Homestead: Jamie McMurray - NASCAR spotlight

Job well done -- McMurray clinches 11th place, happy with late-season run DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2004) -- Point made. So much for ignoring Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Since barely missing the cutoff for this...

Job well done -- McMurray clinches 11th place, happy with late-season run

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2004) -- Point made.

So much for ignoring Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge).

Since barely missing the cutoff for this season's inaugural "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," the new method for crowning the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, McMurray has mashed the gas -- compiling 11 top-10 finishes in his last 13 races.

He's also won back-to-back NASCAR Busch Series races at Phoenix and Darlington, plus a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Martinsville.

Momentum is a beautiful thing.

"You just feel good everyday when you wake up," McMurray said. "You feel good about going to the racetrack and when you make a decision in the car you feel like you're making the right decision. You don't doubt yourself. It's something wonderful to have on your side."

He's feeling even better this week, having clinched 11th place in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. One race remains -- Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway -- but McMurray's fourth-place effort last week at Darlington sewed up the spot. And that's no small feat. This year, the 11th-place driver will attend the season-ending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards ceremony on Dec. 3 at New York's Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Also significant: 11th place is now worth over $1 million.

"I'm looking forward to going this year," said McMurray, the 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, of the New York trip. "We didn't get to the Chase, so our next goal was to finish 11th and it's been a fairly successful season. I can't wait to get next year started."

"The determination that team has shown over the past 10 weeks is truly exemplary," said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. "Instead of dwelling on the disappointment of not making the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," Jamie McMurray and his team have used it as a positive incentive."

"I think a lot of people were wondering how we were going to perform once Richmond was over and we didn't make the Chase," said Donnie Wingo, McMurray's crew chief. "And I feel like we've shown how strong this team is. Now all we need is to get a win this weekend so I can sleep better during the off season."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray