McMurray Captures the Checkered Flag at Daytona 500

2010 Daytona 500 Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- What a storybook finish!
Jamie McMurray won the 52nd annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 but it took three green, white, checkered flag attempts and an unbelievable shove from the sport's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to pull the curtain down on one of the most exciting 500's in the sport's history.

After two red flags to repair a hole in the track's bumpy surface, McMurray wound up in the front pack when it came to the two-lap showdown for NASCAR's biggest prize. And Earnhardt provided the help he needed to hold off a snarling, hungry pack of professional stock car drivers trying to add their names to the Daytona 500 record book.
2010 Daytona 500 Jamie McMurray leads Dale Earnhardt Jr

Earnhardt came from 10th to second in two laps to get the assist, and McMurray was overcome with emotion afterwards. McMurray was the odd-man-out at Roush Racing at the end of 2009 when that organization had to drop a team to comply with NASCAR's four-car ownership rule.

McMurray didn't know if he would have a ride for 2010 until his former car owner Chip Ganassi called and put him in a car for the second time.

McMurray responded just like he did the first time he drove for Ganassi. He won his first race with the team, just like he did with Ganassi when he won his first race, the fall event at Charlotte.
2010 Daytona 500 Scott Speed leads restart

The race took six hours and 10 minutes to complete because a huge pothole developed in the lower racing groove of turn one. The hole was patched and came undone and had to be patched again due to the unusually cold and rainy weather that settled over Daytona Beach for this year's Speedweeks.

Finishing third was Greg Biffle, who ran up front most of the day. He was followed by Clint Bowyer in a Richard Childress Chevrolet. David Reutimann was fifth, Martin Truex Jr. sixth, Kevin Harvick seventh, Matt Kenseth eighth, Carl Edwards ninth and Juan Pablo Montoya 10th.

The race produced a ton of leaders, including Mark Martin, Earnhardt, Kasey Kahne, who wrecked at the end, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, who was also eliminated from contention by an accident, Truex, AJ Allmendinger, also involved in an accident, Biffle, and Scott Speed, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano.
2010 Daytona 500 Clint Bowyer leads Greg Biffle

The 21 different leaders was a Daytona 500 record, and McMurray established a record he could care less about. He led the fewest numbers of laps – two -- of any Daytona 500 winner. He wouldn't care if he had only led one lap, the last one.

Four-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson had a troublesome day, finishing 35th.

Ageless Martin, everybody's favorite, led the first lap from his pole position under a clear-blue sunny sky. The cars ran side by side, darting and bouncing around, before Brad Keselowski cut a tire in turn three and hit the wall, collecting Penske teammate Sam Hornish, Jr., and Regan Smith in the process. Gordon narrowly missed the smoke-filled accident.

On the restart at lap 13, Martin was still in front with Earnhardt Jr., Montoya and Harvick in tow. The first three cars chose not to pit since it was so early in the race.

Montoya led briefly before Earnhardt zipped past on the 14th lap. The cars were shuffling back and forth and Martin was bounced back to 23rd spot before he could get back in line.
2010 Daytona 500 fans in trivoval grass

The crowd of nearly 200,000 fans was still on its feet at 20 laps as 26 cars ran nose-to-tail and side-by-side over the tricky two-and-a-half-mile track.

Harvick took the lead at lap 21 and someone was passing someone just about every lap behind him.

At lap 30, Harvick led with Kurt Busch on his bumper. Sadler was third, Montoya fourth and Stewart fifth. Earnhardt was next, followed by Bowyer, Reutimann, Johnson, Kahne and Logano.

Busch moved into the lead at lap 32. At lap 38, Montoya, Martin and Earnhardt had to pit since they stayed out on the first caution.

At lap 42, Allmendinger, in a Petty Ford, had moved into second place ahead of Harvick. Kurt Busch continued to lead.
2010 Daytona 500 Kevin Harvick Dale Earnhardt Jr lead pack

Allmendinger passed Kurt Busch for the lead on lap 46, proving this Daytona 500 was, indeed, anyone's race. Kurt Busch passed. Allmendinger back on lap 49.

Once the leaders had made pit stops around 50 laps, the leader was Kurt Busch again with Allmendinger second. Johnson was third. Kahne was fourth, followed by Harvick, Earnhardt Jr., Montoya, Kyle Busch, Sadler and Bowyer.

The second caution of the afternoon flew on lap 66 when Joe Nemechek's Toyota jumped sideways between turns three and four. All the leaders headed for pit road. Kyle Busch slid through his pit which cost him some valuable time, as much as six positions on the track.

