Random Race Recap: Michael McDowell at Daytona Road Course

The Random Race Recap wheel picked Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell for this week.  As he headed to the Daytona Road Course, he was noticeably pumped for this inaugural NASCAR race.

The Random Race Recap for the week followed Michael McDowell through the twists and turns of the Daytona Road Course.

No doubt, Michael McDowell wanted to turn heads as the Cup Series tackled the Daytona Road Course for the first time. (Photo Credit: Front Row Motorsports)

While no one had any idea what to expect, drivers learned what they could from the Xfinity and Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series races. Everyone anticipated wrecks and aggression. Given that NASCAR Cup Series teams were provided with rain tires for this event, some hoped for rain.

Without further ado, let’s check out the twists and turns of the DIS Road Course Random Race Recap.

Stage 1

Pre-race, McDowell, who was ready to put his 24 Hours of Daytona experience to good use, told his team, “Let’s have some fun!” 

He did not let his starting position deter him. Rolling off p30 in his Chicago Pneumatic Compressors Ford Mustang, he quickly worked his way through the field to P18 within four laps. 

About this time McDowell told his crew, “It’s go time. I gotta go!” He proceeded to methodically pick off cars, gaining four more spots before crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer called his driver in on lap 12.

After hitting the track for the final few laps, the stage came to an end with McDowell in P19.

Without a doubt, McDowell's previous road course experience was an asset to the No. 34 team at the Daytona Road Course.

Laser-focused, McDowell rolled off P30 and brought home a hard-fought top-10 finish for FRM. (Photo credit: Chrissi Luttrell / The Podium Finish.)

Stage 2

Under caution, Blickensderfer made the choice to keep his driver on track to gain track position. This decision allowed McDowell to restart P10.

A great deal of jumbling shuffled him forward to P7 on the opening turns. While teams watched storm cells inch closer on the radar, the stage stayed green. Another later stop in the stage forced McDowell to finish P13.


Stage 3

Once again, Blickensderfer kept his driver on track during the caution. Doing so allowed McDowell to restart the final stage in P5. 

As Brad Keselowski stalked him, McDowell quickly worked his way to P3. In the middle of a turn, Kevin Harvick slid through the grass and just missed McDowell’s right side. 

McDowell was stalked by Brad Keselowski through the twists and turns of DIS Road Course. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Just as McDowell was getting into a rhythm, the red flag was waved for lightning in the area. 

Once the delay was lifted and cars were rolling, McDowell lost a little ground. The field was shuffled as drivers learned what their cars had after sitting on pit road in changing weather conditions. 

Within a few laps of the restart, Blickensderfer told McDowell he was the “second fastest car on the track.” 

His spotter, Rocky Ryan, encouraged him saying, “There’s a long way to go. Get back in your rhythm.” After McDowell’s stage 3, green flag stop, Ryan said, “Don’t overthink it. Do what you do.”

After the field cycled through their stops, he sat P5. Unfortunately, he was trailing 21 seconds behind the leader.

With six laps remaining, Kyle Busch hit the wall. After leaving debris covering the track, the caution flew for clean up. Blickensderfer debated on whether or not to stop, and ultimately called McDowell in and stated, “We’re here to win.”

The track was cleared and the green flag dropped with three laps to go. In an impressive finish, McDowell restarted P19 and worked his way through the field to finish P10.


Closing Laps

It was a bittersweet moment as the race concluded. Obviously, McDowell felt this was his chance to finally get that elusive first win. However, a day full of TV time and a top-10 finish was nothing to be upset over. 

Blickensderfer apologized for the call over the scanner, saying, “I thought we’d have a couple more chances.”

However, McDowell enthusiastically encouraged his team, saying, “Solid, solid, solid job!”

Post-race, he took to Twitter to share what a great day it was for the No. 34 team as he brought home his third top 10 of the season.


Be sure to follow Michael McDowell on Facebook. He will often take followers along during iRacing practice sessions. Additionally, keep up to date with all the FRM happenings on Twitter, including sponsor announcements and giveaways.

Next up is a Dover Doubleheader. Stay tuned for a double-dose of Random Race Recap next weekend.

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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