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McMurray Won’t Be Back At Roush In 2010

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 28 2009
Jamie McMurray will not be back with Roush Racing next season. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray will not be back with Roush Racing next season. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Roush Fenway Racing on Tuesday announced its 2010 Sprint Cup driver lineup and that Jamie McMurray will not be back as part of the lineup.

Instead, Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith said that the hope is that McMurray and his team will be absorbed by Yates Racing, which is affiliated with Roush Fenway.

The move is being precipitated by a NASCAR rule that says that by 2010, no team may have more than four cars in its stable.

Roush Fenway has five this year. Yates Racing, which is headed by Doug Yates and former Roush Fenway officer Max Jones, currently operates as a two-car team.

If McMurray does land at Yates, it will not be at the insistence of top brass at Ford Racing.

Brian Wolfe, head of Ford Racing,was asked Saturday if he had talked to team owner Jack Roush about who would stay and would not at Roush Fenway.

“Overall, they’re more casual discussions as opposed to doing a review and going, ‘Hey jack here’s what you’ve got to do.’ I don’t generally tell Jack what he has to do. Jack and I talk if not weekly, then every other week where I go out to his office and go one on one. It’s a good partner relationship.

“I talk to Max Jones often. Eddie Wood (of the Wood Brothers Racing team) and I text back and forth and call each other. We just try to make sure all of our communications are going well. But the final decisions on the teams are the teams.”

When asked if he had a preference about the driver lineup at Roush Fenway, Wolfe said. “That would probably be better to talk to Jack about. How he makes up next year is basically his call. I don’t want to steal his thunder like I don’t want him to steal the manufacturers thunder.”

Not leaving with McMurray will be his primary sponsor, Crown Royal. It will become the new primary sponsor the No. 17 Roush Fenway car driven by Matt Kenseth.

“With the conclusion of the contract arrangement with Crown Royal, Roush Fenway Racing’s Sprint Cup driver lineup will see Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan joining Kenseth to round out our four approved entries,” Smith said. “We are still hoping to be able to transfer the No. 26 team, intact, to Yates Racing in order to keep everyone employed and racing within the Ford community.”

McMurray’s Cup career began in 2002 when he raced six times for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The native of Joplin, Mo., appeared headed for a great future as he won in just his second start that year.

He would not, however, win again for Ganassi.

In 2006, he was signed by Roush. With the team, he has one victory, that coming in the summer Daytona race in 2007.

McMurray’s best finish this year is seventh. He got that at Richmond. McMurray left Indianapolis last weekend 20th in points.

Crown Royal will serve as the primary sponsor for Kenseth and the No. 17 Sprint Cup team at 18 Cup events in 2010.

“I’m excited about teaming up with Crown Royal,” said Kenseth, one of only five drivers in NASCAR history to win the Sprint Cup rookie of the year award, a Sprint Cup Championship and the Daytona 500.

Kenseth had been sponsored by DeWalt Tools, but that company announced earlier this summer that it would not be back as a primary sponsor in Sprint Cup.

“I worked with Diageo’s Smirnoff ICE brand back in 2003 and we developed a great relationship,” Kenseth said. “They were a part of our championship season and we were able to take part in a lot of really cool promotions and events to promote messages associated with responsible drinking. I’m really looking forward to representing Crown Royal and continuing that great work.”

“It’s a pleasure to welcome a champion like Matt back as our partner,” said Dan Sanborn, Sr. Director, Corporate Relations for Diageo. “Through our earlier relationship with Matt in 2003, and as the Crown Royal IROC Champion in 2004, we have experienced great success together over the years.  We look forward to extending that relationship and having Matt represent one of our biggest brands both on-and-off the track.”

Diageo has been a partner of Roush Fenway Racing dating back to 2003 where Kenseth was first paired with the Smirnoff Ice Brand.  In 2005, Crown Royal entered the sport as sponsor of the No. 97 team and in 2006 became sponsor of Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 team.

“We will miss Jamie (McMurray) as he has been an amazing partner both on and off the track taking our ‘Be a champion. Drink Responsibly,’ campaign to new heights.  We were lucky to have him as part of our team and whatever sponsor aligns with him will have a great person working on their behalf.  We wish him well,” said Sanborn

“We are pleased that we found a suitable home within Roush Fenway Racing for one of the greatest brands in the world,” said Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 28 2009
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