McMurray pulls off surprise win in All-Star race
The Associated Press | May 18,2014
Jamie McMurray takes the checkered flag to win Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
CONCORD, N.C. — Jamie McMurray, a 40-1 long shot, had a $1 million payday Saturday night with an upset victory in the Sprint All-Star Race.
McMurray was second on the restart for the 10-lap sprint to the checkered flag. Lined up outside of pole-sitter Carl Edwards, McMurray waged a door-to-door battle with the leader for a lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway, with McMurray surging slightly ahead several times.
The two cars appeared to touch more than once, and McMurray finally cleared Edwards for the lead two laps into the fifth segment.
“A million bucks, that’s what I kept telling myself,” McMurray said.
McMurray then easily pulled away for his first victory in the event.
“For me, in the car, that was as much fun as you can have, a 10-lap shootout, me and Carl going side by side,” said McMurray, who scored the first victory of his career in 2002 at Charlotte. “Carl and I were just going for it. That’s awesome.”
Kevin Harvick finished second, Matt Kenseth was third and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who complained earlier he was driving a dump truck, was fourth.
Edwards faded all the way to fifth.
Kurt Busch was 11th after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day.
“Really happy to see Jamie win, it’s always nice to see good guys win,” said Kenseth, a former teammate of McMurray’s at Roush Fenway Racing.
It seemed to be a popular victory as several drivers made a point to congratulate McMurray in their post-race interviews as the driver took his Chevrolet to Victory Lane. He was met there by team owners Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi, who flew into North Carolina before the race after Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
It was a tough day for Ganassi in Indianapolis, where none of his five cars made it into the Fast 9 qualifying round and Scott Dixon was his fastest driver at 15th.
Kyle Busch won the first segment, but his night ended early in the second 20-lap segment when he used an aggressive move in a fast attempt to avoid running into the back of older brother, Kurt.
“His brother forced his hand,” Clint Bowyer said of the accident that nearly collected his car. “Hell, I don’t know how I didn’t wreck.”
The Busch brothers were running together when Kurt was too close to the outside wall and Kyle tried to dart into the middle lane to avoid hitting him. Instead, Kyle hit the back of Bowyer as he tried to swing around Bowyer into a third lane. Bowyer clipped him as Busch surged ahead, and it began a spin that sent Busch into the path of Joey Logano.
Busch failed to finish the All-Star race for the fifth time in nine years.
“I saw Kurt get really bottled up ad about get in the wall, so he had to check-up real hard and my shot was in the middle, to go across three lanes and underneath Bowyer,” Busch said. “But Bowyer blocked it and when he did, I got into him. Those are the opportunities you have to take in the All-Star.”
Kasey Kahne went on to win that segment, and the third segment.
“I say just leave the car for now, felt pretty good right there,” Kahne radioed after the third segment as his crew debated pit strategy.
But his night fell apart in the fourth segment when he hit the wall to damage his Chevrolet.
“I hit it hard. I blew it bad,” he radioed. “Sorry, guys. I can’t believe that happened. We had the best car here by far. Great, great car.”
Kahne wound up 14th.