NASCAR Sprint Cup: Where in the World Is Jamie McMurray?

Tyler WardAnalyst IMay 31, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 26:  Jamie McMurray drives the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's like playing Where's Waldo or looking at the back of a milk carton.

Who are we looking for?  Jamie McMurray, the driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.

He has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth this season and was hardly the driver he was last year.

In 2010, McMurray won three races, two of which were the biggest races of the season—the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

He is currently 26th in the standings with just two Top-10 finishes through 12 races.

Not to mention, McMurray is behind drivers that he should be ahead of—drivers like A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, David Ragan, Martin Truex Jr., David Reutimann, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

And he is just 13 points ahead of surprise Darlington winner Regan Smith.

No one knows if it's his driving or if it's the car. But one thing we do know is that McMurray isn't living up to expectations.

Luckily for him, there are 24 more races this season, giving him ample time to get things going and hopefully get his first (or more) win(s) this season.

He has been one of the most disappointing drivers this season, as many expected him to compete for a shot in the Chase for the Cup. But things just haven't gone right.

Last season was arguably the best of McMurray's career. He showed that he could be one of the best in NASCAR, especially on the superspeedway tracks (Daytona and Talladega).

He sealed his name in the record books as he won the biggest race of the year—the Daytona 500. He would then go to Talladega, narrowly missing out on the victory as Kevin Harvick passed him at the finish line.

During the next six races, he would place second two more times. Once at the Southern 500, at Darlington and another at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte.

He would struggle during the next six races before earning a fifth-place finish at Chicago.

The following race, the Sprint Cup, went to perhaps the fastest track in auto racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400.

McMurray would stun his competitors again, as he took the checkered flag to win his second race of the season.

Over the next seven races, McMurray would earn three Top-10 finishes, including two third-place finishes at Bristol and New Hampshire.

Four races later, he won his third race of the year as he took the checkered flag at the second Charlotte race of the season.

He would then struggle over the rest of the year, earning just one Top-10 finish.

With such a strong performance in 2010, many thought that McMurray would challenge drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and others for a spot in the chase.

Although he is far behind, he still has a very small chance at earning a spot. There are 14 more races until the chase starts, so the Bass Pro Shops team needs to shape up right now if they want in.

But for now, McMurray is considered missing. He'll be found once he starts posting strong finishes.

The Sprint Cup will go to Kansas next weekend, followed by Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma and Daytona.