The beginning of the 2015 season has been rough for Jamie McMurray. Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates guaranteed that both cars would make the Chase for the Sprint Cup prior to the season. Though the season is still young, the two teams needed solid finishes at Phoenix.
The No. 1 team came into the fourth race of the season averaging a 26th - place finish with a best result of 11th at Las Vegas. The end result isn’t due to the lack of performance. It had to do with bad luck.
At Daytona, anything can happen and McMurray is a former Daytona 500 champion but in the 2015 running he got involved in a couple of wrecks and finished 27th. The next week at Atlanta, the No. 1 car got caught up in a late-race accident and finished 40th.
Then on Sunday, McMurray started third, which tied his best starting position of the season. Throughout the day the team never ran outside of the top 10.
On a late race accident when Tony Stewart got into the wall, McMurray was running in the fifth position. This led to a mix of pit strategies as cars in front of him such as- Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon heading to pit road, and it moved McMurray up to the inside of eventual race winner Kevin Harvick on the restart.
The No. 1 tried to keep up with the No. 4 but came up just short, and finished in the runner-up position.
“I’m really happy with second, but it would have been nice to be in victory lane,” McMurray said in his post-race press conference. “It was really hard to stay out on those old tires, and with those two restarts at the end it was hard to get any grip. I wish we could have locked our position into the Chase.”
Heading into Sunday’s race at Phoenix, McMurray had a career average finish of 20.0 at the 1.0-mile flat track. He needed a better finish than 20th to give him momentum in the 2015 season, and he did just that.
It was a solid day for McMurray and he moved from 25th to 19th in points and just four points out of a Chase spot heading into next weekends race at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California.