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Crashes make McMurray public enemy No. 1

One of the only good things about Jamie McMurray wrecking out of the Daytona 500 with three laps to go was it gave him a head start on leaving ahead of some of his competitors.

Especially Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart, two of the drivers McMurray bounced his No. 26 Ford off of trying to keep up with the leaders.

It was an up-and-down day for McMurray. From his sixth position on the starting grid to taking the race lead on Lap 48 to his 37th-place finish, it was a more than eventful day for the driver who quickly became one of the most hated on the track Sunday.

All of this on a day when McMurray said he had "a good car."

It began with an incident involving Stewart near the midpoint of the race.

McMurray, who bump drafted with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and several other drivers much of the day, apparently got a little too close to Stewart's bumper for the defending Nextel Cup champion's liking. When the pounding continued, Stewart radioed his spotter and told him to get the No. 26 spotter to relay a message to his driver: "Tell him to get the (bleep) off my bumper because if we get loose and wreck down in the grass, there will be nobody there who can protect his (bleep). You tell him that and you tell him how I said it."

And that wasn't even a wreck, just some close driving early in the race. It also indicated how the day would go for the 29-year-old.

Close driving turned into twisted sheet metal on Lap 186.

That's when McMurray, driving in his first race for Jack Roush, plowed into the back of Busch's car, wrecking the rear end and sending the driver he replaced at Roush Racing to a 38th-place finish.

A livid Busch walked directly from his car to his hauler after the race, taking a chance to cool down before saying, "I thought we had a shot. (McMurray's) in another wreck. Somebody else will go take care of him."

A few laps later McMurray was on the receiving end when Jeff Burton slid up the track and pinched him against the wall. McMurray bounced down into Bobby Labonte, a move that effectively ended all three of their days.

"I need to apologize to Kurt," McMurray said. "I got into him, that was 100 percent my fault and I feel really bad because he had a car capable of winning and I kind of screwed that up for him."

The wild day marked McMurray's worst finish in the 500 in four starts and continued his streak of never finishing higher than 31st.

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