McMurray Sees Better Days Ahead

J.McMurray

McMurray is looking for continued improvement as the 2012 Sprint Cup Series nears the mid-point of its regular-season schedule. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jamie McMurray believes things are improving as the season goes along for his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team.

Despite a few setbacks to open the 2012 Sprint Cup Series, McMurray points to recent performances as an indication that the organization is heading in the right direction.

He was particularly pleased with his run in last Saturday night’s Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which - although it ended with McMurray just missing the cut for the All-Star Race - was still a positive outing he believes will be beneficial.

“We went back and made all those changes that we had to our car, so I'm pretty anxious to get out and see if we still fight the same issues,” McMurray said of the adjustments made to his No. 1 Chevrolet after Saturday’s All-Star preliminary.  "It's been such a good track for me and it's one of the tracks I really look forward to.  Our cars are definitely better than they were last year, but we still have a ways to go.

“I can't wait to get out there and see if the changes we've made (are) an improvement.  If it helps at Charlotte, it's going to help at Dover and some of the other races that we have coming up.  I'm pretty anxious to get out there.”

The All-Star experience in general is helpful to running the longest race of the year, Sunday's return to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600.  McMurray says preparation for the Memorial Day Weekend classic is as much mental as anything else.

“It seems like you mentally prepare for that and in the race, even if your car is good, things go by fairly quickly; and if your car is not, it seems like it takes all day,” McMurray said.  “But after running in the All-Star Race each year, it gives you a good baseline of changes that you want to make.  We've gone back and changed a few things on our car to make it better; and it's a big test, the '600.'  Most people look forward, if you run decent at the All-Star event, then you look forward to going back because you have a really good baseline to start with.”

While McMurray feels he’s running better of late, there’s still work to be done. Despite the changes to the entire Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization after its dismal 2011 campaign, McMurray understands it will take time to see the complete impact of those moves.

“If it was easy, everybody would run well and it wouldn't be the challenge that it is.  But it's a lot of work,” McMurray said.  “When you have years like we did in 2010, it makes it even harder to not run well because you have the capability of doing it.

“I just had an off-season (in 2011).  My expectations weren't that we were going to come out and be a dominant car because I knew it was going to take time.  It is taking time and they're making changes.  The best part is that we're finding issues where last year, we didn't.  We were changing stuff last year, but it was kind of shooting from the hip and not really knowing why we were doing things.

"I think it's more scientific this year.  It's based on engineering and when we make a change, it's better, it's not just a guess.  It's not hard to be patient when you feel like there's progress being made."

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