NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 14, 2013
JAMIE MCMURRAY, #1 MCDONALD’S/CESSNA AIRCRAFT CO./TEXTRON CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed the birth of his second child, the new car, what it feels like to win the Daytona 500 and much more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE 2012 SEASON AND HOW THINGS WENT FOR YOU?
WHAT DO YOU THINK ITS LOOKING LIKE FOR 2013?
“Ready for 2012 obviously to be over. I think like most teams ready to get this season started. There’s a lot of unknowns with this car. We got to have more testing in the off season than what we’ve had in the past, but I think everyone is still trying to figure out what it’s going to take to make this car quicker than the next guy. At Charlotte I was shocked at how close all the cars were from the best really to the 25th-place guy. It was a very tight group. It’s not going to take a big advantage to be seen on TV.”
WHAT’S THE LATEST NEWS ON YOUR NEW ARRIVAL?
“So, yeah my wife just had our second child and had a little girl this time. Our first child was a little boy. A little girl is much different. I have compared notes with other dads that have had a boy then a girl. It is a different experience. But both, Hazel is her name, Hazel and Christian are doing very well. This was a much easier experience than the last time. We’ve really enjoyed it. I was very thankful. They weren’t supposed to get to come home until today and I was really upset that I wasn’t going to be able to be the one to go pick them up. That’s a big moment as a dad, to get to wheel your wife down in a wheelchair with the baby and pick them up. I really enjoyed that last time, so I was upset that I wasn’t going to get to do it but they let her come home a day early so I got to have that moment. That was good. Last night was an experience for sure, but I have a really good wife who kind of takes that whole responsibility on. So it was nice.”
OBVIOUSLY WITH THE BODY CHANGES THIS YEAR, THIS IS GOING TO BE THROWING THE CREW CHIEFS A CURVE BALL, BECAUSE THE ADJUSTMENT THAT WAS MADE IF YOU WERE LOOSE LAST YEAR MIGHT BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ADJUSTMENT THIS YEAR. WHEN YOU WERE TESTING UP IN CHARLOTTE, DID IT SEEM LIKE THEY WERE KIND OF SCRAMBLING A LITTLE BIT OR DID THE COMMUNICATION PRETTY MUCH STAY THE SAME?
“I think some of the changes will be the same. When we did our testing it wasn’t really about what you did at the race. It was really just about testing and seeing how different pieces and different attitudes on the car, different bump styles, kind of the traditional testing. Certainly you want to make the car as fast as you can, but more than anything we didn’t have any data on the cars so it’s so nice to get to test and have data to back it up to go back to the seven-post and see if you can make your simulation program and your seven-post and actual track data all relate.”
DO YOU THINK THE STRATEGY IN THE FINAL LAPS OF THIS RACE IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT WITH THIS CAR?
“I’m anxious to get on the internet in the morning and read different people’s quotes and see what other drivers have told you guys about what they expect. My gut tells me this is a survival race. I think we are going to have wrecks and I’m going to say that hoping we don’t. Based on how bad the cars drove at the test, how hard the cars were to drive at the test in a large pack, I think when we get a large pack together we’re going to have a wreck. I’m curious to what happens in the Shootout and then also in the 150. I think until we get 43 cars on the track, it’s not going to be the same. To me the key to the 500 will be survival. The last 10 laps are really a crap shoot. I heard a play back on the radio of the 500 that I won and there are so many circumstances of not just what you do but what other people do around you, the decisions they make. You go out and you drive your hardest, try to make the smartest decisions, and you hope the other people around you will make decisions that will benefit you as well. The truth of it is a lot of it when it comes down to the last lap is about you making a good decision and also people around you making a good decision that benefits you.”
IT ALMOST HAS TO BE A SPLIT SECOND DECISION.
“Absolutely, it seems like some guys are better at it than others. But there is a large amount of luck involved in this. I believe the guys that tell you that it’s not are just full of themselves.”
DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE TANDEM?
“I don’t think there will be tandem.”
EVEN ON THE LAST LAP?
“I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows. We didn’t get to do that a lot at the test down here. So, I don’t know. The Shootout is going to tell us that, when we get to the last lap of that because it seems like that race always ends under caution or a green-white-checker. So, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I don’t know what there will be.”
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT DOWN HERE FOR THE TEST AND HOW DIFFICULT THE CARS WERE AT THAT POINT, DO YOU MEAN JUST FROM A STABILITY STANDPOINT?
