NASCAR: Jamie McMurray lands 2021 Daytona 500 ride

Jamie McMurray, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie McMurray, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Jamie McMurray is set to return to NASCAR for the first time since 2019 to compete in the 2021 Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500.

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season was the first season since 2001 that did not see Jamie McMurray compete in any races, and the year 2020 was the first since 1997 that did not see McMurray competing in NASCAR on some level.

The 44-year-old Joplin, Missouri native stepped away from full-time competition after the 2018 season and returned for the 2019 Daytona 500, but he hadn’t been back in a stock car since.

Following his departure from full-time competition, he made the move to Fox Sports to serve as an analyst for Fox NASCAR.

But in 2021, he is set to step away from the booth for one race.

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McMurray is set to return to the Cup Series to compete in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with Spire Motorsports behind the wheel of the #77 Chevrolet.

McMurray, the 2010 winner of the “Great American Race”, competed for Spire Motorsports in his one-off Daytona 500 effort in 2019 as well. He is set to be sponsored by AdventHealth, which served as Spire Motorsports’ primary backer in two races last year and is a current team partner of McMurray’s former team, Chip Ganassi Racing.

Here is what McMurray had to say about the matter in a release.

"“It doesn’t get any better than the Daytona 500, and I am so excited to have the opportunity, thanks to AdventHealth, to run this race one more time. I have enjoyed my time out of the car as an analyst covering NASCAR, but nothing can replace the feeling of actually racing.”"

In 17 career Daytona 500 starts, McMurray’s 2010 win is his only finish inside the top 13, but he did lead laps at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked oval in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2019 before being taken out of competition in a late wreck and finishing in 22nd place, which was ironically the team’s best ever finish until their huge upset win at the track later that season with Justin Haley.

McMurray is set to be a teammate to Corey LaJoie, who is slated to compete full-time for Spire Motorsports throughout the 2021 season behind the wheel of the #7 Chevrolet.

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Because the #77 Chevrolet is a chartered entry, McMurray is guaranteed a starting position in the 63rd annual Daytona 500, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 14.