Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2016 Recap/2017 Outlook – Jamie McMurray
Jamie McMurray made the Chase for the second straight year based on points, but he didn’t contend for the championship, nor find himself in Victory Lane in 2016.
Car No.: 1
Crew Chief: Matt McCall
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Points Finish: 13th
2016 Quick Summary: McMurray had a decidedly quiet 2016 season, with no wins but only three finishes outside the top 30. A steady, consistent approach to the season allowed him to make the Chase for the second year in a row in his second season with crew chief Matt McCall.
Six top-10s in the 10 races before the Chase, including a seventh at Richmond, gave McMurray a cushion in the cutoff race. His only worry was whether Kasey Kahne could pull off the last-minute win and knock him out, but Kahne came up short.
However, a bad finish in the last race of the Round of 16 meant McMurray would once again fail to make it past the first round of the Chase.
2016 Highlight(s): McMurray’s best finish of the season came at the May Talladega race. Despite being involved in two accidents during the event, including the 21-car wreck on lap 162, he was able to battle back for a fourth-place finish. His other top five of the season came in the finale at Homestead, where he finished fifth.
2016 Lowlight(s): McMurray’s worst finish came at a very inopportune time. In the cutoff race of the Round of 16 at Dover, the No. 1 team suffered a blown engine and finished last, ending any chance of advancing to the next round of the Chase.
He also had the dubious honor, along with Kahne, of not leading a single lap during the season.
2017 Outlook: The relationship between McMurray and McCall seems to be working, as the pair has not missed the Chase yet. He also has a great teammate in Kyle Larson, who continues to improve each year. With Stewart-Haas Racing moving to Ford and HScott Motorsports suspending operations, Chip Ganassi Racing will be the only team with Hendrick support. If all these relationships continue to improve, look for McMurray to be competing for top-fives and wins next year, rather than just top-10s.
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