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To think, Roush kept Ragan and let McMurray go

By admin | May 12, 2010


By Richard Allen

To begin, this piece is not meant to pick on David Ragan. Instead, it is meant to point out that Jamie McMurray has performed considerably better than his former Roush Fenway Racing teammate, especially since being let go by his former employers.

Ultimately, racing is a business and many decisions are made based on what’s best for business rather than what’s best for the competition level. This was almost certainly the case when RFR decided to release McMurray at the end of the 2009 season and keep Ragan.

RFR was made to reduce its number of teams from five to four by NASCAR mandate. With that being known well ahead of the 2009 deadline, drivers Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle were locked into contracts which ran beyond that date. So, it would be either Ragan or McMurray who would be shown the door at the end of the season.

Since that time, McMurray has seemed like a new driver. After the announcement that he would leave RFR he won in Talladega for that organization.

For 2010 he landed in a familiar place, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. He had first entered Sprint Cup in a car owned by Chip Ganassi. His current deal only runs through 2010 and sponsor Bass Pro Shops took quite a bit of convincing to agree to let him drive the #1 Chevrolet for even one season.

Allowing McMurray to drive has paid off immensely so far, and that pay off began immediately. The team won the season opening Daytona 500. Aside from that success, the they have scored two 2nd place results in the last three races. McMurray has also started from the pole twice this season.

However, there have been some poor finishes mixed and there was also one embarrassing mishap in which McMurray and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya crashed with each other.

Even with the negative, McMurray’s record in 2010 glistens compared to that of Ragan. A 6th place finish in Talladega is the only time the #6 car has placed higher than 14th. That is not very impressive for the car considered to be the flagship of the organization.

As was said earlier, however, there was more to be considered than just driving results when deciding which driver to hold on to. Ragan was driving a car with UPS sponsorship secured while McMurray’s sponsor on the #26 ride was being moved to Kenseth’s #17 to replace DeWalt Tools.

And more, McMurray admits that he never felt as though he fit in at RFR, so had he stayed there it is possible his results would be no better than those of Ragan.

But still, one has to wonder if when the doors are closed in the offices of Roush Fenway Racing if the higher-ups there are not kicking themselves for keeping David Ragan and letting Jamie McMurray go.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and the Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “To think, Roush kept Ragan and let McMurray go”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    May 13th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Tickles me to death to see the UPS car in the back half of the field while David Reutimann at least runs up front most of the time, UPS could have kept him.

  2. Charles Says:
    May 13th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Richard I dont mean to keep harping on this!

    But by Jamie McMurry doing well “in a Chevy” proves what I have been saying about the advantage Chevy has in Nascar!!!

    Hey let David Ragan go to a Chevy and see him impove as well, Martin Martin did and so on!!!!!!

    The recent surge for Toyota will probably be short lived, they will get some wins, but when its “crunch time” you will see the Chevys go to the front, if its like past history!

    Been high time for Nascar to ‘EVEN IT UP”!!!!!!!

  3. RMann5 Says:
    May 13th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    They should have given the 6 to biff and put Mcmurray in the 16 The heads at Roush are asleep

  4. tford Says:
    May 13th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    UPS didn’t want anything more to do with a Waltrip. Now that Reutimann is running better maybe he should look elsewhere for a ride. Reuti has had alot of bad luck over the last few years.

  5. racer 99 Says:
    May 13th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    RFR is in real trouble car are slow drivers are looking else were to get rides way to go cat in the hat and ribbie riser for keeping the dead wood at the shop