The team began the weekend in Charlotte with a solid set-up after their 13th place finish at Kansas Speedway. McDowell was able to make it to the second round of qualifying and was 21st fastest in that round, where he would start the race on Sunday.
During the first stage of the Coca-Cola 600, McDowell began the race by quickly moving into the Top-20. He made his first green flag pit stop just after the halfway mark of the first stage, which would put him one lap down.
McDowell finished the first stage a lap down and raced there during the second stage until rain plagued the mile and a half track just as the halfway mark of the second stage arrived, red-flagging the field.
When the track officials finished drying the track, McDowell restarted the race as the first driver a lap down and made a pit stop before the green flag fell with 21 laps left in the second stage.
At the end of the stage, McDowell earned the Lucky Dog spot, which put him back on the lead lap for the start of the third stage, where he would race in the Top-25 and made it as far as 19th.
At the start of the final stage, McDowell broke into the Top-15 before having to make another green flag pit stop with just under 40 laps to go, as Crew Chief, Todd Parrott, let him know over the radio that he would be about four laps short on fuel.
McDowell made his best lap of the race with just under 30 laps remaining and went on to finish 19th, as the field raced into Memorial Day.
“Sunday was a solid race for us,” said McDowell. “The strategy at the end just didn’t quite work out, but we were running in the Top-20 and finished in the Top-20, so it was a good day overall. 600 miles is a long race, but our LFR team did a great job all weekend.”
Next up for LFR and McDowell, is Dover International Raceway, where they look to extend their streak of Top-20 finishes.
“Dover is a hard race,” said McDowell. “I think it is the hardest race we go to. It’s like a big Bristol, and for us, it’s a track that we haven’t quite nailed down yet. So much has changed, though, since Todd Parrott came on at the end of last year, so it’s really hard to judge based off of past runs.
“I feel like every time we go to a racetrack we have a fresh start and a new opportunity with better cars and better people. Dover is a place where if you get the car right, you can have a good day. Staying on the lead lap there can mean a Top-15 finish, so that is a huge part of racing there.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!