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McMurray: "The Chase hasn’t had the drama that it normally does"

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McMurray: "The Chase hasn’t had the drama that it normally does"
By:
Sep 30, 2016, 3:01 PM

Jamie McMurray comes into Dover in danger of elimination, but still feels like this year's Chase has lacked drama after the first two races.

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Chip Ganassi Racing Chase drivers: Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Major crash for Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano have a massive crash
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

During a Friday morning press conference at the track, McMurray said, "I think the Chase hasn’t had the drama that it normally does to this point, so if you’re a guy on the outside looking in trying to advance to the next round you’re hoping that it’s a fairly dramatic race and that something big happens with somebody up front that’s going to shake it up a little. It can happen for sure here.”

Not as intense as 2015?

At this point one year ago, there was already a physical confrontation (Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson) and the then-defending champion came to Dover in a must-win situation. So although the Round of 16 hasn't reached the same level of intensity this time around, it's still had dramatic moments. On the track, Chase Elliott came within arm's reach of his first ever Cup win in the Chase opener at Chicagoland. And in New Hampshire, Harvick stole the victory out from under the Toyota juggernaut on the final restart of the race. Off the track, there's been plenty of controversy swirling around post-race LIS and the penalties that follow (or don't follow in the case of Chicagoland).

And to be fair, this Chase is still in its infancy with the first round still yet to be complete and a long way to go.

For McMurray, this is a critical race for him and Chip Ganassi Racing. He comes into Dover in the drop zone (14th), five points back of the bubble where his CGR teammate Kyle Larson currently sits. Last year, he was eliminated here after an enthralling battle with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the final transfer spot.

“Normally the restarts at Loudon somebody always gets tangled up, and the fact that it’s one of the first Chase races there is usually some drama there. We just didn’t have that this year. Dover is one of those tracks that if there is an accident on the track it typically involves a lot of people that have to go to the garage, and it’s hard to repair your car. This is one of those places where we could have that and we could shake it up a little bit. But other that the first two races, I guess it’s just circumstantial and just wasn’t there yet.”

He's right about Dover. This one-mile highly banked concrete oval wasn't given the moniker of 'Monster Mile' for no reason. It's notorious for being unforgiving of all mistakes with massive, track-blocking accidents ensuing almost every year. And the chances of keeping your fenders clean when you get sideways or spin are slim to none.

Jimmie Johnson disagrees

However, fellow Chaser Jimmie Johnson took exception to the notion that there's been a lack of drama.

“I guess it just depends on your own environment. We had plenty of drama at Chicago. I was super-hyped to lead laps and thought we had a chance to win. I made a mistake on pit road. And then failed LIS following the race and then (penalty) points were given back. So my Chicago was about as exciting as any Chicago I’ve ever had, personally. Last weekend was plenty tense for me. We started the first half very competitive. We lost some track position; and then Loudon was very challenging for me to try to get back through. So, from where I was sitting, I had plenty of challenges and it felt like a typical pressure-packed start of the Chase."

He then added when asked further, "It’s so hard to make everybody happy. It actually frustrates me to hear that, that might be the response. It’s just tough to make everybody happy."

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