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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2006 Driver Review: Jamie McMurray

Jamie “MAC”Murray
2006 Ride: No. 26 Crown Royal/Irwin Industrial Tools Ford Fusion
2006 Owner: Jack Roush
2006 Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig (Feb.-Apr.)/Bob Osborne (Apr.-Nov.)/Wally Brown (Nov.)
Stats: 36 races, zero wins, three top fives, seven top 10s, 25th in points.

High Point: 2006 was McMurray’s first year at Roush Racing after three-plus years driving for Chip Ganassi. His best race of the year was at Dover in June, where he topped all drivers with 95 laps led and finished second thanks to a late-race pass by teammate Matt Kenseth to rob him of the victory. It was McMurray’s highest finish of the year, though he also had top fives at Talladega (fifth) and Watkins Glen (third).

Low Point: During the final 10-race stretch of the Chase, McMurray showcased why he missed the playoffs; the No. 26 team had just two finishes in the top 20 and suffered five DNFs.

Summary: Both fans and pundits had high expectations for McMurray upon his move to Roush, but his performance in 2006 was disappointing. In his previous three seasons at Ganassi, McMurray had finished 13th, 11th and 12th in standings, but was able to muster just a 25th-place rank this year, thanks in large part to seven DNFs and a lack of consistency overall.

2007 Outlook: Always optimistic, Jamie is looking forward with anticipation to a new season with a new, as yet unnamed, crew chief. But his only win as a Cup driver is now over four seasons in the past, and McMurray needs to prove that he deserves to be in his coveted Roush Racing ride this year.

Grade: D