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McMurray win, Larson add brighten EGR's future

October 23, 2013, Holly Cain,

Talladega victory gives EGR boost heading into 2014

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TALLADEGA, Ala. -- This is the time of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when motivations vary and immediate gratification isn't the only sure sign of success.

Thirteen drivers earned a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and only four are within 50 points of leader Jimmie Johnson with four races remaining.

For Jamie McMurray, a non-Chase driver, and his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team, Sunday's victory at Talladega Superspeedway was both vindication and promise.

The team had been close before to reclaiming its mojo after a nearly three-year winless streak, but McMurray's dramatic win rewarded his team's substantial investment in a new engine program. Perhaps best of all, it points toward great possibility for next season, too.  

"We've struggled this year a little bit," said co-owner Felix Sabates shortly after celebrating in Victory Lane. "This does a lot for both of our race teams. It shows that we're capable of winning. Looking ahead is what we do in this business. You can't look backward because what happened today is history. We have made a big, big, big investment and we did it because we think we can win.

"If we didn't think we could win we'd just take our money and go home."

Of course, thinking and doing are two different things. But McMurray's win is his third top-five in the past seven races after having only one -- a runner-up finish at Kentucky -- in the 25 previous races.

It bodes well not only for the remaining four races this year, but what the team may be capable of in 2014 when McMurray will have a new rookie teammate in the highly touted Kyle Larson.

"It's important for the whole organization," McMurray said. "Chip (Ganassi) has obviously won the championships on the IndyCar side and the GRAND-AM side but he and Felix have also made a really big financial commitment to our (NASCAR) team. The switch to the Hendrick engines … was a big financial tax on the team and I think it's made our cars better.

"Our cars have definitely been better this year, but getting to Victory Lane, it really doesn't matter what track, it definitely is a momentum builder for our whole organization."

With the win, McMurray overtook reigning Cup champ Brad Keselowski for 14th place in the standings -- the top ranked driver not in the Chase -- which at the very least is a source of pride. In this case, it's also a message.

"Winning is not just about me," McMurray said. "It's about everybody within our whole group. It's cool to see their faces in Victory Lane and know that when we go to Martinsville you have confidence. Everybody does."


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