No. 1 driver, Jamie McMurray had an uphill battle starting 24th at the beginning of yesterday’s Texas Motor Speedway Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race. But by around lap 175, he cracked the top ten.
Passing Cars at Texas
McMurray said it was very difficult to pass throughout the race.
“It takes a long time,” he said.
“You work on guys. Our car, fortunately, was pretty good on older tires. We didn’t have as much falloff. But still it’s hard to pass.”
The Chip Ganassi Racing veteran driver said part of the reason it took so long to get up into the top ten was getting stuck on the outside on the race’s restarts.
“Maybe you’d get up to 10th or 12th on a restart on the outside, lose four or five spots,” he said.
“You might spend the next 60 laps trying to get those positions back. The outside got better as the race went on. It was really bad at the beginning of the race.”
2018 NASCAR Mandated Pit Guns
Post race, Kevin Harvick noted a lot of frustration with the NASCAR-mandated and provided pit guns. McMurray said he did not know if they were having continued issues with the 2018 guns, but said it was a huge adjustment to get used to.
“The pit guns we used in the past, there was a lot of work that went into those to get them to the level they were at,” he said.
“The pit guns that we get from NASCAR, you know, they’re not even close to that same level.
Improving After the Off Week(s)
McMurray said the off week for Easter could not have come at a better time in the year for his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team, struggling a bit at the beginning of the season.
“We ran okay at Vegas and Phoenix,” McMurray said.
“Blew a right front at Vegas. I had to pit with like, I don’t know, 10 laps to go or eight laps to go at Phoenix. Ended up losing a couple laps because of another tire issue. Then had to pit again at Martinsville because of a left rear tire rub with 10 laps to go.”
McMurray said the team ran OK, but nowhere near as well as their race at Texas.
“Today was certainly our best performance,” he said.
“We had some different stuff in our car. You try to learn in the off‑season. Some of the stuff that we tried at the beginning of the year didn’t work out. We went back to similar to what we had last year. We ran really well in the mile-and-a-halfs. Our performance was way, way better today than it’s been all year long. Hopefully we can continue to work with that setup and those parts and perform each week.”
McMurray ended up finishing third — one of only 10 cars on the lead lap. McMurray leaves the Texas race weekend in 23rd in the MENCS championship standings.