KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Jamie McMurray has lunch every day with his dad. They play golf together. They ride go-karts.
They're not just father and son, but best friends.
And this week, they shared an experience of a lifetime, spending three days bass fishing with crew chief Bono Manion and Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, which is the primary sponsor of McMurray's Sprint Cup team.
"Life is good right now," said Jim McMurray.
How could it not be? Jamie won NASCAR's two most prestigious races this season — the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400.
His wife, Christy, is expecting a son in December, and Jim McMurray can't wait to put his grandson in a go-kart, the way he started Jamie as an 8-year-old in Joplin, Mo.
But it's going to take a win in Sunday's Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway to top the fun they had at Morris' Black Oak Lodge on a 4,000-acre site with five major bass lakes in southwest Missouri.
"It was probably one of the most special weeks we ever spent together in our life," said Jim McMurray, 63. "We caught 20, 30, 40 bass every morning and every evening for three days. Some of the fish were in the 3- and 4-pound range.
"The best part of it was Johnny was with us, we cooked the fish we caught that day, and the last evening Johnny had elk. We cooked elk. It was great. We laughed the whole time, from the time we got there to the time we left.
"It's hard to measure how close you are with your children, but Jamie and I probably are closer now than we've ever been."
Once Jamie McMurray made it to Sprint Cup on a full-time basis in 2003, his dad moved from Joplin to the Charlotte, N.C., area to be near him. Jim even drove Jamie's motorcoach from race to race for four years.
"My dad still always refers to how I finish is how we finish," Jamie said. "He certainly is into this as much as anybody."
Sometimes that leads to some backseat driving.
"It was hard when I was around 18, 19 and started racing on my own for him to give up being in control," said Jamie, who qualified 22nd for Sunday's race. "We still have father-son arguments every single day, just like normal.
"My dad and I pretty much know everything. Our arguments are usually 10 seconds of laughing with each other."
The elder McMurray, a retired salesman of race-car parts, is a rather accomplished racer himself. He ran funny cars and top-fuel cars and still competes in road races in go-karts at major tracks, including Talladega, Heartland Park Topeka and Daytona — where he won a year before his son did.
Jamie has learned some valuable lessons from his dad, especially how to take care of his equipment.
"I'm pretty conservative, and so is Jamie," Jim said. "People who have a lot of wrecks put themselves in position to have a wreck. Jamie is not that kind of driver. You make it three-wide all the time, and eventually you're going to get crashed. If you use your head, you'll finish the race, the car will be in good shape. There's a lot to be said for drivers who can keep their cars in one piece. Car owners love them. It saves them a lot of money."
A year ago, this time, Jamie McMurray wasn't sure if he'd have a car owner in 2010. He was squeezed out at Roush Fenway Racing when NASCAR began limiting teams to just four cars. But when Martin Truex Jr. left Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, that left an opening for McMurray to rejoin the team he began with in 2002 when he shocked NASCAR by winning at Charlotte in his second career start as a sub for an injured Sterling Marlin.
"Being at Roush was tough," said McMurray, who was overshadowed by Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. "Coming back (to Ganassi), it seems to fit my personality real well. You get along with everybody."
Plus, with Ganassi, he inherited the sponsorship of Bass Pro Shops, which happens to be headquartered in Springfield, near McMurray's home.
Before the 2010 season started, McMurray went fishing with Morris.
"Some guy was kidding around fishing with us," Morris said, "and asked, 'Jamie what are you going to do with your life?' And Jamie said, 'I'm going to win the Daytona 500, and by golly when he did, that was probably the proudest time in the history of the company.
"To me, it was Jamie, where he was coming from, having some struggles, and the fact Jamie is from our backyard in Missouri . . . I could never have dreamed things have gone as great as they have."
Despite winning Daytona and the Brickyard in July, McMurray has yet to qualify for the Chase. He had 10 top-10 finishes this season, including second place at Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte and third at Bristol and New Hampshire.
But 11 finishes of 20th or worse left him at 14th in the standings.
"It's two different battles," Jamie McMurray said. "Winning those (big) races is one weekend, and being in the Chase is about being consistent for the first 26 races. We just weren't consistent enough. I wouldn't trade winning those races to be in the Chase."
But winning at Kansas Speedway would rank right up there. McMurray won the pole and finished fifth at Chicagoland, which is a 1.5-mile trioval comparable to Kansas, so he has a chance on Sunday.
"Aside from getting to make a pit stop at Johnny Morris' farm, I'd love nothing more than to come out of here with a victory," McMurray said. "The folks from Bass Pro Shops are sending a bunch of people out here, my parents are here, some of their friends from Missouri are here, so it would really be awesome to cap this amazing week with a great finish, and certainly a victory."