On Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Jamie McMurray did everything that he could to try and advance to the next round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, it wouldn’t be enough as he would fall just one spot short of advancing.
McMurray would cross the finish line in the fourth spot, tying him and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the 12th spot in the standings. With the tie-breaker going to the driver with the highest finish in this round of the Chase, Earnhardt would get the spot by virtue of finishing third.
“I’m thrilled with our performance today,” McMurray said. “It’s frustrating that we weren’t able to make it to the next round, but it was a good day for the Nature Made car. We just needed one more point.”
McMurray looked to be in a spot to move forward in the Chase as he ran up front all day and coming off of pit road with 47 laps to go, he lined up right beside Earnhardt. He was then able to get the jump on the restart, getting ahead of Earnhardt and looked to be set to stay there with a growing gap.
However, everything would change when the caution flew with 29 laps to go for Landon Cassill’s engine blowing up. On the ensuing restart, Earnhardt then made a move on the high-side, getting by both Logano and McMurray to move up to third. The pair would then run third and fourth the rest of the way to the checkered flag.
“Well, it was a great move that Dale Jr. made on the outside,” McMurray commented post-race. “I was waving at Matt (Kenseth), hoping that he would let me in, and I really didn’t feel like the outside was the place to be and he just did a really good job and got a great run on me. I thought we were better than him the run before. I thought I would be able to get back by him. We were driving so hard those last few laps and it’s just hard to make up any ground. And it seemed like our car was maybe better on stickers. He was a little bit better on the scuffs.”
While it’s disappointing to miss the Chase, McMurray isn’t letting himself get down, stating that he was proud of his team as they hadn’t run this well thus far this season. Sunday’s race marked the third top-five of the season for McMurray, and his first since May when he finished fourth at Richmond.
“Running fourth today is really good for the overall points. And right now you focus on trying to finish fifth in points,” he said. “If we would have a car like this every week, we realistically can get there and that would be a great year for us.”