By admin | September 9, 2010
By Richard Allen
Jamie McMurray is 128 points out of the 12th and final transfer spot for the Chase for the Championship. Short of some sort of miracle this weekend in Richmond, he will not be racing for a Sprint Cup title over the course of the seasonâ€™s final ten races.
So, what does the Joplin, Missouri driver have to race for?
Up to this point, the most successful season ever turned in by a non-Chaser since the inception of that system was most likely that of Kyle Busch last year when he compiled four victories over the course of the year. McMurray has a chance to add to what is about to become the most successful season ever turned in by a non-Chaser.
Although McMurray only has two wins thus far, the magnitude of those two wins overshadows Buschâ€™s four checkered flags in 2009. McMurray won both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 earlier this year, considered by many the two biggest races on the Sprint Cup schedule.
Granted, the last two Daytona 500 winners, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth, each failed to make the Chase in their Daytona winning years. However, neither of those drivers added a race win of the caliber of the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to their Daytona 500 triumph. So, McMurrayâ€™s 2010 campaign trumps each of their season long efforts.
McMurray could be racing his way into the NASCAR history books whether he is in the Chase or not. To combine such great wins as the ones he has already scored makes for an outstanding season, Chase or not. Should he add a victory in a place such as Charlotte or Talladega his season would make an emphatic statement about the importance of race wins vs. simply making the Chase.
A championship title is the ultimate goal of every racer and to be eliminated from any chance of winning it has to be a disappointment. And certainly, had McMurray not had a number of poor finishes along with his wins, he would be racing for a title. However, given the choice, it is highly unlikely that he would trade seasons with any of the five drivers inside the top-12 of the standings who do not have a win without the guarantee of a championship.
So, what is Jamie McMurray racing for over the next eleven weeks? He is racing for a unique place in history, and one that many racers would be envious of.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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