McDowell Rolls Off Ninth At Bristol

Michael McDowell & Jamie McMurray

Michael McDowell may not have qualified on the front row—the Busch brothers did that—but his ninth-place effort during Friday’s time trials at Bristol Motor Speedway meant the world to Front Row Racing.

The addition of McDowell to an organization that already included two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner David Ragan seems to have formed a critical mass that is evident in the team’s performance.

When McDowell takes the green flag in Sunday’s Food City 500, he’ll be well within sight of the leaders. McDowell’s ninth-place qualifying run is a personal best at Bristol and the best-ever for Front Row.

“I was thinking about that (Friday), about what it means to an organization like ours, a smaller organization,” McDowell said after Saturday’s first practice at Thunder Valley. “It’s not just a confidence-builder. It gives you life inside the competitive side of things. It gives you hope, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment and gratification… and that there will be moments where you can capitalize.

“For us, you build a season off those moments.”

Another such moment occurred on Saturday, when Ragan, who had qualified 23rd, topped the speed chart in final practice.


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