Landon Cassill and the No. 34 CSX "Play It Safe" Ford team will remember a North Carolina U.S. Army Private as part of their patriotic paint scheme for the Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600. The decal across the top of the windshield of the Ford Fusion will display the name of Pvt. Michael Murdock of Chocowinity, N.C., killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2008.
The 22-year-old was on his first deployment when his base was attacked by enemy fire. His unit was based out of Ford Hood, Texas.
"We are proud to have Pvt. Murdock's name on our car for the Memorial Day weekend," Cassill said. "We recognize, not just on this holiday, but every day, that there are men and women who have given their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have. It will be our honor to welcome his mother at the race on Sunday and to race 600 miles in the name of this American hero."
The CSX Ford will race with a special red, white and blue paint scheme for Sunday's 600-mile race, honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
No. 34 MDS/#Checkit4Andretti Ford
Started: 12th | Finished: 13th
"We took a chance and took two tires for the start of the final stage and wound up restarting in the lead. I kind of spun the tires on the restart, and it's hard when you lose your momentum. We got hit from behind and spun. But this is the kind of race where you take chances like that. We would've loved to advance our MDS/#Checkit4Andretti Ford to the All-Star race and thought that could give us a chance at a win. I'm proud of the team for the effort."
Cassill on Charlotte/All-Star“I know we’re going to dream up some out-of-the-box ideas that we normally wouldn’t try and see if it sticks for the Open. It's actually a really fun race. You really do get a kick of adrenaline and race people hard, and then it’s over pretty quick. I’ve run well there before, so hopefully we can get ourselves into the All-Star race.
“I’m excited for the new softer tire option NASCAR is offering, whether I make the All-Star race or not. I want to see how that turns out. I think it’s an idea that’s been kicked around the garage for a while – just having an option tire over the course of the race. I think it’s going to provide some interesting strategy, and it will be really cool for everyone watching the race.
"We have #Checkit4Andretti on our MDS Ford this week for John Andretti. John was the original driver of the No. 34 when Bob Jenkins first ran the car full-time in the Cup series, and he's still a good friend of Bob's and a friend of the team. We're all thinking about him as he battles colon cancer, and we want to help spread his message. He's been using his diagnosis as a platform to encourage everybody to go to the doctor and get checked, and we're happy to help spread that message in his name."
No. 34 A&W Ford
Started: 36th | Finished: 21st
"Our A&W Ford was pretty good. We just found ourselves in a hole early, cutting a tire on some debris and hitting the wall. Then after we battled back from two laps down, we had to pit under green for a loose wheel. So, that was a little frustrating, that we just kept giving everybody else a head start on us, and we had to keep battling back. But the team did a good job, and despite the damage we had, we came away with a decent finish."
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 25th | Finished: 29th
"We had a great Love's Travel Stops Ford. We ran well day, hung out in the back for most of the race and avoided the wrecks. Didn't have a scratch on the car. Then when it got time to be aggressive late in the race, we made our way toward the front, only to lose the transmission on a restart. It was looking like we could've had a top-10 or top-15 finish, so obviously to have something go wrong mechanically was really disappointing. I'm proud of the effort, though."
Cassill on Talladega
"I think our cars are starting to have to handle at these superspeedways a lot more. Even though Talladega is less of a handling track than Daytona, I do think handling will come into play. So, we’ll be focusing on that in practice to make sure it’s going to handle well for the race.
"We know we can run well at the superspeedways and run up front. The 34 car has been to Victory Lane at Talladega before, and it would be huge for this team, for me and for Love's Travel Stops to get it back there this weekend. Love's is such a great partner, we'd love to get them a win."
Saturday, May 6, 11am - Love's Travel Stops (I-20 Exit 147, Moody, Ala.)
Cassill on Richmond"We practice, qualify and race all at different times at Richmond. So, you use experience to guide your adjustments and what you choose to do with your car. That track tends to be really fast when the sun goes down and really slick when the sun’s out. When we race there at night later in the year, the track frees up, but it has a lot more grip and it’s faster. But the tire falloff at Richmond during the day is a lot of fun.
"We've got The Pete Store on our No. 34 Fusion this week at Richmond. They're an important partner of ours -- our race haulers are pulled by Peterbilt trucks -- and they've got a couple stores in Virginia, one right in Richmond. It's always good to have them at the track with us."
Sunday, April 30, 10:20am - Ford Performance display (Richmond International Raceway Fan Zone)
Team FRM PR