Chasing The Underdogs

Chasing The Underdogs: Michael McDowell, FRM Lead the Way at Daytona

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(Photo: Michael McDowell Twitter)

Michael McDowell is no rookie when it comes to running in the Daytona 500, but the veteran driver earned his best career finish in the race on Sunday evening from Daytona International Speedway.

McDowell and his No. 34 Love’s Travel Stop’s Ford for Front Row Motorsports qualified in the 34th position after finishing 18th in the second of two qualifying duels that took place last Thursday evening.

McDowell wouldn’t spend long towards the back of the field, he consistently spent most of The Great American Race running within’ the top-15, with less than 20 laps to go he was running in the 7th position. As the final laps of the race came to a close he was hanging tough in the top-5 running order and ultimately led the way for the underdogs.

The 34-year old’s 5th place finish in the Daytona 500 is a career best. His previous seven starts had only amounted to a career best finish of 9th which came twice in 2013 and 2018.

However, McDowell does have a career best finish of 4th at DIS in the July race, a 4th place result coming in 2017 when he was racing the No. 95 Chevrolet for Leavine Family Racing.

McDowell’s 5th place finish on Sunday wasn’t without some headlines.

Fellow Ford driver Joey Logano who races the No. 22 for Team Penske was confused as to why McDowell would leave his bumper, change lanes and push a Toyota during the final lap of one of the biggest races of the year.

McDowell stood by his decision at the end of the race saying “My team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win. That’s not what I get paid to do.”

McDowell went on to say, “At 200 mph, I made a split-second decision about who had the fastest car, and that’s where I went. I wanted to put myself in the best spot to win the race, and the Fords weren’t that friendly to me this weekend, said McDowell.”

The Phoenix, Arizona native is still looking for his first win in NASCAR’s premiere series. McDowell has 286 Cup starts since 2008 with 7 top-10’s and his best finish in the points being 26th.

McDowell, was happy with his 5th place finish, taking to his Twitter account that evening.

Here’s how the other underdogs fared in the 2019 season opener:

Ty Dillon, 6th
Ryan Preece, 8th
Ross Chastain, 10th
Parker Kligerman, 15th
Corey LaJoie, 18th
B.J. McLeod, 19th
Brendan Gaughan, 23rd
Landon Cassill, 24th
Matt DiBenedetto, 28th
David Ragan, 30th
Matt Tift, 36th
Chris Buescher, 37th
Bubba Wallace, 38th
Cody Ware, 39th
Casey Mears, 40th

Next up the MENCS heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 set for February 24th at 2:00pm EST on your local Fox station or you can listen on PRN.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah is going into her third year covering NASCAR for Rubbings Racing as well as helping run their Social Media platforms. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah is an avid racing fan as well as a fan of the major New England sports teams. She is currently studying Public Relations and Marketing at SNHU with plans to move to North Carolina after graduation. Sarah also enjoys visiting her home track of NHMS each year, reading, running and photography.

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