Daytona Shootout: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing preview

Jamie McMurray and No. 1 Bass Pro Shops® / Tracker Boats Team:

Return of the Champion: Jamie McMurray returns to Speedweeks and the Shootout as the defending Daytona 500 champion where he landed his biggest career win last February. In his 20 starts at Daytona, including the Budweiser shootout, McMurray has claimed two victories, five top-fives and seven top-10's, with 25 laps led.

High Expectations: Jamie McMurray returns to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the 2011 season coming off a record 2010 behind the wheel of the No.1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonalds Chevrolet. NASCAR's "Big Event" driver, as McMurray was dubbed in 2010, became only the third driver in history to win both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same season, in addition to winning the Bank of America 500 (Charlotte's Chase race). He and the No.1 team claimed four poles (NSCS high), nine top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes. In the 36 Cup races last season McMurray lead a career-best 386 laps averaging a starting position of 11.6 and a finishing position of 18.0. While McMurray ended the season with a 14th-place finish in the final championship standings, just failing to make the chase, he claimed a win (Charlotte), two top-fives and three top-10 finishes, leading 90 laps combined in the final 10 Chase races. McMurray and the No.1 team led by crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion now turn their attention to building on their previous success during the 2011 season.

Shootout at the Beach: McMurray will attempt to better his last two races in the Shootout, scoring a career-best second-place finish in the 2009 race followed by a third-place finish in last year's running. Among active drivers he yields the third best driver rating in the Shootout with a 99.6. In his five shootout attempts ('04, '06, '08, '09, '10) McMurray has claimed two top-fives, three top-10s and four top-20 finishes with 19 laps led while completing 319 of a possible 366 laps. His best starting position came during the 2004 edition (McMurray's first), when he started third.

Juan Pablo Montoya and No. 42 Target Team:

High Expectations: Juan Pablo Montoya returns for his fifth full-time NSCS season at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the No. 42 Chevy with long-time partner Target. Montoya and the Brian Pattie led Target team capped off the 2010 NSCS campaign highlighted by an Aug. 8 victory at Watkins Glen, giving Target their first NSCS victory and the second consecutive season that both Montoya and Target have added to their list of accomplishments together (making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2009). Montoya finished the season with one win, a career-high three pole awards, six top-fives, 14 top-10 (39%) and 18 top-15 (50%) finishes. In the 36 Cup races of the 2010 season Montoya earned 23 top-20 finishes, leading a career high 411 laps and averaging a starting position of 11.6 and a finishing position of 18.0. Although Montoya missed the Chase, he and the Target team ranked amongst chase contenders in 10 of the 15 NSCS loop date statistical categories:

Superspeedway Success: In 16 Superspeedway starts in NSCS competition Montoya has a best finish of second (Talladega, 2008) three top-fives and five top-10 finishes with 54 laps led. In 2010 Montoya claimed a pair of third-place finishes at Talladega, with the second coming after winning his second career Talladega pole. In his four Superspeedway starts in 2010, Montoya and the Target team claimed two top-five and three top-10 finishes with one DNF coming in the July Daytona race that saw him lead 11 laps before being involved in a multi-car accident.

Target Shootout History: Montoya returns to the 33rd Running of the Shootout for the second time in his career with the introduction of previous Sprint Cup rookies of the year to the shootout. Last year Montoya drove the Target Chevrolet to a tenth-place finish after starting 20th, marking the second consecutive top-10 for the Target Team (2008, Reed Sorenson: fifth). In four Bud Shootouts, the Target car has never placed outside the top-20.

-source: egr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing