McMurray Scores Second-Place Finish in 2011 Budweiser Shootout
1. Kurt Busch, No. 22 Dodge
2. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet
3. Ryan Newman, No. 39 Chevrolet
20. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet
Daytona Beach, FL. (February 13, 2011) – Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates kicked off the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season strong with Jamie McMurray’s second-place finish in the 2011 edition of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. McMurray’s finish gives Earnhardt Ganassi Racing its fifth top-three finish in the last six restrictor-plate races and only helps to build momentum for the start of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for the defending Daytona 500 champions.
McMurray, who returned to the seat of the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing No.1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet drew the 14th starting position and overcame early problems in his sixth Shootout appearance. Battling mechanical issues in the early going of the first 25-lap segment, McMurray and the Kevin ‘Bono’ Manion crew set their sights on the final 50-lap portion of the race. The No.1 team used the ten-minute break after lap 25 to resolve the problems and make adjustments to the No.1 Bass Pro Shop/ Tracker Boats Chevrolet. Following the break, McMurray restarted 17th in the field and immediately evaded a multi-car incident that collected his teammate and drafting partner Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.42 Target Chevrolet. In a race that was reliant upon the two-car draft and without his drafting partner, this restart proved crucial to McMurray and the No. 1 team as he and eventual race winner Kurt Busch would link-up and continue to work together for the remainder of the event. Jockeying for the race lead and trying to hold a position in a race that broke the record for lead changes, McMurray realized that he and Busch needed to wait till the final stages to make a move. It was here that McMurray worked with Busch, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman to fall-in-line causing a four-car breakaway from the rest of the field. Hoping to make a move on the back-stretch on the final lap of the 75-lap event McMurray and Busch couldn’t conjure a run sufficient enough to overtake Newman and Hamlin until the group exited the final corner coming down to the finish. McMurray pushing Busch went to the high-side as Hamlin went to the low-side, splitting Newman as all four cars made their way to the finish-line looking for the win. McMurray crossed the line behind Busch to finish in the second position, with Hamlin receiving a penalty for advancing his position below the yellow line scoring him the last car on the lead lap. The finish marked McMurray’s second career bridesmaid finish in the Shootout and his third consecutive top-three finish in the event.
NASCAR’s premier race, the Daytona 500, will take place next Sunday, Feb. 20th at 1:00 pm (ET). The field of 43 cars will battle on the high banks at Daytona, gunning for the coveted Harley J. Earl trophy. The race will air live on FOX and broadcast live on MRN.