At Season's End, McMurray May Be Looking For a New Ride

Mark RudiCorrespondent IJune 18, 2009

BROOKLYN, MI - JUNE 12: Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford sits in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12, 2009 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

At the end of the season Roush Fenway Racing will have to phase out a team to comply with NASCAR's four-car team rule. That driver may be Jamie McMurray.

After NASCAR implanted the rule in 2005 after Roush put five cars in the Chase of the Nextel Cup, he was allowed to keep five teams because of sponsorship and driver contracts. However, at the end of the season, some of the contracts are up and one team will not compete in 2010.

Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, and Carl Edwards' teams will not dissolved. Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, signed a multi-year extension with Roush at the end of last season. Biffle is signed through 2011 after siging a three-year extension last season and Edwards is signed through 2011.

So it comes down to David Ragan or McMurray, whose contracts expire at the end of the season.

McMurray, in my mind, has not met expectations with Roush. Since joining the team in 2006, he's finished 25th, 17th, and 16th in the season standings with only one win in those three seasons (2007 Pepsi 400 at Daytona by barely beating Kyle Busch at the line).

He currently sits in 19th in the Sprint Cup Series standings and only has three top 10 finishes, not good enough for Roush. McMurray has been one of the top teams in NASCAR for four seasons now and has done nothing. One win in four seasons isn’t good enough and don't forget this is the team that won the 2004 championship with Kurt Busch.

On the other hand, Ragan is a young and is developing well as a driver. The other drivers were complaining about his driving in his Sprint Cup debut at Dover in 2006 and now he's running among the big boys.

Ragan will most likely stay because he's only in his third season and a victory for the No. 6 UPS team is right around the corner. Ragan also has been with Roush since he won a ride with Roush in Discovery Channel's Roush Racing: Drive X in 2005.  However, you could pose a arguement against Ragan as he's 28th in points with only one top 10 this season, which was in the Daytona 500.

You have to remember that Ragan almost made the Chase for the Championship last season as he finished 13th in the standings after floating around 13th-14th for much of the year. McMurray has never been a Chase contender since joining Roush Fenway.

Even though Crown Royal is signed through 2011, UPS came on board the No. 6 car this season and Roush would not be likely to drop that team.

Ragan has proven he can compete in NASCAR’s top series, while McMurray has failed Roush season-after-season and he’s had his chance to prove his case. Look for the No. 26 car to be gone after the season finale at Homestead.

Right now, it's all speculation and Roush is keeping quiet about his plans for 2010. Who knows, maybe McMurray stays with Roush or even goes to Robert Yates Racing, who receives support from Roush. But at this point, it seems like McMurray is the odd man out.