LONG POND — Jamie McMurray won NASCAR’s Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and banked a million dollars 10 days ago.
Tuesday he was shaking down his car on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway for next Sunday’s Pocono 400.
“When I woke up the morning of the (All-Star) race, you think about getting to race for a million bucks is pretty awesome,” McMurray said. “To be one of those guys, to line up on the front row in the last 10-lap segment, you know you have a realistic shot.”
The Joplin, Missouri, driver was testing with his Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) team after coming off a great two weeks at Charlotte. McMurray recorded a top-five finish in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Alongside him at CGR is his rookie teammate Kyle Larson, who never turned a lap at Pocono until today.
“I gave him (Larson) a ride around here and told him about the little things what I always thinking about when I come to Pocono,” McMurray said. “I gave him some ideas about where the braking zones are and the shift points and restarts.”
Larson’s day at Pocono didn’t start off as planned, as he missed a shift on the track and his team had to change the engine and transmission.
The 21-year-old isn’t fond of repaved tracks, as he prefers worn-out ones. He finished runner-up to Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, a worn-out surface, in March.
“I wish I got to race here before they repaved it,” Larson said. “It seemed like it was a really cool track before. It’s really fast into (turn one) and have to down-shift into third (gear), so it’s really tricky and challenging so it makes it fun for us.”
Both McMurray and Larson have shown a lot of speed this season, but the results haven’t come with it.
“The frustrating part is the races that things have went wrong running in the top-five, which are the days you need everything to go right” McMurray said. “Running well is the hardest part of this sport. The luck comes in ways.”
The same luck can be said for his teammate.
“We have been pretty fast every week,” Larson said. “This weekend at Charlotte we finished 18th, but we were a lot better than that. I think we were a top-10 car, just got down a lap early and blew a right-front tire and went down another lap.”
Larson’s Coca-Cola 600 weekend started off with a bang by winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte on Saturday.
Last August, Chip Ganassi named Larson as the driver of the No. 42 Target car for 2014 season, replacing Juan Pablo Montoya, who now drives IndyCars for Roger Penske.
The rookie driver also stated that Pennsylvania has the weirdest race tracks, which may have earned him the quote of the day.
After the Coca-Cola 600, Larson sits 13th in Cup points, as McMurray is back in 23rd.
The Pocono test will conclude Wednesday as 12 Cup cars will take to the track and is open to the public. It will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weather permitting.