Jamie McMurray has yet to find the right words.
Days have passed since he outlasted Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap of Sunday's Daytona 500, since he waved the checkered flag in jubilation and pumped his fists, and still, McMurray has trouble describing his accomplishment.
"I've been talking about it for two days now and I still can't really explain it to you guys," the 33-year-old said during a media luncheon in Manhattan Tuesday.
"I think until you actually get to experience everything that goes with it, you don't realize how special it is and how big it is . . . I always thought winning the Daytona 500 was about the race. But there's so much more that goes along with this."
McMurray led the final two laps of the race, which was halted twice for more than two hours for pothole repairs on the Daytona International Speedway track. He crossed the finish line .119 seconds ahead of Earnhardt Jr. in his No. 1 Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. It is the team he left for Roush Fenway Racing after the 2005 season but reunited with after being cut by Roush four years later.
With just one win, the driver it seemed few wanted has been transformed into a media magnet.
"I was a train wreck," McMurray admitted with a laugh, referring to his emotional postrace interview.
He enjoys chronicling his fairy-tale journey on Twitter with the help of his camera phone. But McMurray told reporters there is one image from Sunday's fateful race that will be etched in his mind forever.
"I ran over and got the flag and as I was coming back, I saw the 'Daytona' in the infield and below it said '500.' And that's kind of when everything started really making sense to me that I won this race," he said.
"Of anything that I remember, it's running out there and leaning down to that and patting my hand on it. And that's the one picture that I want from all this. Crossing the start / finish line is cool . . . but that was my moment. You're all by yourself, and it's something I'll never forget."