Jamie McMurray finished sixth in last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was only the second time this year he’s scored a top-15 finish and that was enough to send NBC America’s Dave Burns to the team’s shop to chat with crew chief Matt McCall about their performance and their projections for Pocono Raceway.
“(The Coke 600) was eventful for sure,” McCall said. “We started off, we had some tire vibration issues and we lost a lap there pretty early. And with 600 miles, that gives you a little bit of hope that you can get it back where you need to be. Fortunately, a couple of cautions fell where they needed to fall and give us a chance at the end to work on the car and have a decent run.”
The sixth-place finish is McMurray’s second-best this year behind a third at Texas Motor Speedway in April. The finish in Charlotte was vindication for how hard the team has worked.
“I feel like we’ve had some pretty good cars this year at times,” McCall said. “We just haven’t been able to put the race together with flat tires, running into something, or someone running into us. We just haven’t been able to put a solid race together.”
But now, it’s on to Pocono and there is a realization that it may be difficult to sustain the momentum. In 30 starts there, McMurray has not scored a top-five finish. Last year, he placed outside the top 25 in both races.
Still, McCall hopes that lessons learned last week contribute to a better finish this week.
“Last year, we had pretty good speed at both of the races,” he said. “Some brake issues in the first race last year that are hopefully resolved.
“The biggest thing is it’s hard to get all three corners correct – if you call Turn 2 a corner. And I think what has been our biggest challenge is Turn 3 and usually that is not good.”
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