Two races into the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, it appeared Jamie McMurray's recent string of frustration would continue after he opened the year by finishing 31st and 37th at Daytona and Phoenix, respectively.
But in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, McMurray had an eighth-place result and his season took a turn for the better.
If only the same could be said about his health.
"He showed up this morning and he was sick," crew chief Kevin 'Bono' Manion said. "I don't think he slept last night. He hasn't eaten. So for Jamie to come through like he did for us today was really big. ... He could barely talk after the race."
Somehow, McMurray powered through his illness and came home with his best finish at a 1.5-mile track since he won at Charlotte in October 2010. It was also his first top-10 finish since coming home fifth last August at Bristol – a span of 14 races.
For a team which hasn't had much to celebrate lately, a solid finish on a style of track which encompasses almost a third of the Sprint Cup schedule provides some much-needed hope.
"We're not overly excited about an eighth-place finish," Manion said. "I believe we had a top-five car with all that happening at the end. The team needed a (good) finish. Last week was a disappointment and we just haven't had a finish."