“Yeah, so the last few years we were down here the reason you could do tandem is because when you’re pushing the guy, the car is just very stable, a lot of grip. Not effortless but fairly easy. When we were down here for the test, the cars seemed light in the back. We’ve got such a small spoiler on them the cars skate around a lot and you didn’t want the guy shoving you that much and I think the noses are shaped a little bit different. It’s a different experience. We might get more comfortable at that. I didn’t see anyone tandem while we were down here. First off because you can only go about half a lap anyway. The reason tandem used to work was because if you could get locked together and go about three or four laps you could go faster, but that first half of lap you spend trying to get locked together you lose so much time that you have to hope you make up a lot on the end of it. I don’t think now you are going to spend a half of lap getting locked together, and then you have to break apart immediately. It’s such a counter-productive move.”
DO YOU THINK THERE’S AN ASPECT OF THE CAR BEING PART OF THE STAR NOW?
“First off, I really liked what we have five years ago, real pretty car. It was real racy. They looked aerodynamic. I thought the generation five car was the ugliest car of all time. I thought it was horrible. I think this is the best looking car we’ve ever been in. I’ve been so anxious and excited to see the pictures of the different paint schemes that are coming out this year, and every paint scheme even if it’s the same one from last year on this car, it looks better. You’re like that looks great. And I think it’s cool that we have some brand identity. So, if you’re a Chevy fan you have something to pull for. Where before the cars just had different decals on them, they are actually different now which is cool.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY RACE DAY RITUALS THAT YOU DO? ARE YOU SUPERSITIOUS?
“No, not really. I’m a schedule person. I just like to have a schedule and the same type of schedule every weekend. I don’t like breaking. But that’s my life too. Every day that I wake up I do the same thing for the first three hours.”
DO YOU STAY AWAY FROM PEANUTS OR ANYTHING?
“No, Matt Kenseth does though. I don’t believe in superstitions. I think you make your own luck.”
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU LISTENED TO THE END OF THE DAYTONA 500 THAT YOU WON?
“Actually I was listening to something on XM Radio last night and they were replaying like the last lap of the last 10 Daytona 500’s. All of them make your heart beat, and you start sweating. It’s so nerve wrecking, this kind of racing. For as boring as it is for the first p
art of the race because you are riding and trying to make it to the end, the last 10 laps, 25 laps of these are just awesome inside the car.”
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO WIN THE 500?
“It’s definitely the most amazing race you can win. There’s not any other race that compares to the Daytona 500 because we’re here for so many days and there’s so much buildup to it. As a little kid, this is the race that everybody watches. Even if you are a casual NASCAR fan, you watch the Daytona 500. I’ve watched this since I was a little kid. It’s the most amazing racing moment you can have.”
WAS IT A RACE THAT YOU FOLLOWED AND THOUGHT, I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO WIN IT ONE DAY?
“I always wanted to race NASCAR. I tell you something else I saw on TV the other day was I think they call it the next nine, I don’t know what they are calling that group of kids but I was listening to those kids talk about how they can’t wait to make it to the Sprint Cup level and their goal is to make it to that. As a guy that’s been here for a long time, I forgot those moments. You come here and you do this, it’s your job and you work, this is what you do. I think sometimes we all forget how anxious we were and excited to get to be at this level. So I thought that was really cool to get to see those kids talk about that. I can remember being at the point and not having won the Daytona 500 at that time of my life, then you look back and you’ve won that it’s pretty fascinating.”
DO YOU THINK BACK TO YOUR BUSCH DAYS?
“Yeah, media day make me think back to Busch days because we used to be down here for this and then we would have four or five days off to go goof off and play and just be a guy. I was thinking about it on the way down here. Gosh I remember what we used to do down there and my wife had a baby on Monday and how much different my life is now.”
ON TEAM CHANGES THIS YEAR
“We’ve actually had a pretty big turnaround. Some guys are just doing a different job at the shop. Some guys have moved on. There’s quite a few new guys on the team but we’ve had two tests. We actually did one test of not really making the car faster but just changing parts at the track to get them used to working together. They’re a really good group of guys. They have good attitudes and are also quality workers.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PROSPECTS FOR THIS YEAR?
“I think there are just too many unknowns right now to know what you’re going to have. To me, the first four or five races the cars are going to be closer than they ever have, so track position will be more important than ever. Qualifying is going to be important. I think there is a lot of unknowns. I don’t know that we know exactly what to expect from each team.”
DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE MADE A STEP FORWARD FROM LAST YEAR?
“It’s so different. When you say making progress we cut up all those cars and have brand new cars. The things that made those cars tick last year, I don’t think will make these. It’s going to be different. I thought that our testing in relation to the other competitors, we’ve been faster this year than what we were last year. That’s all you can really base it on because you don’t know what other guys have but our speed has been better in testing compared to last year for sure.”
HOW IS IT HAVING THE HENDRICK ENGINES?
“The engine deal will be interesting down here. When you come to a plate race it seems like the engine people are grouped together in qualifying and in the race, but I think at the intermediate tracks and short tracks the engine program looks pretty good. It’s really strong. It’s much more open than what the ECR was with sharing data and that’s really important to us only having two cars. When you can go look at Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart or whoever it is. That’s a positive for sure.”
GROWING UP, WHAT’S YOUR FIRST MEMORIES OF RACE CARS?
“Car or go kart?”
GO KART, WHEN YOU WERE A KID.
“First thing, I remember going out to the local go kart track, I was six or seven and there was a kid there about my age racing and I remember thinking how cool that was that he’s actually getting to race these karts. A year later I got a go kart for my birthday and actually ended up racing the first four or five years of racing go karts with him. We became good friends. Go karts are what I remember. Not only fun, but family fun which was really important.”
WAS THERE A POINT ALONG THE TIME WHERE YOU FIGURED OUT, I’VE GOT THIS?
“You know what I had was very supportive parents, but mainly a supportive father. I couldn’t do anything wrong. He always told you, you were the best so he convinced me of that. I think having somebody always telling you that you are doing the right thing, and you’re doing a good job, I had a really supportive father which was huge.”
SO THAT ONE BIG FAN MAKES A DIFFERENCE?
“Yeah, when you are related to me it does.”
HOW ARE YOU PLANNING TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY?
“We just had a baby on Monday, so my wife is not here. She’s at home. I think that Christy and I have a little bit, not really a different relationship, but we don’t buy presents, or do flowers. I usually tell everybody that it’s Valentine’s Day every day at our house. We’re just nice to each other and we don’t have a day to celebrate it.”
JUST BECAME A FATHER FOR THE SECOND TIME, TELL ME ABOUT THAT.
“I forgot how special it was to be in the delivery room. The part that you forget from my take is that you watch your wife carry this baby around for 10 months, and you talk about it and when that moment comes and you get to see the baby. Even though we have crazy technology that will give you a nice ultrasound, until you actually see it you don’t know. You don’t know that all the fingers and toes are going to be there. The first time you hear your baby cry, its immediate eyes water for both of you. It’s a moment that I wish everyone got to experience.”
WHAT WAS THE ONE THING THAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT BEING A FATHER FOR THE FIRST TIME?
“That you can love something unconditionally and it can test you and make you mad and you get frustrated and then you can immediately forgive it and love it. That’s something that people tell you. You hear it and people tell you stories. Everything that everyone tells you is true. It’s also very fascinating to me that I had my daughter on Monday at 11:52 and you’re in love immediately. It’s like immediate.”
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR EXERCISE?
“I had a trainer at one time, a guy that did a lot of the supercross guys and that’s an extreme. When you talk about motorcross guys they are in the best shape of any I would say athlete but probably motorsports athlete. So, I had that. My body fat got to an all-time low and the eating came along with that, and the eating is the hardest part of your workout. Now I try to eat correctly and really it’s about running 45 minutes a day and I do a little bit of weight lifting, but I don’t do a lot. There’s not anything to me that you can do weightlifting that duplicates what you can do in the car so the best exercise to me other than just some good cardio to stay healthy is just kind of being in a car.”
WHAT’S THE FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE EVER BEEN TOO TRAVELING?
“Italy. We actually went to Italy when Christy was pregnant with Carter in 2010 on our off weekend in August. It’s just, gosh so much different than America. Beautiful, old.”
WHERE IN ITALY WAS IT? “We went to Rome, Venice and Verona. It’s much different. People are not as friendly as they are in America. We grew up in the South and everyone says yes ma’am, yes sir and cater to you. Italians not so much, but scenery was beautiful.”
I BET THE FOOD WAS GOOD TOO. “The food was good. We live a very fast paced life. It’s hard when you get over there because there is no rush. Lunch
could take an hour and a half or two hours and that’s normal. That’s hard to get used to.”
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES