In 2002, Jamie McMurray made his debut as a driver in what is now called the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series at Talladega. One week later, he won his first race at Charlotte.
McMurray raced in six races towards the end of the 2002 season, coming back in 2003 for his first full-time year in the Cup Series. McMurray is now 41 years old and knows that he's only got a little bit of time left before it's time to walk away from the sport he loves. After seeing Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. step down at the end of last season, it made things easier to come to terms with, he told NBC Sports.
McMurray began racing against Kenseth in 1994 when the two were driving Late Models.
Over the past few years, several of the drivers people have grown to love and cherish have left the sport -- whether it be on their own terms, or the terms of others. Those include Kenseth, Earnhardt jr., Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle.
McMurray expressed his feelings towards his future in NASCAR as well as the departure of his long-time friend and foe.
"With Matt this year, it probably hit home the most, just because I'm such good friends with Matt." McMurray said. "I know how much he loved racing. It was awesome he was able to win at Phoenix this year in his last year."
McMurray went on to say he was somewhat sad to see those guys (Kenseth and Earnhardt) go because they came in just a few years ahead of him.
"It's kind of sad, honestly," McMurray said. "I came in not long after those guys, so your days are somewhat numbered."
While he can't predict what the future has in store for him, he would like to continue to race for at least a few more years.
"My goal is to be able to race for maybe four more years, maybe a little bit more," McMurray said.
If things work out the way he wishes for them to, he'd be 45 years old by the time he retired, the same age as his buddy Kenseth. McMurray hasn't won a race since 2013, but has managed to make it into the playoffs each of the past three years.
There appears to be some gas left in the tank of McMurray, now its time to see what he can do with it.