McMurray takes aim at getting back on track

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Normally behind the wheel, Jamie McMurray found himself behind other instruments Wednesday afternoon.

"Sometimes it's signing autographs, sometimes it's fishing in the big tank and sometimes it's archery," McMurray said during a visit to Sevierville's Bass Pro Shops.

The 2010 Daytona 500 champ showed that he can do more than just drive, as he showed his hand at archery, as well as laser gun shooting.

Bass Pro Shops is one of McMurray's primary sponsors in the Sprint Cup series.

While McMurray joked and laughed with those in attendance during his visit in Sevierville, the 2011 season hasn't been all smiles for the Earnhardt Ganassi driver.

"When you're struggling, it's not fun," McMurray said.

McMurray put together a memorable 2010. He became just the third driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year. Last October, he also won at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"Last year we had this unbelievable season and this year it's like the exact opposite."

Opposite to the tune of no wins, no top 5's, and just two top 10's in 17 starts this season. McMurray is 27th in the Sprint Cup points standings and is in serious danger of missing NASCAR's postseason.

"Certainly with NASCAR you can win the Daytona 500 one week, and then struggle the very next week," McMurray said. "There's always a challenge. We just have to get a little more consistent when the cars unload. The tires have been a huge issue for us this year and we just have to figure it out."

While winning has eluded McMurray this year, reality has not.

A native of Joplin, Missouri, McMurray says there isn't a day that doesn't go by that he doesn't think about those affected in his hometown. A May tornado devastated the city, killing over 150 people.

McMurray visited Joplin in the days following the tornado.

"To see how beat up their bodies were from being in the storm and getting hit with debris and then to hear the fear in their voice, that becomes real. It's not on TV. It's not on the Internet. It's not on a picture, it's real. It's human."

"Then when you see some of the kids that were killed in that, and you just became a parent, it's a completely different perspective that you have on what happened to everyone there."

McMurray helped raise roughly $300,000 to help the victims of the tornado. He says he stays in contact with Joplin city officials, in case more help and assistance is needed.

During McMurray's appearance, representatives from Bristol Motor Speedway announced that one fan will have a chance to win $1,000,000 when the Sprint Cup series rolls into Thunder Valley August 27.

If McMurray wins the Irwin Tools Night Race at the famed track, someone will walk away with a million bucks.

Saturday night, McMurray will look for his first win of the season at Kentucky Speedway.


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