There is no question that Jamie McMurray shocked everyone by winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Granted, there is a reason he was in the all-star race and you can never rule anyone out. With that said, if you would have given me eight names to pick as a possible winner for last Saturday night’s race, I honestly couldn’t say that Jamie would have been on my list.
Obviously, no matter who it is who wins, you do it with a fast race car. Jamie and his team certainly had a fast race car, for sure.
I know if you look at Jamie’s season to date it really isn’t that strong. He only has two top-10s and no top-fives. I think the actual box score for the season is somewhat misleading. Jamie’s actually had some really good runs going, but hasn’t been able to get the finish at the end of the day to prove it.
I can promise you that in these first 11 points races of the 2014 season, Jamie has never shown the kind of strength that he showed in the Sprint All-Star Race. I mean let’s face it, Jamie’s only led a total of 10 laps all season so far and all 10 of those came at Bristol.
At the end of the day, Jamie not only had a fast race car but a rookie crew chief in Keith Rodden had a game plan to win the All-Star Race and stuck with it.
At the end of Segment 1, the team changed all four tires on Jamie’s car. Keith rolled the dice keeping Jamie on the track during some cautions to gain the very valuable track position.
If that wasn’t enough, Keith rolled the dice again at the end of Segment 3 and only took two right-side tries to keep the track position.
Then in Segment 4 when they changed all four tires, the team basically kept Jamie in position. By that I mean, Jamie came in second and came out second.
So the keys for Jamie’s incredible win were a fast race car and a strategy much different than the others. You combine that with a pit crew that delivered a very solid pit stop when it mattered the most and a driver who was up on that wheel on that restart that simply wasn’t going to back down.
Jamie went nose-to-nose with Carl Edwards and at the end of that 10-lap shootout Car No. 1 was No. 1.