Joplin native Jamie McMurray has become the first Missouri driver to win a race in the 101-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing about 1.4 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick in the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race.
McMurray beat Harvick on the race’s last restart and took the lad with eleven laps to go. It’s McMurray’s second major win of the season. He started the year by winning the Daytona 500 and becomes only the third driver to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year.
McMurray said after the race that he had been disappointed Saturday when his qualifying speed was not good enough for the pole position. But his wife told him to forget about the pole and go out and win the race.
McMurray started fourth and ran in the top six all day but teammate Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the race until the last round of pit stops when Montoya took four tires and McMurray took only two. Montoya later crashed while trying to regain positions he had lost because of the extra time in the pits getting four tires…
Columbia driver Carl Edwards started 19th and worked his way to seventh at the finish.
The Indianapolis Speedway began holding races in 1909. The Indianapolis 500 has been held since 1911. It also has been the home to Formula 1, Moto GP, and balloon races. Until McMurray’s victory, the closest a Missourian had come to winning a race at Indianapolis was when Rusty Wallace of St. Louis ran second in three Brickyard 400s and Tony Gulotta of Kansas City, who finished third in the Indianapolis 500 in 1927.