McDowell on Las Vegas"Each intermediate track is different. Atlanta is very different than Vegas. Vegas is high speed, very treacherous, cars are twitchy. You feel like you’re on a qualifying lap every single lap. Then you go to California and you’ve got 17 lanes. Throw Phoenix in there, and after the West Coast swing, you get back after those races and you know where you’re at as a race team.
"You know where your short-track program is, you know where your intermediate program is. You know where you are on rough racetracks, you know where you are on smooth surfaces. And that’s where everybody goes, ’OK, here’s what we’ve got to work on. Here’s where we’re good, here’s where we’re bad.’"
McDowell Las Vegas Stats
Best finish: 18th
Current points ranking: 15th
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 17th | Finished: 24th
"It wasn't our best day. We fought the car pretty much the entire race. We never felt like we had it down in practice, so we were kind of up against it the entire weekend. We still salvaged a top-25 and got some points, so that's the positive."
McDowell on Daytona"Daytona was great for us. We had a fast Love’s Ford all day, we earned stage points in every stage and came home with a top-10. It was a great start to our season. But, for me, Atlanta is when the season really starts. Daytona is obviously big and it’s important, but you don’t know what you have until you get to Atlanta. Everybody works their guts out in the off-season with procedures and processes trying to find speed, and then you get to Atlanta and you see where you’re at. So, everybody’s anxious to get there and get Friday going.
"Atlanta’s a tough place. It’s worn out, tire wear comes into play and a lot of other variables. But the good thing is it’s Atlanta -- it's been the same the last few years and it gives you a good indication of where you’re at."
McDowell Atlanta stats
Best finish: 29th
Current points ranking: 6th
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 22nd | Finished: 9th
"We had our ups and downs today for sure. I am thankful to get stage points in each stage. It takes a top-10 finish and makes it like a top-five. We had a fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford. Unfortunately we had a little mishap on pit road and lost a lap because of it, and we fought our guts out to get that lap back. I'm thankful to get out of Daytona with a top-10. Derrick Finley and the guys all did a great job."
McDowell on Daytona"I'm really excited to be here and to have laps under my belt in the Love's Ford. We had pretty smooth practices -- just a few growing pains on my end, getting things fine-tuned. We were working on the shifter and all the things you get used to over the years, because they change when you go to another team and another car. But everybody did a good job, and practice went pretty smoothly, and we're ready for the Duels and the 500.
"It's crazy that the Daytona 500 is going to be my 250th Cup start. There have been a lot of great drivers that have come through the series, and I feel very fortunate that I'm still here and have another opportunity this year. To make 250 is awesome, and to do it at Daytona is special. I've got a lot to look forward to this year and hopefully I can make it count."
McDowell Daytona Stats
13 starts, 1 top-5, 4 top-10s
Best finish: 4th
Milestone for Michael
The 2018 Daytona 500 will be McDowell's 250th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start.
Thursday, Feb. 15, 3pm - Ford Performance display (Daytona International Speedway Fan Zone)
Team FRM PR