Anytime the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits the restrictor plate tracks of Talladega and Daytona, Jamie McMurray is always a threat and in Sunday’s GEICO 500, McMurray was once again a threat, but came up just short with a runner-up finish. Even though he didn’t get the win, McMurray’s second place run at Talladega marks his best finish of the season.
Starting the day in 23rd, McMurray had his work cut out for him when the green flag flew, but as he has always done on the restrictor plate races, McMurray methodically worked his way up toward the front of the field, though some might say he was a little aggressive in doing so at times.
Though he was unable to crack the top-10 by the end of the first stage, McMurray was able to find his way to 10th when the second stage ended, gaining some valuable bonus points as a result.
When the final stage began, McMurray was right in his wheelhouse, keeping his nose clean as the laps wound down and putting himself in prime position to make a charge when it mattered the most at the end of the race.
Restarting in the top-five when the race went into overtime, McMurray powered his way into second with a daring three-wide move down the backstretch, falling in behind eventual winner Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., but just didn’t have enough to get to the lead and brought home a runner-up finish, his second top-five finish at Talladega in the last three races at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
The finish also marks his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
“I was super happy with our McDonald’s Chevrolet,” McMurray said. “This has been a really good track for me and I haven’t been able to finish here the last couple of years, so really happy with that. We had good pit stops. Matt (McCall, crew chief) did a great job calling the race. The guys are building really good cars. You know, it’s interesting because in year’s past I feel like this is always a track that you thought you could win at and gain great points. And we have run so well at so many tracks this year, this was a track that I just wanted to survive at so we could get to another track and race.”