DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jamie McMurray ended a massive losing streak in dramatic fashion, beating Kyle Busch by a bumper to the finish line of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night.
McMurray snapped a 166-race winless streak by drag racing with Busch for much of the final two laps at Daytona International Speedway. The cars appeared to touch several times on their final trip around the famed track, and McMurray nosed across the finish line a mere 0.005 seconds ahead of Busch.
It denied Busch a shot at a rare double victory -- he won the rain rescheduled Busch Series race 12 hours earlier -- but finished second in the main event.
McMurray drove off to Victory Lane for the first time since 2002, when he scored his only career victory as a replacement driver for an injured Sterling Marlin in Charlotte. The win came in McMurray's second career start, a NASCAR record, and anointed him as the sport's newest star.
But expected success never followed as McMurray struggled through the next four seasons. Those down times were not lost on him in an emotional Victory Lane.
"I always said for five years, however long, there would never be another victory like Charlotte," McMurray said. "And you wait so long to win. Every driver out here can tell you how special it is. I started crying, and I said, 'Why are you crying?' Because I was so happy."
The Associated Press News Service