Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jamie McMurray's two big wins no guarantee for Chase for the Championship

Jamie McMurray celebrates his victory in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Even with two major wins, at Indy and in the Daytona 500, McMurray is 151 points out of 12th place, the Chase for the Championship cutoff.

Associated Press

Jamie McMurray celebrates his victory in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Even with two major wins, at Indy and in the Daytona 500, McMurray is 151 points out of 12th place, the Chase for the Championship cutoff.

With six races left before the field is set for NASCAR's Chase for the Championship, it has come down to simple math for Jamie McMurray and his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team.

"It's just going to be five top-fives," said McMurray's crew chief, Kevin "Bono" Manion, after his driver's victory in last week's Brickyard 400. "We picked up another 30 points. Thirty times five is 150. We're 151 out. It's going to take some good, strong runs. That's all I got to say."

Manion's math leaves McMurray one point short going into the final race of the Sprint Cup regular season, Sept. 11 at Richmond, Va. If McMurray can pick up 30 points a week beginning with Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, he'll have a solid shot at his first Chase.

But McMurray, 34, must get more consistent in a hurry. He has two mega-wins — the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 — and three second-place finishes. But he also has six finishes 30th or worse.

And more than points separate him from the top 12. He stands 16th, meaning he must jump over four pretty stout drivers.

There is time, but he must do more of what he did at Speedweeks and Indy and less of what he did at Pocono in June and Daytona in July — he was 39th and 36th, respectively, in those races.

And Pocono has not been good for McMurray. He has started 15 races at the flat, 2.5-mile triangle and has no top fives and three laps led. His average finish is 21.7.

The four drivers between McMurray and the Chase — 12th-place Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman — have better average finishes and a significant number of laps led at Pocono.

McMurray has a different kind of way to look at his numbers, this week and overall — he doesn't look at them.

"Well, I view the Chase differently, I think," he said after Indy. "Every time I pay attention to points, we run 30th. I don't even really care where we're at in points. I think you show up every week, do your job. If you make the Chase, that's wonderful."

And he's confident in his No. 1 car this weekend.

"We've had really fast race cars this year, (Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines) has given us some great Chevrolet horsepower and (teammate) Juan (Montoya) had a good finish (second) at Pocono last season," McMurray said. "So, I'm really looking forward to seeing what we'll be able to accomplish this weekend."

Unless he accomplishes plenty, the winner of the season's two most famed races will miss the Chase. Oh, well, McMurray said.

"Getting to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 means more to me this year than making the Chase," he said. "This year or in 10 years, the guy that won that race one time everybody will talk about. The guy that finished third in the points, nobody cares. I would really like to be in the Chase, but I have no focus on that at all. I know Bono doesn't want to hear that, but I don't."

Sprint Cup points

Through 20 of 36 races. The top 12 drivers through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver PointsBack

Kevin Harvick 2,920—

Jeff Gordon 2,736 184

Denny Hamlin 2,660 260

Jimmie Johnson 2,659 261

Kurt Busch 2,658 262

Kyle Busch 2,630 290

Jeff Burton 2,615 305

Matt Kenseth 2,573 347

Tony Stewart 2,544 376

Carl Edwards 2,496 424

Greg Biffle 2,462 458

Clint Bowyer 2,446 474

Mark Martin 2,384 536

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,353 567

Ryan Newman 2,299 621

Up next

Pennsylvania 500, 1 p.m. Sunday, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. TV: ESPN

Jamie McMurray's two big wins no guarantee for Chase for the Championship 07/30/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Erasmo Ramirez shuts down his old Rays teammates

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem is, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Four batters into his return from a lengthy stay on the disabled list CF Kevin Kiermaier found himself embroiled in a "did he" or "didn't he" debate Friday.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.