Jamie McMurray to visit storm-torn Joplin

May, 28, 2011

CONCORD, N.C. -- Jamie McMurray will return Thursday to his hometown of Joplin, Mo. Or what's left of it.

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Joplin Stop Sign
Mario Tama/Getty ImagesThe tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., on Sunday reportedly damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,000 structures.

A tornado devastated the town earlier this week to the point McMurray wasn't initially aware that he was looking at his house in photographs sent by friends. At least 126 deaths have been reported with at least 150 people still missing.

"The only part left of my house was actually the address left on the front wall," McMurray said on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "But when you look at the pictures of the house, there's no background. There are no trees or homes or landmark in the background to define what you're looking at.

"Really, the tornado took the whole neighborhood out."

McMurray and his sponsors are doing what they can to help to raise funds to aid in the relief effort. McMurray will carry a Convoy of Hope sticker (see convoyofhope.com for more details) on his Bass Pro Shops car in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 to help generate donations.

He hopes to raise money during his trip on Thursday. It's one of many efforts the NASCAR community has done to help Joplin and other areas dealing with tornado destruction.

Say what you want about NASCAR, when disaster strikes, it reacts with a huge heart.

"There's something special about your hometown," said McMurray, who no longer has family in Joplin. "It's just hard to explain. I wanted to go there on my own and just see everything. I've been glued to the TV for the last six days just watching everything and trying to remember what things looked like before.

"So I want to go there and see it for myself."

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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