Despite missing Chase, McMurray buoyed by strong encore performance at Charlotte

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CONCORD, N.C. – Jamie McMurray may have missed qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but that didn’t stop him from having one of his strongest runs of the season.

After winning the Sprint All-Star Race in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway, McMurray came back to finish third for an encore performance in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.

Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kyle Larson also had a good night, finishing sixth.

“It was a really good night for our whole group,” McMurray said in the post-race press conference. “We certainly went through a couple of really tough years as our group at Chip Ganassi Racing, and it’s so great right now to have both cars run that well every single week at a lot of different type racetracks.

“I was not only thrilled for our group but also for the 42 car (Larson’s) and just everybody. This is a big weekend for all the race teams. There’s a lot of crew guys that get to bring their kids here to watch their dads or their moms work that sit in the stands, so that’s pretty special I think for Kyle and I to have a good showing.”

Larson might have finished in the top-five, but scraped the wall late in the race, slowing his forward progress and momentum.

“I was chasing on the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and catching him, and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was catching me,” Larson said. “I didn’t want to give up second and started driving harder and entering faster.

“I just entered a little bit too fast and just rolled too quickly and scraped the wall what felt like barely, but I must have flattened the right side enough to mess me up and hurt our chances.”

Even though both failed to make the Chase, that doesn’t keep McMurray and Larson from battling hard with those that made this year’s Chase.

“Kyle and I, when we sit in our team meetings and talk, it’s just about trying to win,” McMurray said. “We have a completely different type of pressure on us than what Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon and these guys.

“They’re kind of having their own little race, and Kyle and I are just going out every week and trying to win.”

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