It took a bold move two laps into the final 10-lap segment for Jamie McMurray to seal the deal and rocket away from the rest of field to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race, a made-for-television spectacular held at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
And it was a flawless performance by McMurray’s Chip Ganassi Racing pit crew (and a bad one by Kevin Harvick’s) during the final stop on pit road that put McMurray out in second place behind Carl Edwards for the final green flag restart. Passing Edwards looked like child's play for race winner McMurray.
“Really, as a kid, that’s what you grew up wanting to do, is to have a shootout like that and have a possibility to just race for 10 laps," said McMurray in the post race press conference. "Carl got a little jump on me on the restart and I was able to hang on to his quarter panel. And I was like heck with it, it’s for a million bucks. If we wreck, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s still cool to come out on top of that."
Harvick finished second, Matt Kenseth was third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth and Edwards ended up fifth.
The race was a typical All-Star free-for-all with several drivers hitting the wall after losing a battle against another driver or with their own ill-handling ride.
The All-Star victory by McMurray was a much-needed pick-me-up for team owner Ganassi, whose IndyCar teams had put on a disappointing performance during the first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. It was also the first All-Star race victory for Ganassi, whose driver combination this season is proving to be the best in his 25-year history in NASCAR, with the veteran McMurray running a bit under the radar this season.
Kelly Crandall with Popular Speed believes that the victory also added depth to the McMurray and Ganassi relationship.
The often overlooked McMurray has now won the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and All-Star race, adding another marquee win to the resume of this future NASCAR Hall of Famer.
All quotes in this slideshow are taken from official team and manufacturer media releases unless otherwise stated.