Atlanta II: Jamie McMurray - NASCAR spotlight

Cruise control -- McMurray shows no signs of slowing down NASCAR community mourns, unites after Hendrick Motorsports aviation tragedy It's all good for Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) right now. He's riding a late-season surge,...

Cruise control -- McMurray shows no signs of slowing down

NASCAR community mourns, unites after Hendrick Motorsports aviation tragedy

It's all good for Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) right now. He's riding a late-season surge, controls a key spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings and even has a cable network date this week.

With MTV, that is. A crew from the network's popular "MTV Cribs" will visit McMurray's North Carolina home this week to film a segment for a future show, and McMurray doubtless has taken housekeeping pointers from Ganassi Racing teammate Casey Mears (No. 41 Target Dodge), who hosted the show earlier this season.

Truth is, McMurray's cleaning up at the track right now. He heads for this week's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 having logged nine top-10 finishes in his last 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Add last week's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win at Martinsville -- his third start in a truck -- and McMurray can claim to be only the eighth driver in NASCAR history to win an event in all three national series.

He'll be doing double duty again this week. McMurray will drive the No. 66 Dodge in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series event, the Aaron's 312.

"Atlanta has definitely been one of those tracks that we have not had much luck at," McMurray said. "We were running really strong there in the spring until our engine let go. But I'm feeling pretty good heading back to Atlanta this time. I feel like our speedway program has gotten much better since we were at Atlanta in the spring. We'll be in good shape this weekend with the Texaco/Havoline Dodge."

He's certainly in good shape in the point standings. Overall, McMurray has eight top five and 20 top-10 finishes through 32 races. But specifically, his second-place finish last week at Martinsville allowed him to strengthen his grip on 11th place in the standings, which is particularly important this season; he's held that spot for eight consecutive weeks.

The driver who finishes 11th will receive over $1 million in point-fund payout and also will attend the season-ending banquet in New York on Dec. 5. And for McMurray, who barely missed qualifying for the inaugural "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," 11th-place is definitely worth the competition.

NASCAR FAMILY SHAKEN BUT STEADFAST -- AND SUPPORTIVE

Last Sunday's accident involving a Hendrick Motorsports airplane claimed 10 lives, and affected countless others. NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter offered these thoughts on the tragedy:

"NASCAR is a major nationwide sport involving thousands of people, but whenever something like this happens, we're reminded of just how close-knit we are, despite the growth of the sport," Hunter said.

"The term 'NASCAR Family' is not a mere slogan. In times like this we pull together as any other family would. All of us at NASCAR continue to keep those affected by the accident in our prayers. We will continue to offer support and comfort whenever possible. We will carry on and, simply, do the best we can under these incredibly trying circumstances."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , Jim Hunter
Teams Hendrick Motorsports