Jamie McMurray celebrates after winning at Charlotte
How is it that Jamie McMurray can win three of NASCAR's biggest races in a season, yet not be eligible to win the Sprint Cup? There has to be something wrong with a system that has ten out of the 12 drivers in the Chase with the same or fewer wins than McMurray, yet Jamie Mac is on the outside looking in. Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards are in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with no wins on the season. All McMurray has done is win the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, and the Chase race at Charlotte for Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Oh, and he finished second at Talladega and second at Charlotte in the Memorial Day race, almost giving Ganassi and unprecedented sweep of America's biggest auto races- on the same day!
The Bank of America 500 at Charlotte provided good close racing, including a great duel for second place between Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. The two Chasers raced each other cleanly after a late restart. Kyle Busch was quite magnanimous in defeat, apologizing to his team and taking personal responsibility for being unable to catch McMurray's Bass Pro Shops Chevy, despite leading over 200 laps. Jamie McMurray used his Victory Lane moment to speak of "the power of prayer", expressing his faith in God and his gratitude quite eloquently. McMurray also mentioned the seriously injured Shane Hmiel, whose father Steve is a key member of the EGR team. Another touching moment came when his father embraced him in the winner's circle, the senior McMurray having left too early to see his son win the Daytona 500 in February.
Friday's race was the last of the season for the new Nationwide Series cars, and Brad Keselowski showed again that his Penske Racing team has the best handle on both the old Dodge Charger and the gorgeous new Challenger. For a time, it looked as if Kyle Busch's team had figured out the new Toyota Camry, which would be extremely bad news for the competition. Keselowski's team gambled on a no-tire strategy, staying out on late cautions and outrunning Martin Truex, Jr. and Keselowski's teammate A.J. Allgaier, as well as Busch. The best news of all may be that there are only four more races for the "old" Nationwide cars, and next year the better-looking, better-racing Mustangs, Challengers, Impalas, and Camrys will be the only Nationwide cars. One can only hope that NASCAR makes the decision to move swiftly to approve the new designs for Sprint Cup racing.