Jamie McMurray energized with fourth-place Richmond finish

RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 26:  Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Energizer Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 26: Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Energizer Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

For a while Sunday, it appeared that the only car that could challenge Kurt Busch for the Toyota Owners 400 win was Jamie McMurray.

McMurray started ninth in Sunday’s rain postponed race, but as the event settled into a nearly 100-lap green flag run, McMurray hustled his way to the front, taking the lead momentarily on Lap 259, and then again on Lap 262 for three laps, before heading to pit road for a routine stop.

When a caution flag flew shortly before the stops cycled through, McMurray found himself a beneficiary of the free pass, but having to climb from behind once again. The Joplin, Missouri native made his way back to second, but had to settle for fourth at the race’s conclusion.

“Well, this Energizer Chevy was just good on the long runs,” said McMurray who jumped to ninth in points after his fourth top 10 of 2015.

“It was a lot of fun to get to be the guy that had the speed at the end. Kurt’s (Busch) car just took off so much faster than ours. I’m really proud of our guys. We had a little bit of a hiccup in the pits at the beginning, and those guys did a good job of brushing that off and giving me good pit stops toward the end.”

McMurray’s energizing performance not only gives momentum to his Chip Ganassi Racing team, but also sends a message to his competition that a win and, more importantly, a possible berth into this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup may not be too far off the horizon.

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