Jamie McMurray’s reunion with team owner Chip Ganassi couldn’t have started any better.
He won the Daytona 500. He went on a whirlwind cross-country media tour. He won the pole for the Auto Club Speedway race.
Since then, things hadn’t been so great. He ended up finishing 17th in California thanks to a bad set of tires, then stumbled to crash-related finishes of 34th and 29th the following two weeks.
Heading into Bristol, McMurray had fallen all the way to 19th in points, and suddenly things weren’t looking so great.
But he showed up in Tennessee determined to turn things around, and it paid off with an eighth-place finish.
“I’m just racing,” he said afterward. “I will say that I haven’t run this well here in any of my years at Roush. It felt really good to be able to come back.”
McMurray’s solid result moved him up four spots to 15th in the standings, but he’s a mere 40 points away from eighth.
Looking back now, McMurray said he had “messed up this year” toward the end of races and “crashed myself.”
“But we have had really awesome, really fast race cars all year,” which left him feeling optimistic for the rest of the season.
And it helped him make the upset stomach he experienced during the race an afterthought.
“I don’t know if it was the fumes (from the jet dryers) or something in my drink bottle or what, but 60 laps into the race I felt like I was going to throw up,” he said. “And it just seemed like it got worse every time there was a caution.”
McMurray was asked by a reporter whether he was able to take medicine during the race to help his stomach.
“I wasn’t going to mess up a pit stop for a Tums, you know?” he said.