EGR announces deal with Jamie McMurray for 2010

Jim BobCorrespondent INovember 18, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 14:  Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Irwin Ford, waits in the garage before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 14, 2009 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

After being rumored to have signed a deal last week, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing officials made the announcement on Wednesday evening that they signed Jamie McMurray to drive the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet for the team next season in the Sprint Cup Series.

The newest driver to the EGR stable, McMurray is reunited with Chip Ganassi, a part-owner of the team, after he left what was formerly Chip Ganassi Racing for Roush Fenway Racing following the 2005 Sprint Cup Series season.

"I am really excited about this opportunity with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as I think Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin (Truex Jr.) have shown this season, their equipment is as good as anyone's in the garage," McMurray said.  "I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of their cars and once again competing for a NASCAR championship."

Bass Pro Shops will sponsor the ride, along with Tracker Boats after agreeing to return for their fifth season with the No. 1 ride.

"We are proud to be able to continue our long relationship with Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi and we are also excited that a fine young feller from our home state, Jamie McMurray, will be our driver," Bass Pro Shops's Johnny Morris said.

The three seasons that McMurray spent at Chip Ganassi Racing, a team that merged into the current EGR team prior to the start of this season, were his best as far as statistics go.  From his first races in 2002 to his three full time seasons with the team in 2003 through 2005, McMurray posted 18 top-five and 46 top-ten finishes in the Sprint Cup Series.  He also finished 13th, 11th and 12th in the Sprint Cup Series driver points standings throughout that time period.

"To be able to sign a veteran driver with the talent and experience of Jamie was important to us," Ganassi said.  "We know Jamie and understand what makes him tick as a driver.  We had a lot of success with Jamie in the early part of his career and are looking for more of the same.  We also think he will be a tremendous compliment to Juan Pablo Montoya as well.  The duo of McMurray and Montoya creates a very formidable team as we look to continue the momentum that has been established this year in our chase for the championship."

McMurray became the odd-man out at Roush Fenway Racing, in which he drove the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford.  RFR, under NASCAR's new maximum-team rule, had to remove a team from their stable.  With all other drivers signed to commitments, McMurray was the driver they had to let go at the end of the season.

In 2003, McMurray was awarded the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award after he scored five top-five and 13 top-ten finishes to complete the season 13th in the Sprint Cup Series driver points standings.

His first victory came in 2002, a season in which he competed in six Sprint Cup Series races, at the October race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  The Joplin, Mo. native would go winless until 2007 when he captured the checker's at the July event in Daytona.

McMurray's most recent of three Sprint Cup Series victories came this year at Talladega in October.  With seven wins in the Nationwide Series, McMurray boasts a combined total of 10 wins in a decade of competing in NASCAR's three national touring series.