Crash puts McMurray out in front

Posted: Sunday, November 03, 2002

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Jamie McMurray's great luck continued Saturday with his second straight Busch series victory, achieved because leaders Jeff Green and Michael Waltrip wrecked each other with one lap to go.

McMurray scored his first Busch win last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- after leader Joe Nemechek ran out of gas on the last lap. And, subbing for the injured Sterling Marlin, McMurray set a Winston Cup record last month at Lowe's Motor Speedway by winning in just his second start.

''I cannot believe the luck we've had,'' McMurray said. ''Once again we did not have the best car. But we had a top-five car and we were in the right place at the right time.''

Just like the other two wins, McMurray's victory in the Sam's Club 200 was a total surprise. He was running third, watching Green and Waltrip battle for the lead ahead of him.

Green, who led 133 laps, was running away with the race when an accident involving Hermie Sadler and Kerry Earnhardt brought out the red-flag with seven laps to go.

That set up the battle between Green and Waltrip, which picked up intensity with three laps to go when Waltrip tried to bang Green out of his way. He finally pulled alongside Green coming out of the third turn at North Carolina Speedway, but couldn't get by him because Green's car slid down and made contact with him.

The two cars went into a full spin and McMurray coasted by for the win.

''I thought we were going to run third,'' McMurray said. ''We had settled for that and were just going to be happy with that.''

Greg Biffle finished second to give him a 212-point lead in the Busch standings over Jason Keller with two races to go -- enough of a margin to almost guarantee him the title. His excitement was tempered by the astonishment of McMurray's win.

''He's been in the right spot two weeks in a row, and sometimes it better to be lucky than good,'' Biffle said. ''As for me, the most important thing is I think I've won the championship and that's a pretty neat feeling.''

Randy LaJoie finished third, followed by David Green and Stacy Compton.

Jeff Green wound up sixth and Waltrip was seventh.

Each blamed the other for the wreck.

''Michael is trying to win like I am and he got a run and I thought I gave him enough room getting into (Turn) 3 and he says I didn't,'' Green said. ''I think I did. I felt like if we got through that corner, he would be back behind me. He got loose and got into the side of me and we both spun out.''

But Waltrip said he was cut off.

''He cut me a little short, I didn't have enough room to get into 3,'' Waltrip said. ''I cleanly got up beside him, had the position and didn't overshoot the turn, just knew he was in trouble out there on the outside. I dove in there at the bottom and he dove in there and tried to cut me off.''



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