Mcmurray Returns To Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Jamie McMurray returned to Daytona International Speedway for the first time since winning the Daytona 500 on Tuesday to take part in the annual Coke Zero 400 Media Day.

McMurray was joined by 2010 Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam for the event as the two tried each other’s professions.

The day started with McMurray and VanDam taking a Bass Pro Nitro Z-9 boat out on Lake Lloyd for a fishing session.

"Kevin schooled me pretty much, he caught two and I didn't catch any," McMurray said. "But that was expected, he's a professional angler and I'm not. It's been a lot of fun watching him fish."

After fishing, McMurray and VanDam battled the media, including myself, in the speedway's annual karting challenge with high-performance karts from the Richard Petty Driving Experience in the infield between Turns 3 and 4.

The event was set-up with two heat races with the top three media members in each race advancing on. McMurray and VanDam competed in all three races.

The challenge was no problem for McMurray, who still races karts and has made appearances during Daytona Kart Week, as he cruised to victories in the second heat race and the feature.

MotorRacingNetwork.com was up to the challenge as I headed into the event as the defending winner after defeating 2009 Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth. I was able to edge McMurray for the checkered flag in the first heat race, but in the finals I finished third behind VanDam and McMurray after passing the five media members throughout the five-lap feature.

But even with the third-place finish, I was able to hold on to my media title and celebrate with McMurray and VanDam in Victory Lane.

"I was told to look out for you, they said you beat Matt (Kenseth) last year," McMurray said to me after the race. "That was a lot of fun."

McMurray was surprised at the level of competitiveness in today's races that were similar, at times, to this past weekend's race at Infineon Raceway with cars spinning and getting off track.

"You can see it in the eyes of the people when they get out there, who's going to try and who's not," McMurray said. "But yeah, I think that's fun. That's what makes racing so great is how competitive you are when you get in the karts.

"It doesn't really matter who you're racing or what you're racing, I want to win at everything I do. I even race people on the Interstate when they don't know it."

With another karting victory in the bag, McMurray now turns his attention to next month's Coke Zero 400 where he will try to become the fifth driver in Daytona history to sweep both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in the same year.

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