McMurray settles for fourth after pushing for Sonoma win

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Today at Sonoma Raceway, Jamie McMurray threatened to become the 11th different winner in this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign before finishing fourth after starting on pole.

McMurray was pressuring eventual winner Carl Edwards for the lead when a caution came out with 20 laps to go after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun following contact with Brian Vickers.

But that meant McMurray still had an opportunity to pass Edwards on the subsequent restart with 16 laps left. Unfortunately for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver, he made a mistake after the green came back out.

“I’m happy that I’m mad that I finished fourth, if that makes any sense,” he said afterwards. “I thought I had a chance to win but when the last caution came out I was working Carl there a little bit, and I was just waiting on him to make a mistake. I felt like I was better than he was.

“And when we went back green, after the caution, I just used up too much car in [Turns] 1 and 2 and spun the tires really bad and paid the penalty for that the remainder of the run.”

Eventually, Jeff Gordon got by McMurray for second position with nine laps to go and Dale Earnhardt Jr. peeled third away from him a short time later.

At that point, McMurray appeared to know that his ebbing chances of victory had gone away entirely.

“I could see how fast [Earnhardt] was catching me and I came on the radio and I’m like, ‘Is he on a different strategy than we are?’ And [the team] was like, ‘Yeah,'” McMurray said.

“So, when he caught me, I didn’t really put up a fight because I knew that he was going to get by. I was more worried about the No. 27 [Paul Menard]. He was another ten seconds back, if he was going to be able to catch me at the end.”

Menard could not do so, leaving McMurray with his final result. The fourth-place finish is his second Top-5 and third Top-10 in the last five races, and he hasn’t finished worse than 13th in that stretch.

McMurray and the No. 1 CGR crew are beginning to pick it up as they seek to get into proper Chase contention.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”