McDowell on Talladega"Talladega is a race that we circle. David Ragan won there with Front Row Motorsports a few years back, with David Gilliland pushing. So, there’s a lot of pressure going to Talladega. I would love to tell you that that’s a great racetrack for me. But, for whatever reason, I miss all the wrecks at Daytona and I’m in every single one at Talladega. I’m hoping to break that streak because the last few years have been rough there. There’s great opportunity to be up front and steal some stage points, maybe put yourself in position to win a race and get a playoff spot for our Love's Travel Stops team.
"As far as working with a teammate, at Talladega you can be a little more strategic. At Daytona it’s harder because there we were three-wide for a long time, and the leaders were moving lanes. You’re so stacked up, it’s hard to get out of a lane and get into another one. But at Talladega, you can still work your way to the top, get hooked up with a few people, get coordinated. It just feels like you have a little bit more space and a little bit more opportunity to get organized."
McDowell Talladega Stats
14 starts, 1 top-15, 2 top-20s
Best finish: 15th
No. 34 K-LOVE Radio Ford
Started: 24th | Finished: 31st
"It seemed like we were fighting a bunch of obstacles this evening. We got a pass-through penalty early in the race under green, and we wound up trying to dig ourselves out of that hole the rest of the night. We tried a different pit strategy hoping that would help us out, and it didn’t work as we’d hoped. And all the while we kept working on our car’s handling. We’d hoped for a better finish for our K-LOVE team."
McDowell on Richmond"We're excited for Richmond because it's another track where Front Row Motorsports runs well, so we're looking forward to getting our K-LOVE Ford on track and see what we can do. With the reconfiguration, it drives more like a mile-and-a-half than it does a short track. But I believe it produces some of the best racing that we see. A lot of that has to do with tire fall-off, so you have to manage your tires well.
"You get long green-flag runs there, over 100 laps. You lose so much drive off the corner, that it creates good racing and great opportunity, and the track gets two- and three-wide. Richmond’s about being disciplined, taking care of your tires, and you’ve got to be really smart there."
McDowell Richmond Stats
14 starts, 1 top-15, 3 top-20s
Best finish: 12th
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 9th | Finished: 38th (accident)
"It’s just unfortunate. There are no excuses. I was just racing the 19 and got loose underneath him. There’s not a lot of grip. It rained all day and that VHT just doesn’t do well without heat. I was stuck on the bottom and that was about it. I really hate it for my guys. We had a fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford and just to be out this early is really heartbreaking."
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 27th | Finished: 14th
"We've had some bad luck and lost a lot of points, but today we had good luck and gained some points. We were pretty lucky to get through that first accident. We had a little damage but not bad enough. Not as bad as some of the others. We had a lot of people from Love’s here today, so it is exciting to get a top-15 run for them."
McDowell on Texas"Texas will be the first mile-and-a-half that will really show your speed, aero and everything else, just because it’s smooth and consistent. Atlanta you have big tire fall-off and big bumps. Vegas is bumpy as well. And California, a two-mile track, has lots of fall-off and lots of bumps. So, Texas is our first real benchmark of where you’re at with your mile-and-a-half program.
“Last year was great for me there. I qualified well both races. I have a good feel for the tire and for the cars there. Any time you have confidence going into a race track, it usually helps when you unload. And that’s just what we want for our Love’s Travel Stops team. Texas is a home race for Love’s. They’re headquartered just up the road a few hours in Oklahoma City, and they always have a nice big group at the Texas races.
“Since they repaved it, it’s been a new Texas. You’ve got to be precise, you’ve got to be willing to put your life on the line there and really hang it out. Any time we have these repaves, they’re pretty treacherous. But Texas has done a great job with it, dragging tires and doing all those things to kind of age it. And the grooves widened out way faster than we all anticipated.”
McDowell Texas Stats
Best finish: 21st
Saturday, April 7, 3-4pm - Love's Travel Stops (4800 E Hwy 114, Rhome, Texas)
No. 34 A&W All-American Food Ford
Started: 24th | Finished: 21st
"The long run was good, the short runs we struggled a little bit. We had a brake fan issue there that kept flipping the breaker, so I’m not sure if we got something stuck in it, but we didn’t have a whole lot of brakes left to challenge at the end. I don’t think it cost us a whole lot, maybe a couple spots, but every point matters. We still haven’t reached our potential, but we’re close to the top 20, so not bad."
McDowell on Martinsville"Martinsville is a great track for Front Row Motorsports -- a lot because David Ragan is very good there. He's got the program tuned in at Martinsville. So, I'm looking forward to it for that reason, to be able to learn a little bit off of him and his data. I've always managed the race well as far as brakes and long runs, but I've never qualified super stellar. So, hopefully I can pick that up and make the day a little bit easier. Normally if you start in the teens or 20s, you can have a pretty uneventful first half. When you qualify near the back, you have to work a lot harder.
"It's very physical at Martinsville. And very easy to make mistakes. The one nice thing about Martinsville is you get away with a few mistakes a race. Unlike Talladega or Daytona, where you just get it wrong by a few inches and cause a 'big one,' at Martinsville you just run in to somebody and knock the bumper in a little bit. But it's a grueling race for sure."
McDowell Martinsville Stats
14 starts, 2 top-20s
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford
Started: 22nd | Finished: 26th
"We fought a lot of things today. I think everybody did; it's just a slick track. More than anything, we just didn't have as much speed as we were hoping for all weekend. We've got to work on that. But we'll go back to the drawing board and get ready for Martinsville. Our team has a good history there, so we're looking forward to it."
Team FRM PR