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Though not in Chase, Jamie McMurray a wild card to watch for

CONCORD, N.C. — Everyone was waiting for a wild card.

What they didn't see coming was a spoiler.

Jamie McMurray, who missed the Sprint Cup's Chase for the Championship, earned his third win this season in Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With the growing perception that Jimmie Johnson, who has won the past four titles, was well on his way to a fifth, talk had centered on what races would be considered wild cards and shake up the standings.

While many remained focused on the Chase, McMurray won yet another race, to accompany victories in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

It's not like fans shouldn't have seen this coming.

McMurray's win came almost eight years to the day — Oct. 13, 2002 — since his first Cup win, in the fall Charlotte race in his second series start.

He was an upstart, just signed to a Cup deal by owner Chip Ganassi, and was called on to begin his career early and substitute for Sterling Marlin, who was out with a broken neck.

"It's different circumstances. I feel this is my team and it's a team that has been put together over the past 11 months, 12 months, and it's mine," McMurray, now 34, said. "Obviously I've grown up a lot in the last eight years.

"I'm married and expecting a child. My life has changed a lot. I feel like I'm a lot smarter racer, and I try to put myself in a better position probably than what I did back then."

KAHNE UPSET: Hours after he was too ill to get back in his race car, Kasey Kahne ran a 5K Sunday morning for his charity in a bit more than 22 minutes.

"That was the slowest I ever ran a 5K," he said. "I'm definitely feeling the effects."

Kahne was physically sick Saturday and said he vomited once after an accident 124 laps into the race. He ceded the seat to J.J. Yeley, who finished the race.

Kahne was also mad at criticism from an unnamed employee at Richard Petty Motorsports: "I was told that I needed to start doing my part, (that) is what one guy told me (Saturday) night after the race."

EAST BAY RACEWAY: Tim Gay won the Limited Late Models class and his son Jared earned his first Street Stock feature win late Saturday at the Gibsonton track.

Sprint Cup points

With five races to go. Only these drivers are eligible in the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Jimmie Johnson 5,843—

Denny Hamlin 5,802 41

Kevin Harvick 5,766 77

Jeff Gordon 5,687 156

Kyle Busch 5,666 177

Tony Stewart 5,666 177

Carl Edwards 5,643 200

Greg Biffle 5,618 225

Kurt Busch 5,606 237

Jeff Burton 5,604 239

Matt Kenseth 5,587 256

Clint Bowyer 5,543 300

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official standings today.

Up next

Tums Fast Relief 500, 1 p.m. Sunday, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. TV: ESPN

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 140.391 mph

Time of race: 3 hours, 34 minutes, 7 seconds

Margin of victory: 1.866 seconds

Caution flags: Nine for 39 laps

Lead changes: 27 among 19 drivers

Lap leaders: J. Gordon 1-7; Edwards 8; Ky. Busch 9-25; Gilliland 26; McDowell 27-28; Ky. Busch 29-76; Martin 77; Burton 78; Montoya 79-80; Kenseth 81; Bowyer 82; Carpentier 83; Ky. Busch 84-127; Martin 128-135; McMurray 136-169; Ky. Busch 170-173; Hamlin 174; Logano 175; Harvick 176; Biffle 177; Edwards 178; McMurray 179-188; Johnson 189-203; Ky. Busch 204-292; Sorenson 293; Allmendinger 294-298; Ky. Busch 299-313; McMurray 314-334

Though not in Chase, Jamie McMurray a wild card to watch for 10/17/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 17, 2010 9:44pm]
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