Jamie McMurray might be enjoying his cushy studio job at Fox NASCAR, but when the 2021 Cup Series season begins with the Daytona 500 in February, he will trade in his broadcasting chair for the driver’s seat once again. On Tuesday, Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports announced the 2010 Daytona 500 winner will drive the #77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the 2021 race.
It will not be McMurray’s first dance with Spire, having raced for the team in their début race in the 2019 Daytona 500. In what is his most recent start in NASCAR, he finished twenty-second after caught in a late wreck.
From 2003 to 2018, he raced full-time in the Cup Series for Ganassi and Roush Fenway Racing, winning seven races and recording a best points finish of eleventh in 2004. In 2010, his first season back at Ganassi after spending four years at Roush, he won a pair of Crown Jewel events with the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. Of his seven Cup wins, five have come at superspeedways, including the summer July race in 2007 and thrice at Talladega; his last victory was at the 2013 fall Talladega event.
“It doesn’t get any better than the Daytona 500, and I am so excited to have the opportunity, thanks to (sponsor) AdventHealth, to run this race one more time,” McMurray stated. “I have enjoyed my time out of the car as an analyst covering NASCAR, but nothing can replace the feeling of actually racing.”
Spire, also a winner at Daytona thanks to Justin Haley in the 2019 July race, is fielding the #7 on a full-time basis for Corey LaJoie. While McMurray is in the #77 for the 500, drivers for the other thirty-five races have not been revealed though Haley will likely be back for a few events. Both cars possess charters, one of which came from the recently-shuttered Leavine Family Racing, and are locked into the 500 regardless of qualifying and Duel result.
Incidentally, while McMurray is presumably not running the following week’s race on the Daytona road course, he has won on the circuit before. In 2015, he and CGR won the overall Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. On a more fitting note, the 2021 Daytona 500 will take place on 14 February, the same day that McMurray won the 2010 race.