By Mark Beech
July 31, 2009

So Jamie McMurray is free to look around for other options for 2010. This hardly comes as a surprise, though I'm sure McMurray finds it more than a little unfair seeing as how he currently leads teammate David Ragan by 10 spots in the Cup standings. Yes, McMurray's mired in 20th place, but shouldn't those 10 positions count for something?

Unfortunately for McMurray, in this case, 23 beats 10. Ragan, you see, won't turn 24 until December, and based on his 13th-place showing in 2008, team owner Jack Roush is banking on potential. McMurray, 33, has been on NASCAR's All-Potential team since 2002, when he won in only his second career Cup start. But since then, he's won just once, and has apparently used up the last of his goodwill at Roush Fenway.

It's a shame, really, since few drivers have seemed closer to cashing in on such enormous promise. McMurray looked like he had finally turned a corner late last season, when he was one of the strongest drivers in the Chase despite not being in the Chase. He ran off five top-10 finishes in the last 10 races, including a run of four in a row to end the year. He entered 2009 nearly a consensus pick to qualify for NASCAR's postseason for the first time.

But after a middling start this season, he's suffered through a brutal summer. His last top-10 finish came on May 2 at Richmond, and he's finished no better than 11th in any race since. With Roush having to cut back to four cars in 2010, somebody had to go, and it appears he's through waiting on McMurray to bust out.

So what happens now? McMurray is too much of a pro's pro to have to worry about entering next season without a ride. But it's not likely to be with a team that's as powerful as Roush Fenway. Cup racing is a young man's game these days. And McMurray's too old for teams to be betting on his potential any longer.

4: Finishes outside the top 30 this season for driver Kyle Busch

5: Finishes outside the top 30 for Busch all last season

14: Current Cup standing of Busch, who is 82 points outside 12th place

22: Busch's best finish at Pocono in his last three starts

Oh, my stars and garters. I had no idea this kind of thing was happening on the Youtubes. What kind of a racing fan am I? Check it out.

Wow. Just wow. I'm not worthy.

This one, I think, is my favorite. Embedding has been disabled for some reason, but please, do yourself a favor and follow the link. I'm not sure it truly qualifies as "stop motion," but it doesn't really matter. I love everything about this. The tape on the carpet. The fact that Danica is part of the field. The furniture in the background (Do I spy a toy box?) And the cotton balls, the generous, glorious use of cotton balls.

Also of excellent quality is this replay of the Flin Flon 500 (you heard me), complete with announcing, sound effects, and in-race comments from drivers. Plus, more excellent use of cotton! Somebody's mom is going to be seriously cheesed off.

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