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Jamie McMurray is hoping to take the next step in 2005. McMurray and his No. 42 Havoline Dodge team of Chip Ganassi Racing suffered just enough engine failures combined with the loss of points for a technical infraction in 2004 to deny them entrance to the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup. Although disappointed, the team rallied to post strong finishes for the rest of the season to lock up the best of the rest award with an 11th place finish in Nextel Cup Series points.
Perhaps more important was the consistency shown by the No. 42 team over the final ten weeks of the season. McMurray posted three top five and eight top ten finishes over the final ten races. His lowest finish over that span was 24th with no DNF’s. Had they been able to post those steady results earlier in the year they would have found that elusive spot in the chase. They hope to carry that momentum over to this season to have a shot at the championship in 2005.
Helping McMurray toward that goal is the benefit of returning this season with his team intact. McMurray will return with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the No. 42 Havoline Dodge along with crew chief Donnie Wingo. The only question mark will be the switch from the Dodge Intrepid in 2004 to the new Dodge Charger for 2005. The Dodge contingent has been impressed by the wind tunnel numbers of their new car so far but the true test will be when the Charger hits the track in competition.
That’s not the only goal McMurray has his eye on. After making a splash by winning in only his second Nextel Cup Series start while subbing for an injured Sterling Marlin in 2002, McMurray has yet to return to victory lane. McMurray would like to erase that statistic and add to the win column in 2005.
“Chip and Felix continue to give me all the resources I need to win, and with unbeatable Dodge power under the hood and Donnie Wingo calling the shots from the pit box, I’m ready to put our Charger in Victory Lane,” says McMurray.
McMurray is our Frontstretch pick for a 9th place finish in the second Chase for the Nextel Cup so we believe McMurray will find the consistency to make the cut in 2005.
Today on the Frontstretch!
Bowles-Eye View: Follow the leader? Let’s hope not
Jarrett captures pole, Johnson 2nd For Daytona 500
Couch Potato Corner: Bud Shootout
Frontstretch 2005 Preview: 9th – Jamie McMurray
Frontstretch 2005 Preview: 10th – Matt Kenseth
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