Jamie ‘Mac’ — A Childhood Dream Come True
Written by Chase Casteel   

CapT8yearoldJamieandTrophyhe morning of February 14, 2010, Jamie McMurray woke up and knelt down beside his sofa for a talk with God.  The Daytona 500 was mere hours away, the Super Bowl of NASCAR.  “I’m a huge believer in prayer,” said McMurray.  “I woke up and I got beside my couch, and I was like safety first, and I just want a top 10.”

The 33-year-old McMurray told reporters, “It’s been my dream since I was eight-years-old racing a go-kart in Joplin, MO to win the Daytona 500.”

Jamie McMurray had been the odd man out with the Roush Fenway Racing team after they were forced to cut back from a 5-car team to four.  “Sometimes in this sport, you can feel pretty small,” said McMurray.  “It was tough.  I grew to know everyone at Roush, but it’s somewhat of a cold environment.

Everybody wants to win, and you’re wondering if everyone is being honest with you.
“You certainly enjoy the highs, while you suffer through the lows.  This is a tough crowd.  You can win one weekend, then struggle for three and it’s like the world is going to come to the end.  But you keep getting up, you keep climbing, you keep striving, you never give up.  Even when things seem at their lowest point, you just have to have faith in your abilities.”

After Roush pitted McMurray from the team, he joined Earnhardt-Gannassi Racing, driving the  No.1 Bass Pro Shop stockcar.  Daytona was McMurray’s first race back with Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, who first gave him his Sprint shot in 2002.  However, McMurray left the team for a high-profile job with Roush Fenway Racing, where he spent four frustrating seasons before Roush dropped him at the end of last season.

Before the Daytona 500, McMurray told reporters, “I just want to start off good with this new team.”  Up to that point, 19th was the best he’d ever finished in the Daytona 500.

 “When we crossed the white flag, I was a wreck,” said McMurray after the race.  He’d seen Dale Earnhardt, Jr. bearing down on his rear bumper, a 12-time Daytona winner, as McMurray sailed in the lead.  “I looked in my mirror and saw the 88,” said McMurray.  “I’ll be honest, I was like, ‘This guy has won a lot of races here.  His family has an incredible history here.  I hope this isn’t his turn to win the Daytona 500, I hope this is mine.’”

JamieKneeling“God answered my prayers,” declared McMurray after taking the checkered flag to become the 52nd Daytona 500 winner in NASCAR.

An emotional McMurray climbed out of his car and hit the ground face down, crying tears of joy.  “He’s sayin’ his prayers right there boys,” commented Darryl Waltrip.

A tearful McMurray had just met with an awesome pivot point in his career and his life.  “It’s over — I just fulfilled a dream,” he said later of his thoughts in those first moments after the win.

JamiewavingwinningflagEarnhardt Jr. stated, “I’m happy for him.  He deserves it.  They’ve been through a lot.  It’s a great team.”

“It’s unreal,” McMurray said.  “You know, to be where I was last year and for Johnny Morris (founder of Bass Pro Shops) and Chip and Felix…  What a way to pay them back.  It’s just very emotional.”

“I’m not quitting again,” he told Ganassi just hours after the 500 victory.  “Just so you guys know, I’m staying.”  PivotPointEndingBug


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