MCMURRAY, MONTOYA HEAD FOR THE IRISH HILLS
Michigan International Speedway Advance Notes
Race: Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 21
Track: Michigan International Speedway (2.0-mile oval)
Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Follow EGR on Twitter: Continue to follow Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on their official team Twitter page. Follow the No. 1 and No. 42 teams throughout the 2011 season @EGRTeams.
Sprint Summer Showdown: The Sprint Summer Showdown presented by the HTC EVO 3D is putting $3 million on the line for fans, drivers and driver charities. Any driver that wins an NSCS race between Indianapolis and Bristol will qualify to win $2 million if he is able to win the race at Atlanta during Labor Day weekend ($1 million for the driver, $1 million for their charity). One lucky fan paired with the winning driver also has a chance to win $1 million. Visit www.sprint.com/speed for more information.
Jamie McMurray and No. 1 Bass Pro Shops ®/ Tracker Boats Team
Gone Fishin: Jamie McMurray will participate in the second annual Fish Your Bass Off Tournament this Thursday at Jerry’s Pub on Wamplers Lake near Michigan International Speedway. The Tournament is a fundraiser to support Michigan International Speedway and their foundation, MIS Cares. Last year’s event raised over $27,000 for MIS Cares.
Michigan History: Jamie McMurray will be making his 18th career NSCS start at Michigan this weekend when he takes the green flag in his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. McMurray has scored one top-five and four top-10s at the Brooklyn, Michigan oval. McMurray’s best NSCS start at the two-mile track came in June of 2010, when he qualified on the outside pole at MIS and his best finish came in the August 2004 race, when he finished fourth.
Bass Pro Shops Returns: Bass Pro Shops® returns as the primary sponsor of the No. 1 Chevrolet team this weekend in the Irish Hills. Bass Pro Shops is an outdoor retail leader in hunting, camping, nature gifts, outdoor cooking, and much more. From a simple beginning, Bass Pro Shops has become one of America’s premier outdoor retailers with destination outdoor retail stores across the United States and Canada, serving over 75 million sportsmen a year.
Raced The Truck: In July of 2000, McMurray had the opportunity to turn his first laps in NASCAR competition at MIS. However, it was not in a Sprint Cup or Nationwide car, but in a Camping World Truck Series event. He started the race from the pole and ran near the front of the field all day on his way to a sixth-place finish. That result was the first of his six career top-10s in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action and his second-best finish in a NASCAR-sanctioned event at the track (Fourth-NSCS race in August 2004).
Moving to the Front: In the last 13 NSCS races at Michigan, McMurray leads the field with a total of 1,112 green flag passes, 71 more passes than second-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and 86 more than third-place Kevin Harvick. Harvick, Earnhardt, and McMurray are the only three drivers to have passed more than 1,000 cars in the last 13 races in the Irish Hills.
Last Weekend at The Glen: The strategy for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen was to only make three pit stops and maintain top-10 track position from the start. However, on the second lap of the race, that strategy would be thrown out as the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet would have to make an unscheduled pit stop to clean the grille after McMurray was forced to take evasive action and drive through the grass. Although the team was unable to follow the same pit sequence as many of the leaders, McMurray would battle throughout the event to bring the McDonald’s team home with a 17th-place finish.
In the Points: After McMurray’s 17th-place finish last weekend at Watkins Glen the No. 1 team remained 27th in the NSCS driver standings. McMurray is now 169 points out of the 10th-place cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The No. 1 team is also 87 points out of 20th and wild card contention.
Juan Pablo Montoya and No. 42 Target Team
Irish Hills History: Montoya has made nine career Sprint Cup Series starts at Michigan International Speedway. In those races, he has tallied two top-10s and has a best start of third in the August 2009 event. His average start at the track is 16.6 and average finish is 23rd. He has started inside the top-10 in four of the last five races in the Irish Hills. Montoya has completed 92% of the laps run in his starts (1661 of 1806) and has been running at the finish in eight of his nine races. His only DNF came in his first race at MIS when he was caught up in an on-track incident.
Won Here Before: Juan Pablo Montoya knows what it takes to go fast around the two-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway. While racing for Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) in open-wheel competition, Montoya drove to Victory Lane at MIS in 2000 after starting from the seventh position and leading 39 laps. In 1999, he also had a strong run after starting third and leading 28 laps on his way to a second-place finish.
“Lapping” the Field: Montoya currently has the second-best lap completion percentage of all Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2011. He has completed 6,013 of 6,048 possible laps run this season, giving him a 99.42% total. The only driver to complete more laps is five-time reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, who has finished 6,021 laps (99.55%). Montoya has been running at the finish of every race this year.
Visit to Target House: Last week, Montoya took time out to head to Target House and spend some time with children who are receiving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. On Tuesday, August 9th, he, along with Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, had dinner with the children and participated in a silly string war before taking part in a Carnival located at St. Jude. Created in 1962, Target House is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families with children who are currently receiving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This unique facility enhances the quality of life for its residents, who benefit from the privacy of family apartments, as well as common areas that help families interact with one another while at Target House.
Top-10 at Watkins Glen: Montoya posted the fifth-quickest lap during qualifying on Saturday afternoon but would need to wait until Monday before having the opportunity to race. Rain moved through Upstate NY causing NASCAR to postpone the 90-lap event until Monday morning. When the green flag finally waved, the No. 42 Target Chevrolet maintained valuable track position and ran the first 20 laps in the top-five until a pit stop under green flag conditions. The run up front would eventually continue as Montoya was displayed as the lap leader for four laps at the halfway point until having to pit again. The Target Chevrolet would spend a total of 70 laps in the top-10 and even battle a broken front suspension to cross the finish line in the seventh position.
In the Points: With his seventh-place finish at Watkins Glen International, Montoya moved up to 20th in points, putting him back into wild card contention. The No. 42 Target team is now 82 points outside of the top-10 cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Michigan Homecoming: Front-tire carrier Eric Bilyeu is a native of Waterford, Mich., about 80 miles from the track. He got his big break in NASCAR five years ago after reading a story in NASCAR Scene about the Ganassi Racing pit crews. Bilyeu sent in a resume and became one of the first members of the team’s pit crew developmental program.
No. 1 Bass Pro Shops ®/ Tracker Boats Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1102. The No. 1 Bass Pro Shops ®/ Tracker Boats team will bring chassis #1102 to Michigan this weekend. This will be the sixth time that Chassis #1102 has been used this year, following Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway and both races at Pocono Raceway.
No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1108. Crew Chief Jim Pohlman will bring chassis #1108 to Michigan this weekend. This is the second time that this chassis will be raced this year after running in the first race at Michigan in June when Montoya finished 30th after being caught up in an on-track incident.