A GOOD THING?
“Well, I know how it works, but I don’t really understand how it works. It is super cool how they are able to scan this car and see within thousandths of an inch and say what is in or out or should be within tolerance and what is not. It’s a challenge for the teams to just build a car that will sit through that. Then for the car when it hits the track for it to not to move. I think it is certainly — from what teams were doing last year, where you could still make it fit templates but be not be exactly what it was supposed to be. I don’t see how you would get around it with this system, so I think that is good.”
WHAT WOULD HAVE TO HAPPEN FOR YOU TO CONSIDER THIS SEASON TO BE A SUCCESS? “Everyone’s goal is to sit on the pole and win every race. Success is about finding Victory Lane and making the playoffs and having a shot at Homestead.”