Jamie McMurray knows how to unwind before kicking off a new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and that's by racing at historic Daytona International Speedway.
For the second straight year, McMurray, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is competing in Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket World Karting Association races.
As a kid, McMurray spent many Christmas holidays with his family in Daytona Beach racing karts at DIS with dreams of competing in NASCAR one day.
With that dream accomplished, McMurray, who won the 2007 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at DIS, now enjoys returning to his karting roots when there's time on his schedule.
"I love golf -- once every two months," McMurray said. "I go through a spell where you play a week of golf but it hurts my back and my knees. I don't play a lot of golf anymore but this is the one thing that I have found that I just love."
On the first day of Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket, McMurray was tooling away on his kart in the infield of Turns 3 and 4 with hundreds of other karters. He has two karting friends - DJ Silva and Gary Carlton - assisting him along with his father Jim, who has raced karts at DIS since the mid-1970s.
He also upgraded his pit area from last year with a new trailer that he purchased from fellow NASCAR competitor Jeff Burton.
"I come down here and I want it to be fun and I want to have a good time and I don't want it to be stressful," said McMurray, whose father Jim is sitting out the races this year to assist his son. "Having the help and doing this with dad and all this cool stuff makes it laid back."
McMurray also enjoys the little things about karting and that includes the drive from North Carolina the day after Christmas.
"My dad and I left 8:30 in the morning after Christmas," McMurray said. "I drove the whole way. This might sound odd but I wouldn't want to drive to Cup races but I missed the fact of stopping at a truck stop and experiencing that. It's different.
"I don't know if I missed it but I wanted to experience all of that again and I had just a great time experiencing that with my dad. My dad and I we fight like crazy and 10 seconds later it's all good but just little things like stopping at the truck stop or dealing with traffic."
Sunday was only a practice days for all the karters. McMurray will compete in a single race on Monday and Tuesday in the Sprint Championships on the half-mile sprint track located in the infield between Turns 3 and 4.
Tickets for Daytona KartWeek by Cometic Gasket are available at the Turn 1 tunnel, Ticket Booth E. Race tickets for any Daytona International Speedway events are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP