McMurray says focus still with 42 team

Jamie McMurray isn't saying much about his departure from Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of the 2006 season. As highly publicized as his job-hunting has been the last two years, one thing is clear: he's happy to be going. McMurray was widely ...

Jamie McMurray isn't saying much about his departure from Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of the 2006 season. As highly publicized as his job-hunting has been the last two years, one thing is clear: he's happy to be going.

McMurray was widely rumored to be inheriting the No. 2 Dodge of Rusty Wallace at the end of the 2005 season, but contractual commitments to Ganassi preventing him from accepting the deal. His name continued to fly about, attached to almost every other conceivable ride in the Nextel garage.

McMurray stayed silent, denying rumors. Car owner, Chip Ganassi adamantly reaffirmed that McMurray would not be let out of his contract to pursue other options.

At last, the rumor mill can finally stop talking about. Roush Racing announced Thursday that McMurray will fill the seat of the No. 6 Ford beginning in the 2007 season. An unnamed driver will seat warm the car for McMurray next year; who will continue to drive the No. 42 Dodge.

"I have signed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to drive the No. 6 car beginning with the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup series season," a statement from McMurray read. "However, my focus and commitment remains with the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline/Home 123 team as we continue our bid for the Chase for the Championship."

Current car owner Chip Ganassi could have let McMurray out of his option to drive the No. 42 next year, allowing the Joplin, Missouri native to start immediately at his new home.

Ganassi said no dice.

"Jamie's made a decision to go in another direction after we've both fulfilled the commitment that we made to each other in 2002," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We didn't do a good job of conveying to Jamie where this team is headed, but we expect a lot of success with Jamie the rest of this year and next year, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors beyond that."

McMurray first caught the eye of the NASCAR nation when he won in 2002 at Charlotte filling in for the injured Sterling Marlin in the No. 40 Dodge. He quickly ascended to a full time Cup series ride, but had a disappointing 2004; just missing the chases for the championship by finishing 11th in points.

This year McMurray has learned from the mistakes that cost them an appearance in the Chase. So far, the No. 42 team has seven top-10 finishes and sits seventh in points.

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi