It was a battle to remember for NASCAR fans everywhere as Jamie McMurray beat Carl Edwards on the final restart of the final segment of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race from Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s McMurray’s first victory in the historic event and an emotional McMurray spoke on Fox Sports1 in victory lane.
“As a kid that’s what you want to do,” McMurray said. “Have a shootout at the end and win.”
McMurray did just that as he restarted on the outside lane after his team got him out second after the final pit stop and he restarted alongside Edwards for the final 10 lap shootout. It took two laps and a great battle but McMurray was able to finally clear Edwards and pull away from the field for victory. In the process McMurray took home the $1 Million prize for the victory.
Kevin Harvick finished in the second position and was closing in on McMurray but ran out of laps in the closing stages finishing 0.7 seconds back. Matt Kenseth finished in the third position with Dale Earnhardt Jr coming home fourth and Carl Edwards finished in the fifth position.
The race started with Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch on the front row for the first segment. Edwards led early in the segment but on lap 10 Busch passed Edwards and Busch led throughout the remainder of the segment and won with Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick right behind.
After a round of pit stops in which Denny Hamlin stayed out during pit stops, it was Hamlin along with Brad Keselowski to lead the field to green to start segment two. On lap six of segment two, Carl Edwards passed Hamlin for the lead and began to pull away. That was until Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer made contact that resulted in Busch going up the racetrack and making contact with the outside wall hard. Joey Logano would be collected in the incident and both drivers were done for the night. Busch finished 21st while Logano ended up 22nd.
The race restarted with Edwards in front but on that restart A.J. Allmendinger would crash hard into the inside retaining wall ending his day in the 20th spot. Allmendinger finished second in Friday’s Sprint Showdown to transfer into the Sprint All-Star Race.
On lap 13 of the second segment Edwards was still in front. However, three laps later Kasey Kahne would show his muscle for the first time. Kahne passed Edwards with ease and would pull away to a huge lead as the second segment came to a close. Kevin Harvick finished segment two in second with Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch rounding out the top five.
Segment three started with Jamie McMurray in front. McMurray stayed out after some of the leaders pitted and remained strong in the front of the field. He would lose the lead on lap seven of segment three to Kasey Kahne, who suddenly had the best car of the evening. Kahne led throughout the remainder of segment three with Harvick, McMurray, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth following Kahne.
Pit stops occurred with Jamie McMurray coming out first after taking two tires with Brad Keselowski second. On the opening lap of segment four Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr and Greg Biffle crashed hard after something broke on Gordon’s Chevrolet. McMurray led when the race restarted on lap eight of segment four and led until lap 16 of the segment when Kevin Harvick passed McMurray for the lead. On lap 18 of segment four Ryan Newman slapped the wall hard and had to pit after the contact. Harvick would end segment four as the leader but not before Kasey Kahne slammed the outside wall in his Chevrolet. Kahne had one of the fastest cars of the night but the damage was too bad for Kahne to be a factor after it. He finished 14th.
Coming down for the final pit stops the cars were set by their average finishing position from each segment. That meant that Kevin Harvick led the field down to pit road with McMurray, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr following him.
Carl Edwards, who came into the pits from the fifth spot, beat everyone off of pit road after the mandatory four tire pit stop due to a fast stop by his crew and the number one pit stall which was earned by winning the pole. Edwards would be followed by McMurray, Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.
On the final restart Edwards put up a big fight with McMurray as the two ran side-by-side but at the end McMurray was just too strong for Edwards.
The win means Jamie McMurray will be locked into the Sprint All-Star Race through 2024.
The race is a preliminary non-points event in advance of the Coca-Cola 600 which will be on Sunday, May 25th.
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