Jamie McMurray will not compete under the Roush Fenway Racing banner in 2010 as the team downsizes from five to four full-time cars next year in order to comply with NASCAR rules.
The leading Ford team in NASCAR had been running five cars in the top series for the past few years but this season was the last one in which it could do so, with regulations for next year enforcing a four-car limit. This week the squad announced that McMurray's current sponsor Crown Royal is set to move to Matt Kenseth's car for 2010, following the recent news that DeWalt, the former Sprint Cup champion's long-time backer, would not be return next year.
The other three drivers from the team, last year's championship runner-up Carl Edwards, race-winner Greg Biffle and David Ragan are all set to stay put in their respective entries.
Although McMurray could be moved to Yates Racing, which has a technical partnership with Roush and is located in close proximity, the 33-year-old could be headed elsewhere.
"I'm happy that the 17 has a sponsor for half of the season next year so they only have another half season to sell, but I'm disappointed for Jamie and whatever he's got going on," said McMurray's teammate Matt Kenseth. "I think he knew for a while that he was the team and driver that would be moving to Yates, if they could keep that team funded, but we still haven't brought another new sponsor into the organization, so it's still a concern for the organization."
McMurray is now believed to be the leading candidate to land the vacant seat in the #1 car at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2010, where Martin Truex Jr. is set to leave at the end of the season to join Michael Waltrip's outfit.
Back in 2002, McMurray made his debut in the Sprint Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing, making an immediate impact by scoring victory in only his second race for the team while replacing injured veteran Sterling Marlin. A year later he won the rookie of the year honors, and in 2004 he then went on to finish 11th in the standings with a very consistent season in which he scored 23 top-10finishes, although no wins. He then remained with Ganassi until 2005 when he signed with Roush, winning his only race for the team at Daytona in 2007.
McMurray is currently 20th in the standings, ahead of Truex who ranks 24th.