McMurray Shines Brightest in NASCAR Sprint All-Star Spotlight
PIT NOTE #9 Saturday, May 17, 2014
McMURRAY SHINES BRIGHTEST IN ALL-STAR SPOTLIGHT -- Jamie McMurray started the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race mid-pack, a longshot to win on NASCAR's biggest night.
But the 37-year-old driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing finished No. 1 after an exciting side-by-side battle with Carl Edwards in the final 10-lap shootout.
"As a kid, that's what you grow up wanting to do - to have a shootout like that over 10 laps," McMurray said. "It's so cool to come out on top of that."
McMurray, who led a race-high 31 laps (including all 10 in the final segment), had plenty of competition, with six different drivers leading the field during the 90-lap event. In the end, he pulled away to take the win over Kevin Harvick by .696 seconds. Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.
The win was McMurray's first in NASCAR's all-star showdown. His best finish in seven previous starts was eighth in 2013.
While he's had some other big race wins in his career, McMurray said winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is something special.
"It's so much different than winning the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard because there are no points," McMurray said. "I think the mentality going into that last segment is that it's all or nothing. It was awesome. It's three or four of the hardest laps I've run in my racing career and it's a memory I hope I never forget."
Team owner Chip Ganassi said the win is even more special because of Charlotte's deep ties to NASCAR.
"The races mean a lot more when they're in your backyard," he said. "Everybody gets to see them. I think it adds a little something special to them. I think Jamie likes this place. If he gets a sniff of the front there, he gets a little calm over him. He likes it up there."
Sprint All-Star Race runner-up Harvick attributed his finish to poor pit road performances and a lack of time to make up for them.
"I thought we had a really fast race car and we did all the things we needed to do to put ourselves in position on the race track," he said. "We just couldn't get it done on pit road tonight so we just didn't make it happen at the end and ran out of time as we got to the closing laps."
Despite a third place finish, Kenseth said he felt like he had a car capable of winning, but he simply ran out of time to race his way to the front.
"That last run was by far the best we were since we've been here," Kenseth said. "We made some adjustments and had a really good pit stop. I felt like if I could have gotten up front, I could have held on."