McMurray hoping 2nd-place finish starts turnaround

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm •  Published: July 3, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — When Jamie McMurray took a break from testing at Indianapolis and walked over with a smile, it seemed fitting.

The 37-year-old driver knows this could be the track where he finally turns things around.

After winning just once in 105 races, finishing in the top five only three times and winning just two poles in the last 2½ seasons, he figures it's about time something goes right.

"Our year has been really good, we've just not been able to finish," McMurray said after testing Monday on Indy's 2.5-mile oval. "Speed-wise we've been good all year."

Three years ago, McMurray reached Victory Lane three times, earned $7.6 million, took four poles, finished in the top-five nine times and the top 10 12 times . All were career highs.

But that was only part of McMurray's incredible 2010 story. He joined Dale Earnhardt in 1996 and Jimmie Johnson in 2006 as the only Cup drivers to pull off the double of winning the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same year, and it gave team owner Chip Ganassi a previously unprecedented triple crown with wins at Daytona, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard in the same year.

Since then, McMurray has seemed jinxed.

Whether it was the blown tire at Michigan, the punctured radiator at Dover, the broken radiator at Charlotte or getting caught up in a crash at Daytona, something has always gone awry.

The result: McMurray heads to Daytona this weekend hoping to end a 94-race winless skid that dates to a 2010 win in Charlotte.

There are signs the slump is fading.

Two weeks ago at Sonoma, McMurray earned his first pole in more than two years. Last weekend, he finally caught a break late in the race at Kentucky, sneaking past Johnson after Johnson spun, and then pulling away from Clint Bowyer to hold on to second place. It was only his third top-five finish in 2½ seasons and his best since that Oct. 16, 2010, win in Charlotte.

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