Million Dollar Victory: Jamie McMurray Claims NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Win
Jamie McMurray had competed in NASCAR’s Sprint All-Star race seven times previous to Saturday night’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His best career All-Star finish? Eighth. To call McMurray a long shot for this year’s crown would be no understatement; going up against all the heavyweights the sport has to offer in a no-holds-barred race for a million bucks.
McMurray staged an upset of epic proportions, knocking off pole-sitter, Carl Edwards for his first ever All-Star Race victory. En-route to his triumph in North Carolina, McMurray lead a race-high 31 laps. His previous All-Star laps led tally? ZERO. This was McMurray’s shining moment in a race that celebrates NASCAR’s biggest talents.
With ten laps remaining, McMurray came off the restart in second position, outside of the 2011 race winner, Edwards. With a heated battle for the final few laps, McMurray and Edwards dueled side to side, even touching on several occasions. Oakley’s McMurray eventually shot ahead of Edwards with two laps remaining and held on for the checkered flag. Edwards eventually finished fifth, after being passed by McMurray and several others. The driver of the 99 car had plenty of nice things to say about this year’s winner.
“Jamie just did a perfect job on the start. I had him cleared for a minute,” Edwards said. “If I would have pulled in front of him in Turn 1, if I would have gone high, I think we would have won that race. But I was just so reluctant to give up the bottom. It was a drag race. My hat is off to him. He earned it.”
Although McMurray had never won the Sprint All-Star race up until Saturday night, he was no stranger to success in Charlotte. Ironically, his first career victory came at that very track in 2002, with a follow-up win in 2010.
“As a kid, that is what you grew up wanting to do, is have a shootout like that and have a possibility to race for 10 laps,” McMurray said. "He got a little bit of a jump on me on the restart and I was able to hang on to his quarter panel, and when we kept entering Turn 1 and 3, I was like, `It is for a million bucks. If we wreck, it’s not that big of a deal.’
In the end, they didn’t wreck and McMurray cashed in for the million bucks. In summary; it WAS a pretty big deal.
In other NASCAR news, Sam Hornish Jr. won the NASCAR Nationalwide race in Iowa. Hornish took the lead on a restart with 22 laps to go and never looked back, sprinting to his third career Nationwide Series victory. After a rough finish to the 2013 season, Hornish emerged on the right side of professional and personal turmoil to return to victory lane at the Get To Know Newton 250 at Iowa Speedway.
“I knew this was an opportunity, not just to race but to go out and win races,” Hornish said. “To do what I felt I could do for (Joe Gibbs Racing) means everything to me. It means I followed my heart and that was really the right thing to do.”