NASCAR Cup: Biffle, McMurray mark career milestones at Richmond
By AMANDA VINCENT
While the primary focus Saturday night in the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway will be the identity of the drivers who’ll be Chase for the Sprint Cup competitors, with those exact identities known at the checkered flag at RIR, Saturday’s race holds another significance for two series veterans — Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. Both drivers will mark their 500th-career Sprint Cup starts when they take the green flag at Richmond.
While both drivers made a handful of starts before 2003, both embarked on full-time Sprint Cup competition that year. In the 2003 rookie battle, McMurray came out on top by 37 points over “The Biff.”
Biffle worked his way up through the NASCAR national-level ranks with Roush Fenway Racing, competing for Roush in both the Camping World Truck and Xfinity series. He raced three full seasons in the Truck Series from 1998 to 2000, claiming the series championship in 2000. He then ran a couple of full seasons at the Xfinity Series level in 2001 and 2002, winning the title in that series in 2002.
Since joining the Sprint Cup Series on a full-time basis, Biffle has claimed 19 wins, posted 92 top-fives and 175 top-10 finishes in his first 499 starts. The first of those wins came in that first full season of 2003 in the July race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He most recently visited victory lane in 2013.
McMurray also was a Roush Fenway Racing driver at one point. He was a teammate to Biffle at RFR for four years between 2006 and 2009. McMurray was a two-time winner during his time at Roush.
McMurray’s time at Roush Fenway Racing was sandwiched between two stints with Chip Ganassi Racing. After time in the Truck Series with Mittler Brothers Racing and some time in the Xfinity Series with the now-defunct Brewco Motorsports, McMurray became a fill-in driver for the injured Sterling Marlin late in the 2002 season.
McMurray’s Cup career got off to a roaring start, as he became a Sprint Cup winner in only his second-career start, still as a fill-in driver for Marlin at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After three winless full-time seasons at CGR, he was released by the team and wound up with Roush. Ganassi wanted him back, though, a few years later, and McMurray returned to the fold in 2010, during a time when what was before and what is now Chip Ganassi Racing was Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.
Now, after 499-career starts in NASCAR’s top series, McMurray has to his credit seven wins, 57 top-fives and 139 top-10 finishes. His most recent win came in 2013. A few years earlier, in his first season back with Ganassi, McMurray has his, to date, only multi-win season. He made three trips to victory lane in 2010, with two of those wins coming in two of NASCAR’s biggest races — the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. He’s the only driver to win both those races in a single season.