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McMurray, Ganassi Hope To Solve Speed Problems At Kansas

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, May 6 2016
Jamie McMurray arrived in Kansasa with high hopes this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett)

Jamie McMurray arrived in Kansasa with high hopes this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Missouri driver Jamie McMurray was asked the usual local-media questions about coming “home” to race this weekend. And he issued the usual polite, geographically correct answers.

“Always nice to come home,” the native of Springfield said. “Special.”

bugnotesBut for McMurray, reliving the past is way down there on his weekend to-do list. P1 on that list happens to be finding the kind of speed that put him into the Chase a year ago but has been playing hide-and-seek with him this year.

Through the first 10 races in 2016, McMurray and his Chip Ganassi Racing team have been able to post just one top-five finish – that, a week ago in the Talladega plate race.

Asked which areas were causing the of the lack of speed, McMurray said; yes.

“I think that when you are off a little bit, it’s not in one area,” he said. “It’s maybe a little bit of everywhere.”

Racing this weekend is at the Kansas Speedway 1.5-mile oval and McMurray said Friday that a good showing here would be huge and not just for one weekend in early May.

After racing at the Pocono 2.5-mile triangle next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series moved to the Charlotte Motor Speedway 1.5 for the marquis All-Star and Coke 600 events.

“This weekend will be a big weekend,” McMurray said. “We’ve made some really big steps, I feel like, heading into Kansas, set-up wise. They’ve learned quite a bit of stuff in the wind tunnel that we are going to apply this weekend that I think will make a big difference. And I’ve said this for the last couple of years and over the winter, that to me, if you can get your 1.5-mile program good, it carries you through the road course and the short tracks and the superspeedways are such a crap shoot and you have to be a little bit lucky there. It’s just so important to be good at the 1.5-mile tracks and we have not been good at those for the last couple of years.”

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The scene was very scary: AJ Allmendinger getting out of his car after being T-boned in one of the infamous Big One wrecks at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend and immediately falling to his knees.

On Friday at Kansas Speedway, Allmendinger gave fans the verbal thumbs up.

“I’m fine,” the JTG Daugherty Racing driver said. “I was just a little bit sore the next couple of days nothing that I haven’t experienced before after Talladega.  It wasn’t a big deal. It was a tough race.  We got something out of it at least, finished 14th, moved up a couple of spots in points so it could have been a lot worse. The guys did such a great job last week to repair the car twice really to keep it going.  As we saw through the race a lot of people had the same issues.

“Getting here?  No, no issue.  You just shut it off.  You know the risks when you get into a race car.  NASCAR does a great job with all the safety aspects.  We saw a lot of big hits last week and fortunately all the drivers were out and okay.  Obviously, it’s not a lot of fun when you have to go through it, but we know the safety is there and NASCAR continually tries to keep working on it and making it better.  Come here to Kansas and you forget all about it and see how fast your race car is.”

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Jimmie Johnson’s weekend got off to a bad start on Friday.

During the final practice in the afternoon, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet began blowing smoke from under its hood.

Johnson pitted the car. It was taken to the garage where Hendrick team members went to work. Hendrick GM Doug Duchardt was asked what happened.

“It appears the No. 48 got into a similar condition that the No. 5 (Kasey Kahne) got into at Phoenix,” Duchardt said, “and when it did that, it pumped some oil up into the intake manifold and that’s where the smoke came from. Based on the experience we had with Kasey’s engine in Phoenix, we felt comfortable checking the engine over, running it, getting the oil out of the top of the engine, and sending him back out.  Jimmie went back out during practice. We will continue to monitor, and we have no plans on changing the engine at this time.”

 

 

 

 

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, May 6 2016
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