NASCAR driver Michael McDowell earned his career best finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ (NSCS) Goody’s 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.
This 18th place finish marks McDowell and Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing’s (CSLFR) ninth Top-20 of the 2016 NSCS season and third Top-20 out of the last four races.
Although McDowell and CSLFR’s qualifying effort did not reflect how the weekend would end up, the team was confident that the 30th place starting position would only be temporary, as they knew the No. 95 Malwarebytes Chevrolet SS would be race ready on Sunday.
This proved to be true, as McDowell quickly moved into the Top-30 within the first few laps of the Goody’s 500. Although McDowell reported his brakes felt a little off after making contact with another car early in the race, there seemed to be little damage and no effect on his ability to drive the No. 95 Malwarebytes Chevy like he wanted to.
After the second caution of the day McDowell pitted under caution, moved into the Top-25 and would consistently run lap times similar to the leaders for the remainder of the race.
After another caution, McDowell was able to pit for adjustments and restart 22nd, but reported his brakes still felt different from the initial contact early in the race. The team decided to keep an eye on the brakes but told McDowell not to hold back during the remainder of the race.
During a long green flag run in the closing half of the race, McDowell worked up to the 19th position and would remain in the Top-20 for the remainder of the 500-lap event.
At the conclusion of the race, McDowell reported he was feeling ill and needed medical attention. He was brought to the infield care center where he was treated for dehydration and burns on his feet.
“I got us in a little hole there during qualifying on Friday,” said McDowell. “I knew we would have to work hard, but we had a really fast Malwarebytes Chevy. Towards the end of the race I just didn’t have any brakes, and I was feeling dehydrated, so I knew we would just have to be smart and I had to push myself to the end. I am feeling much better now and am pleased with our solid finish this weekend.”
Crew Chief Todd Parrott is equally as happy as his driver and is proud of the hard work from his team.
“Our guys did a great job today,” said Parrott. “We got another great finish under our belt. It was an overall good weekend, and I’m glad Michael is feeling better. We are looking forward to getting another great finish next weekend at Texas.”
Next up for McDowell and CSLFR is the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, November 6 at 2 PM ET.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!