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Woody: McMurray Counterjabs Chase-Bashers

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, November 4 2009
Jamie McMurray kept on racing in the Chase. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray kept on racing in the Chase. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer

Jamie McMurray proved the Chase-bashers wrong.

They said drivers who didn’t make the Chase would have no incentive during the last 10 races.

Well, McMurray seemed to have plenty of incentive last Sunday when he blazed his way to victory at Talladega.

They anti-Chase crowd whined that the non-Chase drivers would be ignored and overlooked.

Last I saw of Jamie he was celebrating in Victory Circle on national TV, basking in the bright lights and giving media interviews left and right.

McMurray’s victory verified what I’ve said all along: Just because a driver doesn’t make the Chase doesn’t mean he should stop racing. He can still get gobs of attention and publicity the old-fashioned way; lead laps and win races.

As far as incentive goes, I’ve always thought that the non-Chasers might have more of it than the 12 title contenders.

Nowadays in NASCAR, missing the Chase is like missing the playoffs in the NFL – do it too many times and you’ll be unemployed. Racing to keep your job seems like incentive to me.

That’s partly the situation that McMurray finds himself in right now. He’s a free agent in search for a new ride for next year. Winning a race – and especially a big race like Talladega’s – looks good on his late-season resume.

It says two things about Jamie:

One – He hasn’t forgotten how to drive race car.

Two – He’s no quitter.

Frankly it has seemed as though some of the non-Chase drivers’ hearts haven’t been in their recent races. They act like they’ve thrown in the towel and are just running out the clock. That attitude won’t go unnoticed by prospective future employers.

McMurray on the other hand is racing as though he’s in the thick of the championship battle. He’s racing hard and racing to win.

Let’s be honest: The battle is over in terms of the championship. Nobody’s going to touch Jimmie Johnson in these final three races. Especially if he continues the non-racing prevent defense he used at Talladega.

That means that the other 42 drivers – Chasers and non-Chasers alike – are all in the same boat: just racing to win a race and to heck with the points. They’re all destined to finish SBJ (Somewhere Behind Jimmie).

But as McMurray proved, there’s still a way for them to make a splash. Win.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, November 4 2009
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