McMurray shows muscle at Bristol
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Jamie McMurray turns laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After leading three times for 148 laps, Jamie McMurray finished eighth in Saturday night’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
McMurray’s 148 laps led was a race high and career best for the 13-year veteran.
Electing to pit and take four tires under what would be the final caution period, McMurray restarted fifth on lap 448.
“Our car got really tight with about 100 laps to go,” McMurray said post-race to ESPN. “We freed it up on the last pit stop, and it didn’t really help. Really proud of everyone on our McDonald’s Chevrolet.
“McDonald’s has been in the sport for so long, and they’ve only won a few races, and I really thought tonight was going to be our night to put them back in victory lane.”
The eighth place showing is McMurray’s seventh top-ten finish of 2014, and second in the last four races. And with 216 laps led this season, McMurray has now led more laps than 2012 and 2013 combined.
McMurray has now picked up six positions in the point standings over the last seven races, including a three spot gain after Bristol.
McMurray has not won a race in 2014, and sits 16th in points with two races before the Chase grid is set. With a 60 point deficit to make up in two races, McMurray’s best shot to make the playoffs is arguably winning at Atlanta or Richmond.
McMurray’s best finish at Atlanta in 20 starts is sixth (2005) and in 23 starts at Richmond, McMurray’s best finish is a fourth place effort, posted in last fall’s Richmond race. McMurray has never qualified for the Chase.
When asked about if Bristol was his best chance to make the Chase between the last three races, McMurray told ESPN he felt he and his team had a good shot at winning Saturday night.
“It was a good night; keep digging,” he said.