Thursday, May 26, 2011

Joplin Native Jamie McMurray Looking For Third Charlotte Win

By Micah Roberts

McMurray won at Charlotte last fall
I always love the sentimental approach to handicapping games where sometimes teams get up a little more when having a heavy heart. I use it quite often in football and basketball to some degree of success. Jamie McMurray is a Joplin, Missouri native who will definitely have a lot on his mind. Will he be able to focus in a normal capacity or will he be pre-occupied like many of us might be in the same situation?

“My heart goes out to all the people that have been affected by the devastating Missouri tornado on May 22nd, especially in my hometown of Joplin," said McMurray in a prepared statement.

"It is difficult to put into words, the emotions I have when I see the devastation and destruction that was caused by this storm. My thoughts and prayers are extended to all the people who are dealing with so much loss. I would also like to thank all those that have reached out to me to express their concerns for my family. Although I don’t personally have any family in Joplin any longer, there are still many people there that need our support and prayers.”

The combination of what happened at Joplin and how well McMurray has done over his career could be a positive situation on the track. Two of his six careers wins, his first and last win, have come at Charlotte. Last season he was runner-up in this race and then won the fall event.

“I am looking forward to Charlotte this weekend," McMurray said earlier in the week. "Our team had a lot of success at this track last year and this is one of my favorite places to race. However, after last weekend in the Sprint All Star race we learned that we have some work to do if we are going to repeat that 2010 success. We will be working on some changes to our cars for this weekend and as always our guys are giving it 100% commitment to make us more competitive.

The real problem with McMurray having a real shot this week rests with his car. The team hasn't performed close to the level they did in 2010. They're bringing the same chassis from last week that had trouble throughout practice and the race itself.

I will be rooting for McMurray to do well in hopes of maybe bringing some joy to his hometown, but it’s more likely that he’ll perform closer to the level of what he's done this season which would be about 20th-place.

The Las Vegas Hilton Super Book has McMurray listed at 30-to-1 to win the race, which about the same he's been at most other tracks. The odds are a pure indication of this years efforts as opposed to the great success he had at Charlotte last season. In driver vs. driver matchups, where the best finish between the two drivers in the race wins, McMurray is listed as a pick em' against teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

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