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McMurray's blown tire alters outcome at Atlanta

September 03, 2012, Seth Livingstone, Special to NASCAR.COM,

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Jamie McMurray was no threat to win Sunday night's AdvoCare 500. Martin Truex Jr. was in command as the laps wound down.

McMurray started 20th and was buried on the tail end of the lead lap when his blown tire with four laps to go forced a green-white-checkered finish.

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Until that point, Truex, winless since 2007, was holding off Denny Hamlin and conserving fuel, making his new deal with Michael Waltrip Racing look like a stroke of genius.

"It just sucks when you have one locked up like that and a caution comes out," Truex said. "That's the way it goes. We weren't good enough on restarts."

Hamlin beat Truex out of the pits. When Truex couldn't keep pace on the restart , Hamlin's job was to hold off Jeff Gordon, who admitted that his only chance at victory came thanks to McMurray's misfortune.

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"That was really the only thing that gave us a shot to win," Gordon admitted.

Gordon, however, couldn't catch Hamlin, who expressed a touch of mixed emotions after his fourth win of the season.

"I'm 70 percent happy for us and 30 percent sad for Michael [Waltrip] and Martin Truex," Hamlin said after the race. "One way or another, they are [Toyota] teammates of ours."