Love’s Travel Stops Extends Successful Partnership with Front Row Motorsports into Sixth Season, Plans for 18 Races with McDowell
STATESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 22, 2017) – The Love’s Travel Stops and Front Row Motorsports partnership will extend into a sixth season in 2018. The familiar yellow and red Love’s paint scheme will return to the No. 34 Ford Fusion for 18 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races with driver Michael McDowell.
The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company will adorn the No. 34 for a half-season schedule that includes the season-opening Daytona 500, both races at the company’s home track of Texas Motor Speedway, the Bristol Night Race and the Darlington Raceway throwback weekend.
The 2018 season marks a sixth straight year of successful partnership between Love’s Travel Stops and Front Row Motorsports. Love’s has progressively grown its NASCAR marketing program with the team, incorporating its employees, customers and business partners into its success.
“We look forward to kicking off another great season in Daytona with Front Row Motorsports and welcoming our new driver of the No. 34 Love’s Ford, Michael McDowell,” said Dave Frankenfield, vice president of marketing for Love’s Travel Stops. “Bob Jenkins and Jerry Freeze continue to provide great value and flexibility in our partnership while working tirelessly to put a competitive car on the track each week. They also help create a unique race-day experience that allows our customers and employees to be a part of the Love’s race team.”
Love’s Travel Stops is family-owned and operated with more than 440 locations in 41 states, offering clean, modern facilities stocked with fuel, food and supplies for travelers. McDowell, a 10-year veteran of the series, looks forward to being an ambassador for Love’s both at the track and away from it.
“I know first-hand what it’s like to drive a motorhome all over the country with my family on board,” says McDowell. “So, I know how important it is to have a clean and safe place to stop at any hour of the day to fuel up, grab some snacks and whatever else we need on a road trip. Love’s has all of that, both for regular consumers like me and for professional truck drivers who make a living out on the road.”
The Love’s Travel Stops team will make its first on-track appearance of the year during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway next month. The No. 34 team will compete in the Can-Am Duels, the qualifying races for the Daytona 500, on Thursday, Feb. 15. The Daytona 500 is scheduled to run on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m. ET and will air live on FOX.
Finley Named Crew Chief
Derrick Finley will be the one calling the shots atop the No. 34 pit box in 2018. Finley has been named crew chief for McDowell’s team after serving in the same role for Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 team in 2017. The veteran crew chief has been with the organization since 2011.
For more information about Front Row Motorsports, visit teamfrm.com. For more information about Love’s Travel Stops, visit loves.com.
About Love’s Travel Stops:
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Founded in 1964, Love’s has more than 440 locations in 41 states. Love’s provides professional truck drivers and motorists with 24-hour access to clean and safe places to purchase gasoline, diesel fuel, travel items, electronics, snacks and more, as well as a selection of restaurant offerings. On-site Love’s Truck Tire Care centers offer roadside assistance, tire care and light mechanical services for professional truck drivers. Showers, CAT scales and other services for professional truck drivers are also available. Love’s, which remains family-owned and operated, employs more than 20,000 people. To learn more, visit www.loves.com.
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops/Roller Bites Ford
Started: 28th | Finished: 23rd
Final Driver Points Standing: 31st
"I thought we made some really good adjustments on our Love’s Ford midway through the race and improved on it. I think we would’ve had an even better finish had my brakes not kind of faded and I lost my advantage because of it. But it was a solid run to cap off the season."
Cassill on Homestead"I really enjoy Homestead. The tire fall-off is tremendous, and the cars get really loose on the long run. I tested the wheel force car there, which was beneficial because I’d never tested at Homestead before. Hoping it can help our Love's Travel Stops/Roller Bites team when we go back.
"It’s always a bittersweet race to go to because it always feels like the last day of school. But with the way the final four racing for the championship has shaken out, and knowing how Homestead always races, it's sure to be an exciting race. Fans will want to pack the stands for this one."
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops/Roller Bites Ford
Started: 32nd | Finished: 24th
"We had a pretty good Love’s Travel Stops/Roller Bites Ford. We just needed to be a little bit better to stay on the lead lap. And the way the race played out, it wasn’t very conducive for wave-arounds to give us the chance to get laps back. But we had some good speed and also gained some spots on pit road, so it was a solid top-25 day for us."
Cassill on Phoenix"We've been bringing some pretty good cars to the racetrack the last few weeks. We've definitely made some gains and have had some decent results. I'm looking forward to getting our Love's Travel Stops/Roller Bites Ford on track Friday. Phoenix is a fun track, and I think we can run well there this weekend.
"The upcoming changes for Phoenix are going to be wild. I think it’s a great move. NASCAR and ISC have already made some great changes there. It was a great racetrack before the last repave, but I can absolutely say it’s just as good since they repaved it. So, it'll be cool to see how the additional improvements make it even better."
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops/Speedco Ford
Started: 22nd | Finished: 26th
"We had a pretty good car. Our Love’s Travel Stops/Speedco Ford was best at the beginning of the race and toward the end of the race. We needed to be a little bit better in the middle part of the race to take better advantage of the cautions. I think with a little more luck there, we could’ve been a few spots better. But it was a pretty good weekend for us. It had decent speed off the truck, and I’m proud of our team for that."
Cassill on Texas"Texas was a phenomenal racetrack before the repave, and I think it’s going to work its way to being a phenomenal racetrack after the repave. It’s another track where I did the wheel force test and learned a few things. It’s just a real challenge because Turns 1 and 2 are flatter than 3 and 4. It’s pretty different. Turns 3 and 4 feel pretty similar, but there’s still a lot more to learn now.
"We've had good runs the last couple weeks at Kansas and Martinsville, so we want to keep that momentum going. Texas is also a home race for our partner Love's Travel Stops and their new brand Speedco. So, we want to have a good day for them and all their guests."
Cassill on Martinsville"Martinsville is one of those tracks that Front Row Motorsports always look forward to. The team's had some good runs there, and we always like to see what we can bring there. I drove the Ford wheel force car at a test in Martinsville a couple weeks ago. And while it’s more about learning about the tires and not trying things to make the car go faster, I learned a few things that I think I can apply. We'll have CSX back with us promoting the message to 'Play It Safe' around railroad tracks, so we definitely want to have a good day with them.
"Everybody keeps talking about racing under the new lights at Martinsville. I think it would be fun. I don’t know that they could schedule a late-day race in March or October, though. I grew up racing in Wisconsin, so for me, there’s nothing wrong for the driver to race in 40-degree weather. But maybe not so much the fans."
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops/Speedco Ford
Started: 31st | Finished: 23rd
"That was a decent day for our 34 team. I thought we had a shot at a top-20 finish if we could just get one caution at the end, but unfortunately it never came. Our Love’s Travel Stops/Speedco Ford wasn’t bad throughout the day. We are always looking to improve on intermediate tracks, and we definitely will have some new set-up ideas heading to Texas."
Team FRM PR