If anyone would know how to drive around potholes you figure it would be someone from Missouri right? Joplin native Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500, holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. who tried to make a late charge in a wild two lap finish. A pothole delayed the race twice for over two hours that slowed the race, but didn’t ruin a thrilling finish.
There was a hole in turn two that was about a foot and a half wide that forced NASCAR officials to stop the race at lap 122. At the time Clint Bowyer was in the lead. They started racing again, but the patch fell apart and the race was stopped again at lap 161. Because the drivers weren’t sure if the patch would hold on, the drivers became aggressive jockeying for position should NASCAR call the race with less than 30 laps remaining. NASCAR tweaked their rules a bit and had three, two lap finishes to help determine the winner. After McMurry held off Junior, he ran to the infield logo with tears in his eyes celebrating his victory.
Afterwards, he told ESPN, “I looked in my mirror and saw the 88 — I’ll be honest, I was like, ‘Crap, this guy has won a lot of races here. His family has an incredible history here. I believe everything happens for a reason. I just was like, ‘I hope this isn’t his turn to win the Daytona 500, I hope this is mine.'”
This is McMurray’s first ride back with Chip Ganassi who gave McMurray his start in NASCAR. McMurray left to join Roush-Fenway racing for four years, but struggled before getting another chance with Ganassi this season.
The other native Missourian, Carl Edwards from Columbia, finished 9th.
McMurray’s post race comments.