The race resumed on lap 70, it was Kurt Busch, Allmendinger, Kahne, Harvick, Johnson, Truex, Edwards, Biffle, Bowyer and Kyle Busch.
Jamie does doughnuts at Daytona Allmendinger quickly went to the front in his No. 43 Petty car, which made old-time race fans happy since it reminded them of the King's (Richard Petty) heyday.

Another caution flag, the third of the race, waved on lap 71 when Mike Bliss spun in turn two and hit the inside retaining wall.  All the frontrunners pitted once again.

Hamlin was the leader for the first time in the event when the race was green-flagged again. Kurt Busch was behind Hamlin. Busch was trailed by Biffle, Kyle Busch, Bowyer, Gordon, McMurray, Newman, Sadler and Menard.

At the 100-lap halfway mark, Jeff Gordon took the lead with Bowyer close behind. Gordon's move past Kyle Busch was the 25th official lead change of the race. Trailing Gordon and Bowyer were Biffle, Kyle Busch and Sadler, but Bowyer took the top spot a few laps later with Richard Childress teammate Harvick shoving him forward. At 110 laps of the 200-lap distance, it was still anybody's race.

Finish Start Car # Driver Team Laps Pts/Bonus Status
1 13 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet 208 190/5 Running
2 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet 208 175/5 Running
3 23 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 208 170/5 Running
4 9 33 Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet 208 165/5 Running
5 20 00 David Reutimann Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota 208 155 Running
6 14 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 208 155/5 Running
7 5 29 Kevin Harvick Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet 208 156/10 Running
8 24 17 Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Ford 208 142 Running
9 27 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Ford 208 138 Running
10 8 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet 208 139/5 Running
11 39 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet 208 130 Running
12 1 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 208 132/5 Running
13 32 98 Paul Menard Peak/Menard’s Ford 208 124 Running
14 7 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Toyota 208 126/5 Running
15 22 83 Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 208 118 Running
16 19 6 David Ragan UPS Ford 208 120/5 Running
17 25 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 208 117/5 Running
18 43 51 Michael Waltrip NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 208 109 Running
19 30 82 Scott Speed Red Bull Toyota 208 111/5 Running
20 16 20 Joey Logano Home Depot Toyota 208 108/5 Running
21 42 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 208 100 Running
22 6 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet 208 97 Running
23 10 2 Kurt Busch Miller Lite Dodge 208 99/5 Running
24 12 19 Elliott Sadler Stanley Ford 208 96 Running
25 38 26 Boris Said Window World Cares Ford 208 93/5 Running
26 21 24 Jeff Gordon Dupont Chevrolet 208 90/5 Running
27 40 21 Bill Elliott Motorcraft / Quicklane Tire & Auto Ford 208 82 Running
28 34 7 Robby Gordon Monster Energy Drink Toyota 207 84/5 Running
29 35 37 Travis Kvapil Extenze Ford 205 81/5 Running
30 4 9 Kasey Kahne Budweiser Ford 202 78/5 Accident
31 37 38 Robert Richardson Mihindra USA Tractors Ford 202 70 Accident
32 15 43 AJ Allmendinger Best Buy Ford 198 72/5 Running
33 29 55 Michael McDowell PRISM Motorsports Toyota 195 64 Drive Shaft
34 17 39 Ryan Newman US Army Chevrolet 193 61 Accident
35 3 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet 185 58 Rear Axle
36 26 12 Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 174 55 Running
37 26 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Mobil 1 Dodge 160 52 Running
38 33 34 John Andretti Window World Cares Ford 117 49 Accident
39 11 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 90 46 Running
40 31 13 Max Papis GEICO Toyota 89 43 Engine
41 18 47 Marcos Ambrose Kroger Floral Toyota 79 40 Engine
42 28 36 Mike Bliss Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet 76 37 Accident
43 41 87 Joe Nemechek NEMCO Motorsports Toyota 64 34 Accident

Top 12 Driver Points:
(1) J. McMurray 190;(2) D. Earnhardt Jr. 175;(3) G. Biffle 170;(4) C. Bowyer 165;(5) K. Harvick 156;(6) D. Reutimann 155;(7) M. Truex Jr. 155;(8) M.
Kenseth 142;(9) J. Montoya 139;(10) C. Edwards 138;(11) M. Martin 132;(12) J. Burton 130.
McMurray Captures the Checkered Flag at Daytona 500 McMurray Captures the Checkered Flag at Daytona 500 Reviewed by Admin on Monday, February 15, 2010 Rating: 5