Jamie McMurray dodges a bullet

Jamie McMurray. (Getty Images)

JOLIET, Ill. – On Lap 168 of Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400, Jamie McMurray had the sort of nerve-wracking experience that could have ruined his chances to advance in the NASCAR Playoffs. Coming off Turn 2 at 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, McMurray spun, flattened his right rear tire and damaged the right rear quarter of his car. But McMurray persevered, stayed on the lead lap and finished 10th. That and a litany of troubles for other playoff drivers kept him in 11th place in the standings, five points clear of 13th place.

“There were a lot of issues for people in the Playoffs, it looked like,” McMurray said. “So 10th-place isn’t bad. I think we finished 10th in one of the stages as well. I don’t know what happened on the backstretch.

“I think I just didn’t give the No. 31 (Newman) enough room, and it got me turned around. We were lucky the caution kind of fell right, and then we had a pretty fast car as well. We were faster probably at the beginning than we were at the end, but overall it was a good way to start the first race.”