Million dollar night for McMurray in all-star race

The Sports NetworkMay 18, 2014 

Concord, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamie McMurray won Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and collected $1 million after passing Carl Edwards for the lead during the final 10-lap shootout and then holding off Kevin Harvick at the finish.

Edwards and McMurray were running 1-2 for the final restart with 10 laps to go. Both drivers battled hard for the lead, running side-by-side and bumping into each other at times during the first lap in the segment, before McMurray pulled away from Edwards with nine laps left.

"As a kid, that's what you grew up wanting to do is to have a shootout like that and have a possibility to race for just 10 laps," McMurray said. "Carl got a little bit of a jump on me on the [final] restart, but I was able to hang on to his quarter panel. When we entered [turns] 1 and 3, I was like, 'The heck with it. It's for a million bucks. If we wreck, it's not that big of a deal.' It's so cool to come out on top of that."

Harvick chased down McMurray in the closing laps, but McMurray beat Harvick to the finish line by 0.7 seconds for his first win in the all-star race. It came in his eighth attempt. His previous best finish in this event was eighth, which came last year.

McMurray, who led a race-high 31 laps, gave Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates its first victory in the all-star race as well. McMurray was paired with crew chief Keith Rodden on the No. 1 team after the 2013 season had concluded.

"Keith did an unbelievable job," McMurray said. "I'm so glad that I get the opportunity to work with him. We've had good cars all year long. We've had some bad luck. But this is one of those races that makes up for a lot of bad times."

McMurray's first win in the Cup Series came in October 2002 at Charlotte, in just his second career start. He won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his first season with Chip Ganassi's team in 2010.

Matt Kenseth finished third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Edwards, the pole sitter. Qualifying for this race was held just prior to the start of the event. Edwards completed his three laps and made his four-tire pit stop in 1 minute, 50.268 seconds at an average speed of 146.915 mph during qualifying.

"Jamie just did a perfect job," Edwards said. "He ended up sweeping around the outside of me, dragging me down, and it was a drag race. My hat is off to him. He did a great job. He earned it."

Jimmie Johnson, who has won the all-star race a record four times, including victories in the previous two years, crossed the line in sixth.

"We averaged well [on the track] but didn't get off pit road where we needed to," Johnson said. "I want to congratulate Jamie. I'm very happy for him."

Kurt Busch started 18th and finished 11th after participating in day one of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day. Busch departed Indy mid-afternoon and flew to Charlotte, arriving here in plenty of time for all- star qualifying.

The second and final day of Indy 500 qualifying is on Sunday. Busch finished 10th in Saturday's qualifying there, coming up short of being in the "Fast Nine" shootout for the pole position.

A multi-car crash occurred on lap 26 when Kyle Busch spun out after he bumped into the back of Clint Bowyer. Busch then hit the wall and slid down the track before he collected Joey Logano.

"Kurt [Busch] got real bottled up on the outside and slowed down, so I knew I was clear to go to the bottom and swoop down and try to get underneath [Clint] Bowyer," Busch said. "When I did, he blocked me, and I hit him. He got squirrely, and then I was still under him. He hit me and turned me around the wrong way on the backstretch and got in the outside wall."

Busch finished 21st and Logano last in the 22-car field.

"I knew they were crashing in front of me," Logano said. "I was just trying to go along, but I wish I would have turned back to the right."

Another three-car incident happened after a restart on lap 61 when Jeff Gordon, the winner of last weekend's race at Kansas, experienced a mechanical issue and lost control heading into turn 3. Gordon bumped into Martin Truex Jr. and Greg Biffle, as all three drivers made contact with the wall.

"I'm not exactly sure what happened,"Gordon said. "I was going down the backstretch, going into turn 3, and I felt something in the front end give. All of the sudden, I had more wheel and I wasn't even in the corner. As I got in the corner, the car just went straight. It wasn't like it was a right-front where it just shot there. It just slowly went there."

Gordon is a three-time all-star race winner, but has not scored a victory in this event since 2001.

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