From a numbers standpoint, Kyle Larson’s victory at Michigan last Sunday made life more difficult for his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jamie McMurray.
With the win, Larson eliminated a playoff spot that otherwise would be available on points, leaving McMurray concurrently in the last Chase-eligible position with two races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season.
McMurray holds a 15-point lead over Ryan Newman, who was shuffled out of Chase eligibility by Larson’s victory. But the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet finds solace in his consistent performances this season—and in the recent speed his organization has found.
“As an organization, our cars are better right now than they’ve been all year long,” McMurray said. “At the beginning of the year, we did a really good job of making sure (we) finished and finishing better than we ran most of the race.
“That kept us in a position to be in the Chase. Obviously, with (Tony) Stewart being able to pull off the win at Sonoma, and Chris Buescher in the rain delay and then Kyle winning last week … that has put a little more pressure on the three or four guys that are fighting for one of the last spots to get in.
“But we’ve run so well the last few weeks. I’m going to two tracks (Darlington and Richmond) that, historically, I’ve run pretty well at. So if we don’t have anything crazy happen, we’re going to be in really good shape.”