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NSCS: Jamie McMurray Nearly Punched Chase Ticket Saturday

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BRISTOL, TENN. – No matter who your loyalties reside with, you have to feel bad for Jamie McMurray, who led a race-high 148 laps (most laps led of any race in his career) en route to an eighth place finish. McMurray looked like a great bet to notch his first win of the season as he was the leader of the race with just 70 circuits remaining.

McMurray had found a way to make the bottom groove of the Bristol Motor Speedway work, something that everyone else basically gave up on when the green flag waved to start Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race. With 68 laps to go though, the final caution flag of the evening waved for debris. McMurray would pit, but due to varying strategies throughout the field McMurray would line up in third place on that final restart.

McMurray would get shuffled back to the back-half of the top-10 rather quickly, and he wouldn’t be able to recover. According to McMurray his crew wasn’t really to fault for the finish, but it was the ever-changing track surface that ended his shot at victory.

“I don’t know what happened,” McMurray said following the race. “Our car got really tight with about 100 laps to go. We freed it up on the last pit stop and it didn’t really help. I thought tonight would be a good night to be able to win. As we were running around there, I thought we had a legitimate chance if we did everything right. It’s not like we did anything wrong, it’s just that as the track rubbered-up more and more. It just didn’t suit our car as much as it did for the other guys. In the middle of the race when I was lapping all these guys, I couldn’t figure out why they were slowing down so much. And then I was kind of in the same situation.”

Even though he came up short in punching his first-career ticket into the Chase Saturday night, McMurray — who has had a knack for coming up big in NASCAR’s most prestigious races — impressed many. If you add the total amount of laps that McMurray led in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 season, you get a total of 235. After Saturday’s dominating performance, McMurray now has a total of 216 laps led this year alone.

McMurray has two more chances to win his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Atlanta is the next stop, and then another short track in Richmond, Virginia.

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About Toby Christie

Toby Christie is the Senior Writer for Rubbings Racing. He has been watching NASCAR since 1993, and has covered the sport as a media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the NMPA. Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, subpar guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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