TALLADEGA, Ala. – Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wasn’t the only driver who made a strong move on the final lap of Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
After Stenhouse took the lead from Kyle Busch, thanks in part to a push from Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray threaded the needle between Johnson’s Chevrolet and Busch’s Toyota to vault into second place.
McMurray held the spot, trailing Stenhouse to the finish line by .095 seconds and beating Busch to the stripe by .004 seconds.
“It’s really circumstantial as to what the guys do in front of you, and what is happening behind you,” said McMurray, who posted his best finish since running second at Martinsville in the fall of 2015. “I just got a run at the right time.”
McMurray shouldn’t sell himself short. Acknowledged as an adept restrictor-plate racer, he claimed the most recent of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories at Talladega in the fall of 2013.
“This has been a really good track for me, and I haven’t been able to finish here the last couple of years, so really happy with that,” McMurray said. “We had good pit stops. (Crew chief) Matt (McCall) did a great job calling the race.
“The guys are building really good cars. It’s interesting, because in year’s past, I feel like this is always a track that you thought you could win at and gain great points. And we have run so well at so many tracks this year, this was a track that I just wanted to survive at, so we could get to another track and race.”