With the news confirmed on Tuesday that Kurt Busch will be replacing Jamie McMurray with the Chip Ganassi Racing organization in terms of the No. 1 Chevrolet, that seals McMurray’s fate in terms of behind the wheel activity with the team.
That’s not a surprise though. This was long rumored and one that McMurray has an offer to race the Clash and the Daytona 500 in February. After that, his new role that was offered to stay with the team was an advisory role.
It’s one that Chip Ganassi says that McMurray will take.
“I do expect Jamie (McMurray) to stick around, yes,” Ganassi said during the conference call announcing Busch’s arrival with the team on Tuesday. “We will have some announcements to come soon on that subject.”
But, why this role and why now? If you’re not familiar with this subject with this team, he has Josh Wise, a former driver, in a management role in NASCAR and Dario Franchitti in IndyCar. Why the influx of former drivers in advisory roles?
Ganassi, has big reasons to why.
“You have to look at Josh (Wise) or Dario Franchitti,” said Ganassi on why these roles work. “Any time you have guys that are current in the sport, it’s an opportunity. That’s what guys like Josh and Dario and Jamie can bring. They’re the most current guy that may not be driving for a reason or whatever, and that’s invaluable. One little piece of advise or tidbit of information can be invaluable. It’s having a quality person around that’s current. This business changes so much from year to year at the grassroots level of NASCAR. It’s invaluable to have people that are current.”
The ‘500 will cap a long career for McMurray with CGR. The Missouri native spent 13 of his 17 Cup seasons with Ganassi. CGR has 11 Cup Series wins, five of which belong to McMurray including the special season in 2010 where he won both the Daytona 500 as well as the Brickyard 400 too.
When looking back at McMurray’s career with Ganassi, the team owner says that it started off as good as one can.
“It starts off with a storybook entrance to Cup back when Sterling (Marlin) got hurt there,” Ganassi said. “Jamie (McMurray) came on at Talladega and he was running out front before we ran him out of gas. After that was Charlotte and he won. Anytime you have an entrance to the sport like that your foundation.
“Building upon that, two or three wins leading up to 2010 there, he won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard in that kind of storybook year that the organization had. Jamie has a nose for the front of the pack. He’s the type of driver and he wakes up and can get to the front. I want him to continue on with our organization and in the coming week you’ll find that out. He’s a kind of guy that you can take a lot of stock in the success of our organization and in the future. He’s the kind of guy that brought a level of maturity to the organization when it was needed.”