Michael McDowell WINS the Daytona 500. Dream Comes True for Driver, Owner and Organization
McDowell, Alfredo, Ragan and Gilliland all Find Own Success at Daytona
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (February 15, 2021) – Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang team made history for Front Row Motorsports (FRM) in the very early hours Monday morning after winning the 63rd edition of the Daytona 500. The first NASCAR Cup Series win for McDowell came on the sport's biggest stage with millions watching across the world.
The win capped a most dramatic Daytona Speedweek for FRM with highlights across all three Cup entries and the Truck Series team.
It all began with qualifying on Wednesday night with the return of David Ragan and the No. 36 Select Blinds Ford Mustang returning to the Daytona 500. Ragan had to qualify in the Great American Race. Not only did he qualify in by speed on Wednesday night, but then finished eighth in the second Bluegreen Vacations Duel at DAYTONA on Thursday night. Ragan and Select Blinds again were the headline on Wednesday and Thursday night on Fox Sports.
Ragan was again fast in the Daytona 500, but a pileup on Lap 15 ended his day early. There was nothing that Ragan could do to avoid the accident.
DAVID RAGAN. NO. 36 SELECT BLINDS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 37
"It’s just unfortunate to have a bunch of tore up race cars that early. I’ve never met a driver that said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna start this 500-mile race and just be super-aggressive.’ We all talk about give and take and making it to the end, but it seems nobody does that once they get out there. It’s frustrating that everybody is pushing and shoving and I just saw the 48 get turned and whenever someone wrecks in the top five or six it tears up a lot of cars.”
Friday night, all eyes turned to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contender, Todd Gilliland. Gilliland was back behind the wheel of the Speedco Ford F-150 to try and win the Daytona 250. Gilliland brought the heat all race, under the lights. He had his Speedco No. 38 Ford in position in the closing laps. In fact, Gilliland was leading his draft line before being shuffled and then spun into a pileup wreck.
Gilliland the FRM NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team were there to win and they showed their talents. They just missed the final result.
TODD GILLILAND. NO. 38 SPEEDCO FORD F-150. FINISHED 31
"It felt good to have our Speedco Ford F-150 up front. I felt like I made a mistake at the end and we got wrecked. But, we were fast and had a chance to win it. We're ready to focus on the Daytona Road Course this weekend. I'm pumped to see Michael and FRM win the Daytona 500. I want to be next to park it in Victory Lane."
Sunday, attention turned on the Daytona 500. Anthony Alfredo was making his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the No. 38 Speedy Cash Ford Mustang. Alfredo made very quick strides in learning the craft of Cup drafting. On Thursday night in his DUEL race, Alfredo was making a move to position himself to pit. Executing perfectly, two cars in front of him spun and took out Alfredo.
The 21-year-old driver known as "Fast Pasta" was forced to start near the rear of the Daytona 500, but he took the green and black Speedy Cash Ford Mustang to the back of the lead draft. Alfredo was impressive and doing what he needed to do. Unfortunately, Alfredo was caught in the melee on Lap 15 that eventually ended his day with a busted radiator.
ANTHONY ALFREDO. NO. 38 SPEEDY CASH FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 32.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't get more laps complete. We had circumstances that were out of our control, but I did learn a lot. It's a new experience and I'm excited for the season. I'm disappointed for myself and our Speedy Cash team, but thrilled for Michael and all of FRM. It's great that we won the Daytona 500."
McDowell came into the Daytona 500 as an underdog to many, but FRM always believes that McDowell is one of the best superspeedway drivers in Cup. And coming off a very successful 2020 season, McDowell and the No. 34 Love's Travel Stops team had momentum going into this season.
McDowell was patient early in the race and avoided the Lap 15 wreck. After that, it was perfection defined. A perfect final pit stop to draft with the Ford Performance teams. A perfect draft plan with spotter Clayton Hughes to be positioned in the top-five in the closing laps. And a perfect closing laps to draft past the leaders, the wreck and into Daytona 500 history.
The win was meaningful to McDowell and FRM for many reasons, but it was special to have founding partner Love's Travel Stops in Victory Lane. They have been loyal to FRM to build a NASCAR Playoff team.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL. NO. 34 LOVE'S TRAVEL STOPS FORD MUSTANG. WINNER DAYTONA 500
“I just can’t believe it. I’ve just got to thank God. So many years just grinding it out and hoping for an opportunity like this. I’ve got to thank Love’s Travel Stops, Speedco, Bob Jenkins for giving me this opportunity. I’m so thankful. Such a great way to get a first victory -- a Daytona 500. Are you kidding me? I just want to say hi to my wife back home. Happy Valentine’s Day. I know it’s been a tough week. My kids, I love you guys. I wish they could be here with me to celebrate. Maybe NASCAR will send a plane to bring them down here, but we’re the Daytona 500 champions. Thank you Doug Yates, Ford. We had our Ford partners at the end and they all crashed, but luckily I was able to make it through. I’m just so thankful. God is good.”
ABOUT FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS
Front Row Motorsports (FRM) is a winning organization in the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck Series and the 2021 Daytona 500 champions. The team was founded in 2004 and is owned by successful entrepreneur, Bob Jenkins. FRM fields the No. 34 and the No. 38 NASCAR Cup Series teams along with the No. 38 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team– from its Mooresville, N.C. headquarters. Visit teamfrm.com and follow FRM on social media: Twitter at @Team_FRM, Instagram at @team_frm and Facebook at facebook.com/FrontRowMotorsports.