McMurray victorious in only second Winston Cup start. MOORESVILLE, N.C., (October 14, 2002) - The American Dream is alive and well. Just ask Jamie McMurray. McMurray, in only his second NASCAR Winston Cup start, blistered the competition in the...
McMurray victorious in only second Winston Cup start.
MOORESVILLE, N.C., (October 14, 2002) - The American Dream is alive and well. Just ask Jamie McMurray. McMurray, in only his second NASCAR Winston Cup start, blistered the competition in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge as he held off Bobby Labonte in the closing laps to score the victory in the rain-delayed UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. last night.
McMurray, tabbed as the replacement driver for injured Sterling Marlin, caught the racing world on fire last night as he set a new NASCAR modern era record by becoming the quickest driver to win a Winston Cup race.
"This is amazing. This was my worst track," said McMurray in Victory Lane. "It doesn't look like it, but it is my worst track. This is just a great race team. They took a chance on me. I've never won in Trucks, never won in Busch. I just tried hard to stay focused during those last few laps. I can't believe I'm not crying right now."
With the win, McMurray becomes the fourth first-time winner this year and just the 11th driver in NASCAR's 54 years to earn a win in either his first or second career start.
"When we were leading with 100 (laps) or something to go, I figured we were about fifth. They kept making the car better all day --- what a race car. Chip (Ganassi) and Felix (Sabates) have a first-class operation and gave me a great opportunity."
After qualifying was rained out, McMurray lined up on the starting grid in the fifth position as a result of current NASCAR Winston Cup car owner points.
During the early stages of the event, McMurray remained in the top 10 and was clicking off lap times equal to the leader. McMurray, who hovered near the top 10 throughout the entire race, first grabbed the lead on lap 212 during a round of green-flag pit stops.
McMurray battled with Labonte for the lead on several occasions and began to stretch out to a commanding lead heading into a round of green flag pit stops. Lightning fast work by the No. 40 Coors Light team shot McMurray back into the lead after the cycle of green flag pit stops were completed. McMurray assumed the lead again on lap 304 and would hold it for the final 30 laps as he held off a hard charge from Labonte on the last lap. McMurray lead on four different occasions for a total of 96 laps, the most laps lead during the race.
"This team is all about motivation and heart," team owner Chip Ganassi said. "Jamie showed a lot of heart when I first met him. He's got great communication skills and he wants to be here."
"They took a chance on me," McMurray said. "I hadn't won in Truck or Busch. They put me in first-class equipment and I made the most of it tonight."