2019 Daytona 500 Likely Jamie McMurray's Last NASCAR Cup Series Race
The veteran driver is expected to move into a managerial role with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran driver Jamie McMurray likely competed his final full-time season in 2018. Both driver and car owner Chip Ganassi have hinted the end of McMurray’s career as a full-time driver and a move to a managerial role within Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR program.
“Well, first of all, I do expect Jamie to stick around, yes,” Ganassi said during a teleconference on Dec. 4, announcing Kurt Busch as McMurray’s replacement in the No. 1 CGR car in NASCAR’s top series for the 2019 season. “And as we talked about, we are going to have some announcements forthcoming on that subject.”
Via that same teleconference, Ganassi already had announced that McMurray wouldn’t be driving the No. 1 car in 2019. The car owner revealed that McMurray was free to seek an opportunity to continue driving race cars for another team or to accept an offer from Ganassi that included driving in the 2019 season-opening Daytona 500 in February and, then, a move into an advisor/managerial role within CGR. McMurray sticking around would be an acceptance of that offer.
Prior to the Dec. 18 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, McMurray acknowledge he sought driving opportunities with other teams before deciding he didn’t want to race for anyone other than Ganassi.
“I had opportunities to drive; they just weren’t opportunities I wanted,” McMurray said. “I was fighting for one of the [ope]) rides. There was a point that, honestly, I looked at it, and I was like, ‘I don’t know that I want them to call me back.’ I was fighting, because I thought it was the right thing to do, but I wanted to drive [for Ganassi]. I like this team, and I have so much history. I didn’t want to bounce somewhere else for a year and be unhappy.”
McMurray spent most of his NASCAR Cup Series career with Ganassi, first joining CGR late in the 2006 season as a substitute for the injured Sterling Marlin. After winning in his second-career series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, McMurray became Marlin’s permanent replacement in 2007. McMurray left CGR for Roush Fenway Racing for a three-year period between 2006 and 2008, returning in 2009 to a Chip Ganassi Racing/Dale Earnhardt Inc., joint effort monikered Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. The Earnhardt portion of that effort eventually faded the way, and the team returned to the Chip Ganassi Racing banner with McMurray still with the team.
In all, McMurray has competed in 582 Cup Series races, resulting in seven wins, six of those with Ganassi as his car owner. His wins include marquee events like Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 victories in 2010. His last win came in 2013 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.