Missouri is known as the “Show Me State,” but Jamie McMurray says that only extends so far.
As in Carl Edward’s recent sudden retirement.
Both McMurray and Edwards are Missouri natives, Jamie Mac from Joplin and Cousin Carl from Columbia, about 235 miles away to the northeast.
During Tuesday’s NASCAR Media Day, McMurray was asked if would ever follow his fellow statesman’s lead and abruptly walk away from the sport.
“Um, I don’t know if the state you’re born in really has anything to do with the retirement factor – seems like a pretty big stretch,” McMurray said with a big laugh. “I’m going to try to link those, but I don’t think I can.”
But like pretty much everyone else in the sport, McMurray admitted he “was completely taken aback” by his fellow Missourian’s decision. “Maybe there is someone in here that knew, but I was blindsided by that.
“Honestly, I hope that more comes of that story. I didn’t actually watch the press conference. I read some quotes from it just because I was curious, right? I don’t really know Carl enough to call him and ask him outright. My gut tells me that maybe we’ll hear more later on. But, yeah, I was pretty taken back by that.”
One thing McMurray was not taken back by was Monday’s announcement of the enhancements to the points system in NASCAR’s three premier race series.
“Not completely surprised,” McMurray said. “Over the past two or three years we’ve made a lot of changes to the cars and we’ve kind of worn that dial out.
“This, to me, was just the next step. From what I understand and from what I have been told, I think all of the teams that were involved with NASCAR in making the decisions; everyone was kind of pulling the rope in the same direction.
“So, I’m not completely shocked by that because I think you had a large group of grown-ups in a room that all were trying to get the same thing accomplished.”
The driver of the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS is looking forward to the new points format.
“I like the strategy that’s going to come from the format,” McMurray said. “And the best way to describe that is if we go to a track that it rains a lot and they have to have a competition caution, it’s great when the caution happens to fall 10 laps before that because you get some strategy.
“You get people that put tires on. Sometimes the leaders don’t. If it’s a track where the tires are really important, it creates a little bit of excitement, right? You have a lot of passing going on. Then the caution comes out 10 laps later and you get to see if those guys all pit. Did they make up enough ground? So, I like the fact that we’re going to have that every week.
“I also like the fact that at the plate races (where) I have been on the side of riding in the back. It might be one of the most boring things in your life to ride seven seconds behind a pack at Daytona or Talladega, just to get in a wreck at the end. Even though you’ve done all the right things, you still get caught up in the wreck.
“I like that the Duels (at Daytona) and the races are going to pay for the segments. I also like the fact that at any track that we go to, if you run really well all day long, you’re rewarded for that. And if for some reason your engine does blow up or you get caught-up in a wreck at the end, if you ran well all day long you’re going to get something out of that. I can’t find any negative side to it.”