The Frontstretch: 2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Jamie McMurray by Danny Peters -- Wednesday December 18, 2013

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2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Jamie McMurray

Danny Peters · Wednesday December 18, 2013

 

2013 Ride: No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet
2013 Primary Sponsors: McDonald’s, Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats, Cessna, Bell Helicopter, Bad Boy Buggies, Parade Media Group, Novo Nordisk/Racewithinsulin.com, Helmann’s, Advil, E-Z-Go, Linksys, Liftmaster, Lexar
2013 Owner: Chip Ganassi
2013 Crew Chief: Kevin “Bono” Manion

Stats: 36 starts, 1 win, 4 top 5s, 9 top 10s, 1 pole, 71 laps led.
Best Finish: 1st – Talladega (Fall).
Average Finish: 16.5.

Jamie McMurray

2013 Team Ranking: 1st of 2. With Juan Pablo Montoya’s NASCAR excursion now complete after seven years and just two wins in 252 attempts, Jamie McMurray finishes first out of two for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2013 courtesy of better stats and that all important victory.

High Point: No question McMurray’s high point was the win in the Chase race at Talladega, a race notable more for its lack of action, much follow-the-leader, finishing under caution and a lack of the proverbial “big one”. It was McMurray’s first victory since Charlotte in October 2010 and seven overall in 402 attempts at Cup level. Overall, it was McMurray’s best season (statistically speaking) since his career year in 2010 when he won three times including the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400.

Low Point: After two tumultuous years in 2011 and 2012 where his team, to put it politely, rather sucked the goal headed into 2014 was making the Chase. And while McMurray had a solid season – his best since his aforementioned career year in 2010 – he didn’t make the big dance so that was probably the low point for McMurray in 2013.

Summary: McMurray started off the season slowly with a 32nd place finish in the Daytona 500 and a 22nd place run at Phoenix in the second race. He had a good stretch over the next six races recording two seventh place runs at Martinsville and Texas to go along with a tenth place effort at Bristol. Over the next seven races McMurray had a best finish of 13th at Michigan (where he led 21 laps) and four finishes of 23rd and worse. He picked up his solitary pole position at Sonoma in race 16 but ended up 25th. The next six races were more positive with McMurray finishing a solid second at Kentucky, seventh in the summer Daytona race, 12th at Loudon and 11th at Watkins Glen. In the controversial Chase cutoff race McMurray finished fourth, following on from an 11th place run the week before at Atlanta. McMurray started the Chase well with a creditable top-5 run at Loudon, an 11th place effort at Dover and then of course the big win at Talladega which he followed up with his second consecutive top-10 (10th) at Martinsville. He finished out the season with a 31st place effort at Texas, 18th at Phoenix and then 30th at Miami-Homestead. One point to note, McMurray completed a metronomic 99.3% of the total laps (10474 of 10553) this year. All in all, it was a solid if not spectacular season for McMurray giving him something to build on with his new crew chief Keith Rodden who was hired from his previous role as lead engineer on Kasey Kahne’s car.

Off-Track News: The big off-track news for McMurray was the arrival of his second child, a daughter named Hazel. It doesn’t get much bigger and better than that.

2014 Outlook: McMurray will have an important role to play next season as a teammate, mentor and trusted advisor to Sprint Cup rookie and phenom Kyle Larson. But he’ll also be looking to finally make the Chase in what is likely to be a crowded field. 2014 will be an important year for the Sprint Cup veteran and he’ll be looking for a better stat line than you see above, that’s for sure.

2013 Frontstretch.com Grade: B-. McMurray picks up a B minus grade based, in large part, on his getting to Victory Lane for the first time since late 2010.

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