McMurray stays busy after All-Star Race win
May 22, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Chip Ganassi Racing driver has made habit out of winning big events
CONCORD, N.C. – Jamie McMurray celebrated his win in last week's Sprint All-Star Race about the way one would expect a driver to – by leaving town for a two-day test.
He did get to spend most of the day after his victory at home, but the new week broke to find him at the shop "with a team lunch and doing a lot of media obligations," McMurray said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, site of Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.
And by Tuesday, he was back on the road.
"We left at 4:30 in the morning to go to Kentucky for a Goodyear tire test all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday," McMurray said. "We got back somewhat early (Wednesday); we land and I’m driving home and (Matt) Kenseth called and said they we’re having a family get together at his house so I was over there until about eight o’clock last night. So it’s been really busy for me.”
Kenseth and McMurray are former teammates, having both driven for Roush Fenway Racing. Kenseth has since moved on to Joe Gibbs Racing; McMurray currently resides at Chip Ganassi Racing.
"I got a lot of text messages – maybe 150 over the course of 12 hours after the race," McMurray said of his first victory in the non-points event. "Almost everything was really nice and really good stuff.
"I loved going to the shop on Monday and I can't tell you how many of the guys who work in our shop were slapping their wife in bed saying, 'Wake up…he’s going to win.' I think that's great because that's exactly what I would have done … so that was pretty cool."
The Talladega race winner last fall, McMurray has made it a habit of stepping up for big events. Among his seven career points victories are a Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.
In a season that has seen increased significance placed on race wins, McMurray said he wasn’t upset that his first win of the year came in a non-points event.
In a way, he joked, it was typical.
McMurray has won three Chase races yet he’s never been among those competing for the Chase title. More often than not, he said, his results would have been enough to gain him a berth in the field – when the qualifications were changed the following year.
"Looking back at the way the Chase format has been structured, I assume next year the winner of the All-Star race will be included into the Chase based on my history," he said. "It seems like every year, I’m a year behind on what actually the next year is going to be."
It's something he said he doesn’t worry about. Winning the All-Star Race was an incredible experience, whether it provided points, a spot in the Chase or, as was the case this year, a $1 million payday.
"When I got home and I was looking at the trophy and thinking of all the races I've won, it was so cool to be put in that category," he said. "As much as I would have liked to win a points race and be guaranteed to get into the Chase, that was huge last weekend for me, for Keith (Rodden, crew chief) and our entire team. So honestly I don't think about that."