2011 Stats: Points Finish 27th, 0 Wins, 2 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens, Average Running Position 20.6, Average Finish 22.2, Laps Led 106, Driver Rating 71.0
In 2010 Jamie McMurray won three races and had a career year. In 2011 he reached new career lows. He only finished in the top ten four times (career low) and in half the races he failed to finish in the top twenty (15, career low). His 27th place points finish was also a career low.
Nothing seemed to go right for McMurray and he had a lot of tough breaks. It’s unquestionable that he’s a talented driver but his results on the track are what pays fantasy points and that hurts his fantasy viability.
Strengths- McMurray is what I call a “skill driver”. Look for his best results to come at tracks where the race is decided by the driver and not the team engineer. Three of his four top tens came on tracks that I would define as “skill tracks” (Darlington, Martinsville, and Bristol).
Weaknesses- Consistency has always been an issue with McMurray throughout his career. On fast high-speed intermediate tracks in 2011 McMurray only finished in the top fifteen once! The core of the schedule is based around these tracks and this is a significant problem.
Intermediate Track Grade- C+, Fast intermediate tracks were a consistent struggle for McMurray and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing as a whole. His 2011 results were a far cry from how he looked at times in 2010. He did fair a little bit better at Darlington (9th) and Dover (20th and 14th). Until EGR shows notable improvement on this track type I can’t responsibly recommend him at any intermediate track with the exception of Darlington.
Flat Track Grade- C, McMurray finished 4th at Indy but all of his other flat track results weren’t good. He had no other top fifteen finishes on this track type. On the smaller flat tracks he typically ran better than he finished.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B, McMurray is always a good sleeper pick at plate tracks. Last year all of his finishes fell between 18th and 29th, but I think his fantasy viability is perhaps the highest on this track type.
Short Track Grade- B, McMurray is a “skill driver” and that’s why he’s good on this track type. He had top ten finishes at both Bristol and Martinsville last season. At Richmond he finished 14th and 18th but he ran better than he finished. His mid race running position in both races was 10th.
Road Course Track Grade- B-, I believe McMurray is a skilled enough road course racer to get a win on a serpentine track but I can’t look at his overall numbers and grade him any higher than this. He only has one top ten at Infineon and two top tens at Watkins Glen.
How to use Mark Martin from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? I would focus on using McMurray at skill related NASCAR tracks. In a allocation based league I would use him at short tracks and plate tracks.