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MENCS: Costly Move Puts Jamie McMurray in Must Win Situation at Kansas

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Jamie McMurray made a costly move Sunday afternoon in the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway as the driver of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing entry tried to move from the second racing groove all the way to the apron to pit during green flag stops.

That decision wouldn’t have been such a bad one except that a pair of cars – Kyle Busch and Erik Jones –  were occupying that first groove. Both drivers checked-up on the race track, but it was ones that got into the back of McMurray, sending him right into the path of Jeffrey Earnhardt’s No. 33.

“We wanted to pit a couple of laps earlier, and you’re somewhat dependent on the spotters to tell you when you’re going to pit,” noted McMurray after the accident. “You assume everyone is working as a group. It was my fault. I assumed that they said the 18 was going to let me in, so I thought we were all going to pit.”

Some can say that McMurray should have been lower on the track to try to pit and not from the second racing groove of the track. However, it might have been a mis-hap between driver and spotter.

“I didn’t even know where the 77 was,” he added. “When I got on the brakes, I thought we were all coming to pit road as a group. I’ll take the blame for that. I just kind of assumed we were coming to pit road right there. Obviously not everyone was.”

Now, McMurray is the last driver in the Round of 12 and faces a must win situation next weekend at Kansas Speedway, a track that McMurray isn’t strong at.

When asked if this hurts his playoff hopes, McMurray responded ““There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s part of Talladega. We know you can come out of here with a lot of points and be a winner or you can be in the position we are right now. We’ll go to Kansas and do our best. I’m sure I won’t be the only Playoff driver disappointed today.”

In 21 starts at the track, McMurray has only 4 top-ten finishes with a best finish of seventh, twice. The first coming in 2004 and the most recent one in 2013. Despite scoring an 8th place finish there earlier this season, he finished a disappointing 37th in this race a year ago. He has an average starting position of 19.3 with an average finish of 20.4.

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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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