Four races into the Sprint Cup season, Jamie McMurray has failed to score a top-15 finish and says the team has not found enough speed on the fast tracks.
McMurray and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Kyle Larson, face another high-speed test this weekend at Auto Club Speedway, a 2-mile track in Fontana, California.
Tuesday, McMurray discussed his team’s struggles at Atlanta and Las Vegas, 1.5-mile tracks, and Phoenix on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Sirius Speedway.’’
“Our mile-and-a-half program is not there,’’ McMurray said. “We’re working feverishly to try to get it better. We made some pretty big changes this weekend for Fontana. I tested Charlotte last week (for Goodyear), while I was at the test they were in the shop redoing a bunch of stuff on the bodies and also just coming up with some fresh ideas of things to try at those tracks.
“Listen, when you’re off at the high-speed tracks, there’s nothing you can do about it. We’re just kind of throwing some stuff at it right now and hoping we can hit on something that will get us better at those types of tracks. Then, over the off weekend (next week), you can rebuild a few cars and apply all of that to the new cars.’’
McMurray’s best finish this season is a 16th at Phoenix and Las Vegas. He was 17th in the Daytona 500 and 21st at Atlanta.
Despite the struggles, McMurray has finished better in two of the first four races this season compared to last year. He is 15th in the season standings compared 19th at this time a year ago when he went on to make the Chase for the first time.
Larson is 17th in the points — the same position he was at this time a year ago. He had a seventh-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a 12th-place finish at Phoenix. Those results are offset by two finishes outside the top 25.
“If we can find something soon, it’s not that big of a deal,’’ McMurray told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio of the early struggles. “This early in the year, if you can keep from having one of those devastating 40th-place finishes, you can recover so much quicker.’’