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Darlington Recap: Gilliland Jumps to Sixth in Points. McDowell 10th in Playoffs. Alfredo Gains

A Recap of the Weekend Past

The NASCAR Cup and Truck Series made their first appearance of the season this weekend at Darlington Raceway for NASCAR Throwback weekend.


Todd Gilliland and his No. 38 Black's Tire Service and Auto Service Ford F-150 dominated the first two stages of Friday night's Truck race, however fell just short after being collected in a late-race incident that left the team with heavy left front damage. Gilliland took the checkered in the 15th position.


Michael McDowell and his No. 34 Fr8auctions Ford Mustang crossed the finish line 27th in Sunday's Goodyear 400. The No. 34 team is now 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff grid and only three points out of ninth.

Anthony Alfredo and the No. 38 We Care/Fr8 Auctions team just missed their third consecutive top-25 finish on Sunday. Alfredo finished 26th and made ground on Aric Almirola in the championship.


The NASCAR Cup Series moves to the Dover (Del.) International Speedway this Sunday. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are off this weekend.

TODD GILLILAND | NO. 38 BLACK'S TIRE & AUTO SERVICE FORD F-150 | FINISHED 15.


Todd Gilliland and his No. 38 Black's Tire and Auto Service Ford F-150 started Friday night's NASCAR Truck Series race at Darlington Raceway from the fifth position. Right out of the gate, Gilliland showed great speed and the No. 38 would advance to a third-place by the Competition Caution on Lap 18. Then, with 13 laps remaining in the first stage, Gilliland would take the lead and go on to capture his first Stage win of the season. During the Stage 1 Caution, Gilliland told the team that his race truck was, "a little bit loose" and would pit for 4 tires, a tire pressure adjustment and fuel.


During Stage 2, Gilliland continued the momentum as his No. 38 Black's Tire & Auto Service Ford F-150 ran second for the majority of the second stage, however the yellow flag would be displayed on Lap 81, to which Gilliland was called to pit road for 4 tires, a trackbar adjustment and fuel after noting that his race truck, "built free as the run went on ... with older tires and in traffic, I lose a lot of grip." The No. 38 Black's Tire & Auto Service Ford F-150 would go on to finish Stage 2 from the seventh position and opt to stay out during the second Stage Break Caution.


In the Final Stage of Friday night's 147 lap event, Gilliland restarted eighth, but unfortunately would sustain heavy left front damage during a multi-truck incident on Lap 119, to which the No. 38 Black's Tire & Auto Service Ford F-150 would be forced to pit for major repairs and Gilliland would cross the finish line in 15th.

The early race success allowed Gilliland to earn valuable points and move from eighth to sixth in the championship chase.

GILLILAND ON DARLINGTON:

“It was definitely a disappointing end to a promising night. We started off the race pretty decent and we were able to go out and win Stage 1, but from there on out, we just kind of lost a few spots here and there and got caught back in traffic and then got in a pretty big wreck.

"But, we did make ground in the bigger picture. This is what it's all about. We want to get wins, but if not, then if we can maximize our Stage points, you have a good day.


“Thank you to Black’s Tire, Ford, Front Row Motorsports and all of our partners for allowing me to do what I love. We’ve made a lot of progress here lately and hopefully we can keep it up. I’m really excited for the next race.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL. NO. 34 FR8 AUCTIONS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 27.


Michael McDowell and his No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang took the green flag in Sunday's Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway from the 13th position. An early caution would occur on Lap 6 for a single car incident to which McDowell noted that his race car was, "tight in the center (of the corners)" and Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer would make the call for the No. 34 to pit for 4 tires and a wedge adjustment. The second caution of the race would occur on Lap 22 for another single car incident, which NASCAR deemed the Competition Caution and McDowell would pit again for 4 tires and fuel before going on to finish Stage 1 P25. During the first Stage Break Caution, the No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang would pit for 4 tires and fuel after McDowell told the team that his race car was, “tight in the middle (of the corners) and snappy loose off ... then it was like a light switch flipped; I'm on the loose side now."

In Stage 2, the yellow flag would be displayed on Lap 106 for another single car incident which prompted Blickensderfer to call the No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang to pit road for 4 tires and fuel. Once returning to green on Lap 114, McDowell would make a 33 lap run before making a scheduled green flag pit stop on Lap 147 for 4 fresh Goodyear tires and fuel and would go on to take the second green-white-checkered flag from the twenty third position. Under caution, the No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang would pit for 4 tires and fuel.


During the Final Stage of Sunday's 400 mile event, Michael McDowell would bring his No. 34 Fr8auctions Ford Mustang down pit road on Lap 232 for a scheduled 4 tire and fuel pit stop. Unfortunately, the No. 34 Ford would be forced to return to pit road a few laps later after McDowell came over the radio to say that he had a tire go flat and would need to pit for 4 tires and fuel. The No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang would go on to take the checkered flag from the 27th position.

MCDOWELL ON DARLINGTON:


“Well, that wasn’t the day that we had hoped for in our No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang throwback to Bill Elliot. It was a rough day; we had a decent car early on, but then lost a little bit of track position and then had it compounded by two separate flat tires.


"I want to thank Marcus and all of his people at Fr8Auctions for coming on board today as well as everybody that supports Brave Like Wyatt.


“It definitely was not the performance that we wanted on track today, but we learned some things from it and we’ll be ready to come back stronger next time.”

ANTHONY ALFREDO. NO. 38 FRM WE CARE | FR8AUCTIONS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 26.

Anthony Alfredo began his weekend by making a large food donation to the Harvest Hope Food Bank in Florence, S.C. on Saturday morning. The donation is part of the FRM We Care campaign to better the lives of the communities we reach. Fr8 Auctions and the Be Your Own Hero/#BraveLikeWyatt Foundation donated pallets of food to the Harvest of Hope on behalf of the campaign.

Alfredo then turned his attention to Sunday's 400-miler at the Darlington Raceway. The No. 38 team was racing the We Care/Fr8 Auctions/#BraveLikeWyatt Ford Mustang in tribute to Alan Kulwicki. The livery was of Kulwicki's first starts in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1985.

Darlington Raceway is a tough track for any veteran and especially difficult for a Sunoco Rookie like Alfredo. But, the young driver handled it like a professional. Like many in the field, he battled a loose car with NASCAR using a higher horsepower and lower downforce package. The cars slipped all race across the slick surface.

Alfredo raced as high as fifth during pit stop cycle and spent most of the race running with McDowell near 25th. A dead battery slowed Alfredo down and a pit road speeding penalty also lost the team some track position, but Alfredo was fast late in the race. He finished on a lap by his own and thus couldn't advance any more positions late.


ALFREDO ON DARLINGTON:

"If we clean up a few things, we're easily in the top-25 and closer to the top-20 where we should be. But, it was good to get the full race in at one of the hardest tracks we race at. The low downforce package was a blast. I'm proud to have raced our We Care campaign on the car with support from Fr8 Auctions and supporting #BraveLikeWyatt."

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