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An emotional, very emotional Jamie McMurray...and after winning the biggest race of his career, he's got every right....

  Jamie McMurray celebrates in Daytona's victory lane (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   At the end of the day, which went much, much longer than anticipated, NASCAR's Brian France got what he wanted – a tense, thrilling, exciting Daytona 500, to kick off the new stock car racing season.
   But it was a long strange trip from the 1:20 p.m. ET start of the sport's biggest event through the next six hours and 10 minutes until Jamie McMurray – clearly emotional through the post-race victory celebrations – finally came out on top...and head to head against some of the best in the business, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle.
   McMurray took advantage of NASCAR's new green-white-checkered rules, which allow up to three attempts to finish a race under green.
   And McMurray also got a break with a big push on the final restart by former teammate Biffle, to outfox Harvick at the green. Harvick had shown the best car in the field, and he had the lead for the restart.
     After it was over and they'd all crossed the flag, McMurray – given NASCAR's rush of new rules – still wasn't quite sure: "You wait for the cheers on the radio....but there was silence," McMurray said with a laugh.
    " I'm trying to be genuine and as sincere as I can and not sound cliché. As a kid growing up, this is what you dream of, of being able to win the Daytona 500.
      "I won the July race here....really close racing with Kyle Busch.
    "But here, coming off of turn four, seeing the checkered flag, knowing there's not going to be another green-white-checkered, you're going to be the Daytona 500 champion, I can't explain to you.
     "It's very emotional. I don't know that I've cried like that.
     "I've kept trying to compose myself. I couldn't get it back."
     Indeed he was emotional. But then McMurray has had a ragged career, and after a stint with Jack Roush that for whatever reason didn't pay off, now he's back with his old team owners...and running Richard Childress horsepower.
    "When Greg pushed me to the lead going into turn three, we got checked out a-ways," McMurray said of the surprising spurt away, given Kevin Harvick's strength.
    "I thought there were two or three in a line. Typically when you get two or three in a line, if the guys are running two-wide behind you, you can gap them.
     "I knew we were going to have to run another lap or two, and it was going to be over.
     "Greg got a huge run down the frontstretch. He got by me. I don't remember exactly everything that happened between the start/finish line for the white, then coming to the checkered.
      "But I got a big run down the backstretch again.
    "Then I looked in my mirror and saw Dale Earnhardt JR. I'll be honest, I was like 'Shoot. This guy has won a lot of races here. His family has an incredible history here.'
      "I believe everything happens for a reason....I just was like 'I hope this isn't his turn to win the Daytona 500...I hope this is mine.'"
   And it was.
   Still Earnhardt was closing fast.
  "You can't tell when you look out of the back of the car how fast they're closing," McMurray said. "You can't tell the rate they're closing.
    "I was looking at the start-finish line, then my mirror, then the start-finish line: thinking 'I don't think he's going to be able to beat me to it.'
    "Then the flag stand is so bright I couldn't tell what flag they were waving either. As I'm going by, I'm like looking: I can't tell if that was the checkered flag, the white or green.
     "We had so many green-white-checkereds, I didn't know exactly what was going on at that point.
     "Then you wait."
      Then you can celebrate the biggest victory of your career.


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And Teresa Earnhardt gets the

And Teresa Earnhardt gets the last laugh.....lol

Mike, Any comments or


Any comments or rumblings from Jack Roush about McMurray's win. I bet the Cat in the Hat is second-guessing himself now.

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