tampabay.com

McMurray gets first pole in nearly 2 years

By wire services
Published July 24, 2005


LONG POND, Pa. - Jamie McMurray has the pole for Pocono and a job for next year.

He's only really happy about winning the top starting spot.

McMurray turned a lap of 168.761 mph in his No. 42 Dodge Saturday for his second career pole and first since the final race of the 2003 season. While McMurray celebrated the top spot in today's Pennsylvania 500, he's unhappy that Chip Ganassi Racing has picked up the option on next year's contract.

McMurray will leave Ganassi after his contract expires to drive the No. 6 car for Roush Racing in 2007, but hoped he could make the jump after this season. The 29-year-old did not talk about some of the specifics that will keep him with Ganassi for another year, but pledged his full commitment to the team.

"I don't think anyone wants to drive all 500 miles and not give all you can," he said.

Kurt Busch starts second in his Ford today, turning a lap of 168.533 and Mark Martin was third in the No. 6 Ford at 168.383.

McMurray, whose best start this season was fourth and has two second-place finishes, needs a strong showing today to make a move in the Chase for the Championship.

He fell 16 points short of qualifying for the playoff system last year and would miss the cut this year - he's 439 points behind Jimmie Johnson and in 11th place.

BUSCH: David Green grabbed the lead on the second-to-last lap and held off polesitter Clint Bowyer to win the NASCAR Busch Series' ITT Industries 250 Saturday.

The ninth Busch win of Green's career was his first since Oct. 4, 2003 - a span of 60 races.

"I knew he was coming, but I didn't have any idea he was coming that fast," said Bowyer, who led 152 of the race's 250 laps.

Green, who won the Busch Series title in 1994, earned $89,846 for the win after finishing just 0.572 seconds ahead of Bowyer.

Busch Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. finished fourth.

TRUCKS: Points leader Dennis Setzer won one by luck last night at Kentucky Speedway. Setzer didn't make it to the front until the final six laps, but held off Todd Bodine in a two-lap shootout after leader Terry Cook blew a tire.

Setzer recorded his third series win in four races in the green-white-checker finish in the Built Ford Tough 225 on the 1.5-mile oval.

David Reutimann was third, followed by Mike Skinner and Ted Musgrave.

IRL: With just eight races remaining in the season, Dan Wheldon's competition is closing fast. Four drivers, two from Andretti Green Racing and two from Marlboro Team Penske, have moved into the championship picture. The Penske drivers, Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves qualified 1-2 Saturday for the A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. It will be Hornish's third pole start. Wheldon will start fourth.

F1: Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in qualifying for the German Grand Prix to gain his fourth pole position of the season. Jenson Button finished second in a BAR-Honda in 1:14.759. Fernando Alonso, the Formula One series leader after 11-of-19 races, was third in his Renault in 1:14.904.

NHRA: Larry Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel with a run of 4.54 seconds at a top speed of 326.40 during the first day of the CarQuest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways on Friday night. ... Eric Medlen earned the top spot in Funny Car with a 4.735 pass at a top speed of 323.12 mph in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang.