Jamie McMurray wins NASCAR’s “Best in class” Sunday in Dover

Leave a comment

Sunday’s third race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Chase for the Cup featured 10 of the 13 Chase contenders sweeping the top 10 in a single race. That’s the first time this has happened in a race since the Chase’s inception in 2004.

In 11th place on Sunday was Jamie McMurray of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, de facto “first in class” among the almost forgotten rest of the field.

McMurray has only three top-fives and seven top-10 finishes this season, but is also first among those who missed the Chase in the points standings. Those seven top-10s are the same number as he had combined in 2011 and 2012. And while 14th isn’t anything to write home about, it’s a decent recovery after finishes of 21st and 27th in the points the last two years since his breakout 2010 campaign.

A solid run of races for the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet can also lay the groundwork for a potential Chase berth in 2014. McMurray will have a new teammate at his disposal next year, with Juan Pablo Montoya’s exit to IndyCar and the arrival of Kyle Larson in the No. 42 car.

Brown: Dennis would have made same decision on McLaren-Honda split

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Zak Brown believes former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis would have made the same decision to cut ties with struggling Formula 1 engine partner Honda had he still been in charge at the team in 2017.

McLaren executive director Brown helped engineer a deal for the team to split with Honda at the end of the 2017 season after three tough seasons that had seen the Japanese manufacturer offer little in the way of performance or reliability.

The decision split opinion, with McLaren spurning a significant annual financial injection from Honda in order to link up with Renault, believing its on-track fortunes had to be prioritized over its commercial interests.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Brown was asked if he believed Dennis – McLaren’s long-running team chief before stepping down at the end of 2016 – would have made the same decision to cut ties with Honda.

“I think he would have,” Brown said.

“He was here when those conversations were ongoing and I think Ron always has and always will have the best interests of McLaren in his heart.

“He is Mr. McLaren. It burns him inside as much as us not to see us winning races.”

Brown also elaborated on the decision to break off the much-lauded relationship with Honda, saying the first signs of trouble with the 2017 power unit were clear in pre-season.

After a number of attempts to try and rectify the situation, Brown and his fellow team bosses felt there was no alternative but to end the Honda deal for 2018.

“We knew we were in trouble in testing in Barcelona and we worked really hard for six months to try and find solutions that would give us confidence that we’d be much more competitive in 2018,” Brown said.

“Ultimately, after trying many different things and many different ways we felt we couldn’t get there.

“Three years is a long time in Formula 1 and so we needed to change the direction to get our team back at the top.”