McMurray says he'll be back at Roush Fenway in '09

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jamie McMurray said he isn't going anywhere, no matter what team owner Jack Roush said, or didn't say.

While running down Roush Fenway's future plans Friday, the owner left McMurray off the list but made sure to mention fellow Roush drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan and Greg Biffle.

Though he called McMurray "important" to him, Roush expressed disappointment in McMurray's performance this season. The 32-year-old is 22nd in the season points race and all but assured of missing the Chase for the championship for the third consecutive year.

Asked about it after qualifying eighth for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis, McMurray called Roush's comments no big deal.

"I can't control what Jack says and sometimes Jack will go off a little bit and it maybe gets out of control," he said. "If you look at the results (we) haven't been as good as the other four teams, so Jack is just kind of stating the obvious."

McMurray has just three Top 10 finishes this season, hasn't won in over a year and is below his four teammates in the season standings.

"I can give you a long list of things that if it would have been just a little different, we would have had some really good finishes," McMurray said. "So I'm optimistic with all that, so we'll just have to move on."

Perhaps to another team. There has been speculation that McMurray, whose contract with Roush Fenway runs through 2009, could leave to join Richard Childress Racing, rumors that McMurray flatly denied.

"There's no truth to that," McMurray said. "Richard is looking for a driver and I'm somewhat flattered to have my name on a list that another owner would want you, but I will be in this car and not at Richard Childress Racing."


TICKED OFF TOYOTA: Toyota is still smarting over NASCAR's mandate to cut down its horsepower in its Nationwide Series engines, an order top official Lee White called "draconian" and punishment for the manufacturer's success this season.

NASCAR changed the size of the spacer that's used in all Nationwide motors, a move that targeted Toyota's dominance and is expected to squeeze 15 horsepower out of its engines.

Toyota has dominated the Nationwide Series, winning 14 of 21 events heading into Saturday night's race at O'Reilly Raceway Park. All but one of those wins have been done with a Camry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bowing to complaints from other teams, NASCAR changed the parameters earlier this week even though it allows that Toyota was within the rules.

"This is about too much success to soon and we understand that," said White, president of Toyota Racing Development. "We don't have to like it, but we understand it."

White said testing under the new guidelines showed that Toyota motors had fallen to the back of the pack in horsepower, but the rule change would not deter their focus on technology and advancement.

"We're going to be here. If we have to race armadillos, we're still going to be here cranking on armadillo horsepower and racing," White said.

Kyle Busch, who has picked up five Nationwide wins this season, doesn't think the rule change will make much of a difference on the track.

"I think that was a bad decision on NASCAR's part," Busch said. "I think it was just a lot of whiney complainers that got their way and hopefully we can go out there and whoop their (butt) again."


PENSKE RIDE: With Ryan Newman leaving Penske Racing at the end of the season, there has been plenty of speculation about possible replacements in the No. 12 Dodge.

Roger Penske, with his IndyCar team in Edmonton for Saturday's race, said the process to find a new driver for the team's third car has just begun.

"A number of people have called us," Penske said. "We've got options to take a look at."

Penske expects to take the next few weeks going through the process after sitting down with sponsors to discuss driver options, though he stressed he's still focused on helping Newman finish the year strong.

"It would be to the benefit of Ryan, our team, everybody to get him in the Chase," Penske said.

Newman, who will start third on Sunday, has plenty of work to do to get into NASCAR's postseason. The Daytona 500 champion is 16th in the points, 189 behind Denny Hamlin, currently holding down the 12th and final Chase-eligible position.

Former Penske driver Rusty Wallace, now a TV commentator, made some waves earlier this week when he said Newman had been fired. Newman denied it on Friday and Penske followed suit Saturday.

"(Newman) made a decision, we made it together that he'd move on," Penske said. "There was no issue between the two of us. There's some reports that there was and that's not the case."

Newman, who made several jokes at Wallace's expense on Friday, took the high road after being vindicated by Penske.

"The bottom line is what (Wallace) said wasn't true and we'll move on," Newman said.


GIVING UP THE KEYS?: Mark Martin laughed off questions Saturday comparing him to Brett Favre, saying that unlike the NFL star, Martin has never used the word retirement.

The 49-year-old Martin, who qualified second for Sunday's race, will run full-time on the Sprint Cup for the first time since 2005 next year when he joins Hendrick Motorsports. The two-year deal to replace Casey Mears means Martin will put off -- again -- his postracing career.

Martin admits the decision to retire -- whenever it comes -- will be a difficult one. He likened the decision to the difficult process of watching his father take away the car keys of his grandfather, Clyde Martin. His grandfather was around 90 at the time, but the family decided to take away his driving privileges after striking someone on a bicycle with his car.

"That was a really hard day you know," Martin said. "At some point in time you have to meet those kinds of things all through life. I think for a professional athlete that is pretty good at what he does, that comes earlier in life."

Just not yet for NASCAR's fast old man.


AP Auto Racing Writers Jenna Fryer in Indianapolis and Mike Harris in Edmonton contributed to this report.