By admin | January 16, 2009
By Richard Allen
Over the next few days and weeks I will be presenting a review of 2008 and a preview of 2009 for each of the drivers and teams who appear to be set for a full time run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For the most part these pieces will run in order by car number. If you should miss out on your favorite driver simply type his name into the search box at the upper right hand portion of the website.
#26- Jamie McMurray
Jamie McMurray is about to enter his fourth season driving for Roush Fenway Racing. It has been a partnership that has shown promise at times but has never lived up to expectations.
In 2008, McMurray raced his way to four Top 5s and 11 Top 10s. In the latter third of the season this team seemed to find something. They ended the year three straight 3rd place results and Top 10s in five of the last six races.
That would seem to have provided the #26 crew with the momentum they needed going into the 2009 campaign. With testing eliminated on NASCAR sanctioned tracks, teams running well at the end of last season would seem to be set for the upcoming year.
However, McMurray and his crew have been given a bit of a hurdle to jump over. 2008 crew chief Larry Carter has been replaced by Donnie Wingo on top of the pit box for this RFR team.
Wingo and McMurray have worked together in the past at Chip Ganassi Racing so there is a degree of familiarity going into the new union.
McMurray was running well at the end of last season, somewhat unnoticed in the blitz being put on by Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards. Even though there was a change at the top of the crew, the momentum he built up in 2008 will carry over into this season.
McMurray is in the last year of his contract with RFR and should be motivated to have a good season. The loss of the crew chief will not hurt so badly since the new crew chief is one already known by the driver.
Jamie McMurray may well be the sleeper pick of the 2009 season. I’m not picking him to win a championship but I am picking him to win at least one race(listen to my pod cast “Who will win and who will lose in 2009″ by clicking at the left) and to be more competitive than many would give him a chance to be.
Driver: Jamie McMurray
Owner: Roush Fenway Racing
Sponsor: Crown Royal & Irwin Tools
Crew Chief: Donnie Wingo
Scanner Frequencies(?): 465.9750 & 460.7250
Chances of making the Chase for the Championship: Better than most people might think
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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