Race Weekend Central

Jamie McMurray Cuts Tire, Crashes out Early in Martinsville

Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway went from good, bad to terrible for Jamie McMurray.

Starting sixth, McMurray drove up to the second spot before losing a couple spots before the first caution on Lap 70. The ensuing restart saw McMurray get hit by Jimmie Johnson after a three-wide move by Ryan Blaney.

And within a few laps, the significant tire rub led to a cut tire into Turn 3 on Lap 100.

After the hard hit, McMurray re-thought the decision to stay out while the tire was smoking.

“If the smoke hadn’t gotten lighter, I would’ve pitted,’ McMurray said. “The team said to run a couple more laps. The smoke got a little lighter and I thought we were going to be OK. If we pit, we lose three laps. Now… you wish you had.”

With a hard driver-side impact into the SAFER barrier, McMurray was in good spirits.

“I contemplated running higher on the track so you can lessen the blow,” he said. “When it did blow, I knew I was going to hit driver-side first, which is a horrific way to wreck a car. But it didn’t hurt as much as I thought.”

Despite the disappointing early end, McMurray is gaining confidence with Chip Ganassi Racing, who won last week with point leader Kyle Larson.

“It’s a long year, you have days like today,” he concluded. “It’s frustrating, but I’m just glad we’re  running well again.”

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