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11 Years in the Making, Jamie McMurray Set for Chase Debut

11 Years in the Making, Jamie McMurray Set for Chase Debut

by September 18, 2015 0 comments

CHICAGO — A Chase berth 11 years in the making, Jamie McMurray will get his first-ever crack at the Chase for the Sprint Cup after qualifying for this year’s running on his points performance.

Seeded 12th in the Chase standings ahead of Sunday’s MyAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, McMurray easily earned himself a Chase berth based off of the consistency he has maintained throughout the year.

Running in the top-10 in the standings throughout a majority of the season, the driver of the No. 1 McDonald’s/Cessna Chevrolet is proud of his team’s strength through the year and is proud of the fact that he would have made the Chase regardless of what format would have been used.

“It obviously has been a long time,” McMurray said. “I’m really proud of our team and what we’ve been able to do to make the Chase. I’m most proud that we would’ve made it in any format.

“It wasn’t necessarily that we’re the last guy that’d get in as we were top-10 in points all year long. That’s a huge accomplishment for us and our team.”

After Ryan Newman’s odds-defying performance in the Chase last year that took him all the way to the championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway, McMurray feels that he can become this year’s Chase cinderella story.

All he and his Chip Ganassi Racing team need to accomplish, McMurray says, is to simply continue the work that they have put in through the first 26 races of the season.

“I think our expectations, you want to see how far you can go – I think the No. 31 car was somewhat eye-opening last year where I don’t know if anyone would have selected them to be in the final round at Homestead – and they did,” McMurray stated. “They put together quite a race when they got to Homestead. For us, we’ve been top-10 in points all year, so I feel like if we can go out and do what we’ve been doing, that that’s a realistic goal.

“You hope that you’re able to get your cars better and have better races when it counts the most. I’m looking forward to seeing how the first three to four races play out.”

When talking about how he’s to approach the upcoming Challenger Round, McMurray states that advancing to the Contender Round is not necessarily all about earning a win to earn a berth into the next round, but more about avoiding having a bad race.

“When I look at somewhat of a strategy of how you head into this, the first round, you’d love to be able to win one of those races, but it’s also about not having a bad one,” McMurray said. “I think if you just have three solid races in that first round, you’ll make it through to the next round and then regroup and see who you’re racing and see what tracks you have and go from there.”

Of the three tracks that comprise this opening round, it’s Dover International Speedway that concerns him the most despite him having a seventh-place run there in the spring.

“Dover is the one that sticks out to me that has been really good or really bad,” he continued. “We ended up finishing seventh there in the spring, we didn’t run that great, but we got a good finish out of it. So, Dover is the one that kind of sticks out to me that could go either really well or really bad.”

But, as long as he and his crew keep up the work they’ve done all year, they’ll be sitting pretty for the Contender Round.

“But, also I think the most important thing is to just do what we’ve been doing,” he remarked. “For the most part, we’ve been able to finish better than we’ve raced, and that’s the reason why we’re in the position that we are.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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