McMurray and Montoya Roll into Thunder Valley
Race: Jeff Byrd 500 on Sunday, March 20
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway (0.533-Mile Oval)
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
In Good Company: Chip Ganassi was recently nominated in two different categories by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and SportsBusiness Daily for the 2011 Sports Business Awards, Ganassi was nominated for the Sports Executive of the Year category along with George Bodenheimer from ESPN; David Levy from Turner Broadcasting System; Kevin Plank from Under Armour; and Pat Riley from the Miami Heat. Ganassi Race Teams also received a nomination in the Professional Sports Team of the Year category along with the New York Jets, Orlando Magic, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Francisco Giants. The 2011 nominees were selected based on their excellence and outstanding achievements in the business of sports from March 1, 2010 through Feb. 28 of this year. The winners will be announced at the Sports Business Awards Ceremony on May 18, at New York’s Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
Jamie McMurray and No. 1 Bass Pro Shops®/Tracker Boats Team
Bristol Stats: McMurray will be making his 17th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. McMurray has two top-five, six top-10 and zero DNF’s at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”.
Jamie on Getting Back to the Track: “I’m really looking forward to get to back to racing period…. I was just really anxious to get back to race track after this off-week, and really can’t think of a better place than Bristol Motor Speedway. As for our team, I personally really enjoy the short-track racing, so I’m looking forward to seeing what type of power the Chevrolet motors have at a track that requires a lot of horsepower. They always have good stuff here, so hopefully that will continue with me!”
Struggles in the Desert: McMurray posted a strong qualifying effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 400, starting from the 11th position, but McMurray battled the very loose race car all day. McMurray finished in the 27th position after making contact with the wall. Jamie looks to battle back at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Thank You Fans: The fans have casted their votes on Facebook these past few weeks and have chosen what they think is the perfect song for McMurray to use for driver introductions. Stay tuned to hear what they have chosen…
Flip-Flop: This week, McMurray and fellow Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon will swap seats for an exhibition performance in Alabama. McMurray will make laps around the 2.36-mile road course at Barber Motorsports Park piloting Dixon's No. 9 Target IndyCar. Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, will then climb behind the wheel of McMurray’s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.
Juan Pablo Montoya and No. 42 Target Team
Bristol History: Montoya will be making his ninth NSCS start at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. He has two top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 16.9 and an average finishing position of 18.8. In eight starts, Montoya has completed 3999 of 4013 laps raced (99.7), with zero DNF’s and 29 laps led, all coming in this event last year. Montoya recorded his best finish at the track with a seventh-place run in the fall race last season, where he was the only driver to spend all 500 laps inside the top-15.
Montoya’s View of Bristol: “I actually enjoy racing at Bristol. It’s one of those tracks that can be intimidating at first but once I got out there, I caught on to it pretty quickly. You are on the wheel all the time and it’s a track that you want to be running up front. Track position is key. It’s when you get into the back of the pack that it’s a nightmare and can make for a very long day. Our results have been pretty good there and I’m sure Brian Pattie and the guys will give me a strong Target Chevrolet for the race on Sunday.”
What Happened in Vegas: Starting midfield at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Montoya quickly made his way to the front within 20 laps. A little pit strategy and a fast handling race car allowed the No. 42 Clorox car to be a solid fixture in the top 10 for the entire race. Montoya led eight laps and finished in the third-position to give the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates organization their first top-five of the season. The finish also marked Montoya’s first top-10 finish in five races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Movin’ On Up: Montoya and the No. 42 team took home the O’Reilly Auto Parts Award for improving the most positions from start to finish in the Kobalt Tools 400. Montoya gained 20 positions en route to his third-place finish, after starting from the 23rd position. Montoya also gained five spots in the point standings and is now fourth. He and Carl Edwards are tied with 106 points, seven back from the current points leader. This is the sixth time Montoya has been fourth or higher in the standings. His previous five trips were in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
2011 Numbers: After three races this season, Montoya has one top-five and two top-10 finishes, with an average finishing position of 9.3. Along with the on-track results, Montoya is also ranked among the top NSCS drivers in the following categories:
• Highest ranked closer, gaining 6.3 positions on average in the final 10 percent of laps each race
• Fifth in fastest laps run with 34
• Fifth fastest driver on restarts
• Sixth in average running position with 12.9
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is proud to have Pepsi - the bold, refreshing, robust cola, as the sponsor on the quarter panel of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Pepsi has been bringing fun and refreshment to consumers for over 100 years. For more information please visit, http://www.pepsiusa.com/
. CHASSIS INFONo. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet (NSCS):
Chassis #1006. Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boat team will bring chassis #1006 to Bristol this weekend. This chassis was last used in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season resulting in a 21st place finish. McMurray has a victory (Charlotte, 2010), three poles (Kansas, Chicagoland, Darlington) a second and fifth, leading 143 laps with this chassis.
No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1003. Brian Pattie and the No. 42 Target team are bringing chassis #1003 to Bristol this weekend. This chassis was last used in the second Texas race in 2010 where Montoya drove to a 28th-place finish. The No. 42 team has had success qualifying with this chassis, scoring three top-10 qualifying positions of fourth (Auto Club, Oct.), ninth (Atlanta, Sept.) and 10th (Chicagoland). Montoya has finishes of ninth (Atlanta), 14th (Auto Club) and 16th (Chicagoland) with this chassis.