CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Jamie McMurray didn’t get the reaction he was expecting from his 3-year-old son, Carter, after winning the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Saturday night.
A few weeks ago, McMurray struggled throughout the race at Talladega and finished 29th. When he made it to the motorhome, Carter shouted, “Wooohoo, dad, Denny Hamlin won!”
“I was like, `That’s not what I looking for, Carter,’” McMurray said Thursday during preparations for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
So McMurray was very excited on his drive home Sunday morning. He had the race trophy, picked up pancakes for the family at a nearby restaurant and was certain he was due for a “Wooohoo!” of his own.
McMurray said his son asked if he had his train set – as McMurray promised him on national TV from Victory Lane after the victory.
McMurray said he sighed and smiled.
“We’ll go tomorrow, buddy,” McMurray told him. “We’ll go tomorrow.”
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver won his first career race at Charlotte in 2002. This time, he held off Kevin Harvick down the stretch in the All-Star race to take the win. McMurray said that win plus past success has given him a boost of confidence heading into NASCAR’s longest race. McMurray’s car will carry the name of fallen Asheville, North Carolina firefighter Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, who was killed when responding to an office building fire in 2011.
McMurray said he’s been most tickled by the reaction to his win that he’s heard from people in the Ganassi race shop.
“I can’t tell you how many of the guys said they were slapping their wives in bed (Saturday night), saying `Wake up, he’s going to win,’” McMurray said.
McMurray could use a boost to his chances to make Sprint Cup’s 16-driver championship Chase. He’s 24th in the standings without a points win this season. A victory this season, besides locking him into the Chase, might also earn the response he wanted from little Carter. But McMurray’s not counting on it.
“I think that’s so cool that kids just say what’s on their mind,” he said with a smile. “It’s awesome.”