Jamie McMurray Is a Daytona 500 Champion

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14:  Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Green White Checkers 2 laps to go.  Jamie McMurray running second to the outside of leader Kevin Harvick. 

McMurray gets a big push from former teammate Greg Biffle that puts McMurray in the lead for the first time that night and became a record breaking 21st different race leader.

Last lap Biffle pulls out, but on the backstretch Clint Bowyer a fellow mid western push McMurray on the outside, McMurray held off a hard charging Dale Earnhardt Jr to win the Daytona 500.

McMurray perhaps celebrated like no other kissing the Dayytona 500 logo on the grass and you see how happy he was when he was doing his burnouts and fist pumping as he got out of the car.

And when he pulled into Gatorade victory lane he was not short on emotions.

 "Where I was last year," squeezed out by Roush Fenway Racing to cut its teams to the new NASCAR limit of four cars.  McMurray said.  "Chip [Ganassi] and Felix [Sabates] … to take a chance on me and let me come back, it means a lot to me."

McMurray cried even more when discussing on how his father left early and was there to celebrate a once and a life time opportunity to be his his son and celebrating the Daytona 500.  

"Unbelievable. Unbelievable," McMurray said in Victory Lane, tearing up as he tried to gather himself. "I told my wife today, she was like 'If you win tonight ...' oh, I am going to cry ... it is so unreal.

"I thought if I made it without seeing my dad or my wife, I'd be OK. It is unbelievable really. I can't explain it. It is a dream. I mean it really it is. 

 McMurray has always been one of NASCAR's best plate drivers.  He now has won the Daytona 500 clearly, won the the 2007 Coke Zero 400 by inch in front of Kyle Busch, and won the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega last fall.

But after getting the boot from Roush racing because of the new four car rule, not many were sure if McMurray would live up to the potential he had shown in his career.

Not many were sure if he and Ganassi would be success again or if even Bass Pro Shop would stay with the 1 team after 2010.

Perhaps all those answers have been answered in a positive way.

McMurray similar to winning with Ganassi in only his 2nd career cup start, McMurray has won with the team in his first points race back with Ganassi.  And for the first time 2002 a Ganassi car leads the points.  And for the first time in his career McMurray leads the points.

McMurray right now is showing all the signs of a killer season and my guess is that he will win many more races and contend for the championship when it is said and done.

McMurray has always been a very special talented racecar driver.  A driver that in the right position could take advantage of it and do great things. 

Some drivers/teams work better with each other than most.  It is almost certain that the combo of McMurray and Ganassi are a potent group.

Next week may be Auto Club a track McMurray has done well at and McMurray will look to extend his lead there.

But right now he is only thinking about how he has fulfilled a childhood dream.

"I'm trying to be genuine and as sincere as I can and not sound cliche," McMurray said. "As a kid growing up, this is what you dream of, of being able to win the Daytona 500."