McMurray

Jamie McMurray has unique memory of Brickyard 400 win, also tells why he is so reserved behind the wheel

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Oh baby, does Jamie McMurray remember his win in the 2010 Brickyard 400 – but for a reason you might not think about.

Sure, he recalls the excitement of crossing the finish line and taking the checkered flag, but there’s an even greater memory that McMurray took away from one of the biggest wins of his career.

“For me, when I look back at the picture of getting to kiss the bricks, it’s special for a lot of different reasons,” McMurray told reporters Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “One of those was because (wife) Christy was pregnant with (son) Carter, 7 months I think with a big belly.

“And I remember on that day as we kissed the bricks, looking at her and telling her what a special memory we were going to have with him and the fact that we’ve won the race and we’re kissing the bricks and he’s in your belly.

“We have that picture in our motor home and we talk about it each weekend. Carter is four and a half, and he doesn’t completely understand how important this track is to all of us. … He doesn’t quite get it and as special as it is, but for me, when I look back to that day, that’s one of the memories that pops up first.”

Being a good role model for his kids, son Carter and 2 ½-year-old daughter Hazel, is important for McMurray. He’s rarely heard screaming or cussing or the like on his team radio when things go wrong – and there’s a reason for that, he says.

“I think I do a better job of hiding it than everybody else,” McMurray said. “I also don’t key the radio when I’m mad or when I have something to say.  I don’t know why people key the radio to announce to the world what they are feeling.  That takes thought to actually key the radio and say everything.  I have moments just like everybody else.  I just don’t let everyone see it.

“There is not really a lot to gain by that.  I have two kids who love watching NASCAR.  I don’t want them to hear that. I’ve never been the guy to key the radio and say that, but after having kids you are consciously … I am … I’m not going to put that out there.

“Not only if there are kids and people scanning, but also for McDonald’s, for Cessna, for all of our partners. There are a lot of people in the suites that are listening and I just don’t think that is appropriate.

“Now, I think some people get off on keying the radio and making an ass of themselves. I just don’t. I just say it to myself and have my own moment inside the car.”

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Jamie McMurray’s runner-up finish at Phoenix continues early season turnaround

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After a rough start to the season, things are starting to go in the right direction for Jamie McMurray.

The Joplin, Mo., native earned his best finish of the season, placing second to race winner Kevin Harvick in Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

It’s McMurray’s best finish since a victory at at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2013.

“We just had a really good weekend,” McMurray said. “Every practice our car was quick, and we qualified well. We just had a mistake-free day and really executed the race perfectly.”

Sunday’s runner-up showing was McMurray’s best in 24 Sprint Cup starts at Phoenix and only his second top-five (and third top 10) on the 1-mile oval.

But more importantly, McMurray’s future seems brighter after a dark start to 2015 with a 27th in the season-opening Daytona 500 and 40th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With an 11th last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the second at Phoenix, McMurray has climbed from 32nd to 19th in the Sprint Cup standings.

McMurray felt he had a shot at a victory Sunday, particularly on the final restart. But Harvick, who led 224 laps, was just too strong.

“When we drove into turn one, I’m like, ‘I’m going to go like hell,’ and hope I could clear him,” McMurray said. “But the car just didn’t seem like it had the grip you needed, and I didn’t want to slide up and wipe everybody out.

“Did I think I had a chance? Yeah, but you just don’t ever know what you’re going to get when you get to the end.”

McMurray isn’t surprised by Harvick’s recent dominance, which he could see since the defending series champion’s arrival at Stewart-Haas Racing.

“Ever since he unloaded at the (presason) Charlotte test last year, the first lap, he literally was the fastest car and for a year it’s been that way,” McMurray said “They’re on a roll and I listen to Kevin talk, it just seems to be real good communication between he, (crew chief Rodney Childers), the engineer and the whole team.”

But McMurray also is meshing well with new crew chief Matt McCall in the No. 1 Chevrolet at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I’m really happy with (finishing) second,” he said. “It would have been nice to be in Victory Lane and know you were locked into the Chase the way the point format goes.

“But as a group, our whole organization, the 1 team, Matt McCall, just awesome cars, and Matt made a great call to stay out (before the final restart). … He did a great job today.”

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