McDowell on Daytona/Kentucky"We are coming out of Daytona with mixed feelings. Obviously we are disappointed with how the night ended, getting caught up in a crash. But I'm proud of how we ran. We had a really fast car, ran up front, led laps and earned stage points. We were a contender for the win up until that late accident. It was encouraging and a confidence boost even if it didn't go our way in the end.
"Now we've got our Love's Travel Stops/Roller Bites Ford back at another intermediate track, where we've also seen some improvement in our program. I spent a few days at Kentucky doing the wheel force test. It’s a fun racetrack. It’s still treacherous. The groove has not widened out. They’ve drug tires, they’ve done all those things, but it’s still very slick. It isn’t until you get about halfway through the race, you start to build the confidence to move around. You’re really walking on egg shells the first half of the weekend. We see a lot of cars spin out by themselves there or get up in the gray and get into the wall. You’ve got to be aggressive, but you can’t miss the line by six inches because you might make a mistake."
McDowell Kentucky Stats
Best finish: 23rd
Saturday, July 14, Noon - Love's Travel Stops (976 Hwy 1039, Sparta, KY)
Saturday, July 14, 4pm - Ford Performance Display (Kentucky Speedway Fan Zone)
No. 34 K-LOVE Radio Ford
Started: 8th | Finished: 26th (accident)
"It’s just plate racing. We lost a little bit of track position and that just put us in the back there and everybody is fighting hard for the same real estate at the end. But I’m really proud of everyone at Front Row Motorsports because we had a really fast car. I was able to push Ricky (Stenhouse) to both the first stage and second stage wins, and we finished second in the second stage. We overcame a lot and got within a few laps of being in position and couldn't finish it.”
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 26th | Finished: 21st
"The team did a great job -- strategy, pit stops and everything. We took a 25th-place car and almost ran top-20, so I'm pretty happy with that. We've got work to do to find speed, but the execution was great today. We got the most out of our Love's Travel Stops Ford."
McDowell on Chicago"With the new date on the calendar this year for Chicago, It’s going to be hot. And in Chicago, we always have the chance of those afternoon thunderstorms. It used to be for that race, it was starting to cool off. Obviously it’s going to be very different when we go back this time in July. But it’s the same for everybody, so everyone will adapt.
"The track is fun. The line has moved out over the years. But it has bumps. They have harsh winters in Illinois, which creates more bumps, which is kind of fun. It’s got good character. People think of the mile-and-a-halfs as ‘cookie cutter,’ thinking they’re all the same. But they’re all so unique, and Chicago in particular is really unique."
McDowell Chicago Stats
Best finish: 30th
Sunday, July 1, 10am - Youth Autograph Session (Kids Zone - Wristbands available at 9am)
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops/Roller Bites Ford
Started: 22nd | Finished: 21st
"We had a fast Love's Ford, and things seemed to be going our way for the first two stages -- we even got some stage points. But in the third stage, our strategy didn't play out the way we wanted it to. We definitely could've used another caution to be able to get fresh tires and pass some more cars. But I'm proud of the effort and the team and what we brought to the track this weekend."
McDowell on Sonoma"Sonoma is another race we circle at Front Row. At superspeedways, we know we have fast cars, and if you put yourself in the right spot at the right time, you can get a good finish. It’s possible, but everything has to go your way. At a road course, if you have speed, you can set your own destiny. So, the hope isn’t to go there and stay out of the mess and luck into one. The hope is to go there, qualify in the top five and be a true contender to challenge for a win.
"I feel like extra emphasis from everybody at Front Row Motorsports, Roush Fenway and Ford Performance can give me the best chance possible to score a victory at one of the road courses. We'd love to take Love's Travel Stops and Roller Bites to Victory Lane, and Sonoma is definitely a place I think we can do it."
McDowell Sonoma Stats
6 starts, 1 top-15
Best finish: 14th
No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford
Started: 23rd | Finished: 25th
"I didn’t want them to call the race. I wanted to keep going. I had gotten a pit road speeding penalty, so I was at the tail end of the field, and I felt I had some ground to make up. But we struggled today, just fought it all day long. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board a little bit. I think when we come back here, it’ll be a different package. But we’ve got some work to do for sure."
McDowell on Michigan"Michigan is one of the toughest tracks we go to now. It’s always been fast, but it wasn’t as daunting as it is now. Our cars are so on the edge there and nervous on entry. As we’ve pulled off all the downforce over the last three to four years, Michigan is where you notice it the most. Coming to a mile-and-a-half and you’re a little free in, it’s manageable. At Michigan, you’re hanging on for dear life. The cars are a handful, and that’s made racing there a challenge. Getting your car to drive well is very important. But you can’t take speed out of it to do it. It’s a balance. The drivers want more comfort and the crew chiefs want more speed.
"Qualifying well and keeping track position are super important. You’re already on edge by yourself, and then you put your car in a pack and it’s hard to make moves. It’s hard to make passes, especially when you’re at similar speed to the cars you’re racing. So, strategy comes in for sure. We’ve seen that race be a fuel mileage race. There’s always a plan going into Michigan: How do we get off strategy and maybe steal a win?"
McDowell Michigan Stats
Best finish: 23rd
Sunday, June 10, 10:50am - Ford Performance display (Michigan International Speedway Fan Zone)
No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford
Started: 30th | Finished: 21st
"That was a long day. We had to overcome a lot of adversity. Problems with the track bar motor, cool box, fire under the dash, got spun out on pit road and pitted the car backwards. With everything that happened, our team kept digging and we got a decent finish. A top-20 would have been nice, but we got passed at the line there by the 14."
Team FRM PR