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Front Row Motorsports Cup Series Race Report - Chicago

No. 34 Chicago White Sox Ford Mustang Dark Horse:

Back to his road racing roots and with the Chicago White Sox on board for the No. 34 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, Michael McDowell was ready to put on a good showing. Starting in 3rd place, his 10th Top-10 starting spot this season, the No. 34 started on wet weather tires, then proceeded to change to slicks before the green flag. Five laps into the race, McDowell brought the car back down pit lane, so the White Sox crew changed back to the wet weather tires, putting the No. 34 in the 33rd position, and again for fresh wets, which put McDowell a lap down. He was able to get back on the lead lap, ultimately finishing the first stage in 36th place after a full course caution was thrown with four laps remaining in Stage 1. In between the stages, NASCAR declared the race to end at 8:20 p.m. ET due to curfew and visibility restrictions, thus putting the race on an eventual countdown clock. Racing only resumed for a few laps in Stage 2 before another caution and on lap 26, NASCAR brought the field down pit road as the rain picked up, red flagging the race. After a brief rain delay, McDowell was back on wet weather tires restarting the race in 26th position trying to make up lost ground. A strategic move by Crew Chief Travis Peterson brought the No. 34 back onto pit road to pit for slicks with four laps remaining in Stage 2, where McDowell finished 26th. Most of the leaders either pitted during the stage caution or stayed out on wets. The slick tires proved to be the correct strategy, and with 13 minutes to go in the race, restarting 16th, McDowell was able to take advantage and drive through the field to earn a 5th place finish. It is his sixth Top-10 of the year and second Top-5 of the season after his 2nd place result at Sonoma in June.

Start: 3rd

Stage One: 36th

Stage Two: 26th

Race Result: 5th


“Yeah, we needed a few more laps. I am just proud of the effort. Early on, when we went to wets and it didn’t rain we were in trouble and lost a lap. We rebounded and got the wave around and after that rain delay we restarted 32nd, so I am happy to get back up into the top five. I am proud of the effort. Everybody fights hard on our 34 Ford Mustang. We called a great race at the end to get us on the slicks before everybody so that we could try to leapfrog some guys and that worked out. Those last 10 laps our car was coming in as everyone else was struggling and it was a lot of fun. But it isn’t what we needed today. We needed a win and we didn’t get it but we will just keep fighting the rest of the season.”

No. 38 gener8tor Ford Mustang Dark Horse:

Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 gener8tor Ford Mustang Dark Horse team qualified 26th for NASCAR's second ever Chicago Street Race. With rain falling, NASCAR made the call to switch to the wet-weather tires for the start of the race before allowing teams to switch back to slicks. From the start, Gilliland picked up spots, moving up to the Top-15 before breaking his way into the Top-10. Gilliland finished Stage 1 in the 8th position. Gilliland pitted under the stage-break caution for four wet-weather tires. Battling within the Top-10, Gilliland found himself in the 6th position before NASCAR red flagged the event for heavy rain. With the track clear, Gilliland returned to his race car to not only race against other drivers, but a curfew clock that NASCAR imposed on the event. Gilliland pitted before the end of Stage 2 for four slick tires and fuel, finishing out the second stage in the 16th position. Staying out at the stage-break caution, Gilliland drove his way back into the Top-10. With time expiring, Gilliland finished the race in the 7th position, his third Top-10 finish of the year. Gilliland is now 19th in Driver Points.

Start: 26th

Stage One: 8th

Stage Two: 16th

Race Result: 7th


“It is really disappointing actually. I didn’t help us any with that last caution. I didn’t mean to get into the 4. I was trying to go to the right and get under him under braking, and I pounded him. That is not what I wanted to do whatsoever, and it definitely didn’t help us at all. Overall, our car was really strong. I am really proud of that. We have been bringing a lot more speed to the race track so that is a lot of fun.”


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