Sonoma Recap: McDowell and Alfredo Both Race in Top-10 Late Before Heartbreak
A Recap of the Weekend Past
The NASCAR Cup Series and Front Row Motorsports (FRM) went west to the Sonoma Raceway for Sunday's 90-lap race at the beautiful road course. And, it was a beautifully executed race for FRM. Pit strategy worked out for both teams and the organization was set to have a record day at the track. That is when Alfredo was spun running in the top-10 and that set-up an overtime finish that saw McDowell also get spun out of a top-10 finish. Michael McDowell and his No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang brought home a 28th-place finish.
Anthony Alfredo and his No. 38 MDS Ford Mustang had to settle for 31st.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL. NO. 34 LOVE'S TRAVEL STOPS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 28 Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Love's Travel Stops team executed flawlessly during Sunday's event. The team had to use a different strategy to jump positions early after starting mid-pack. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called an early strategy to bring McDowell into the pits before a Lap 10 Competition Caution. McDowell had raced up to 17th at this point, but after most teams pitted on Lap 10, McDowell was able to stay out and race into the top-10. The Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang then came back down pit road just before the end of Stage 1 for fuel and tires. The long run in Stage 2, McDowell raced back into the top-15 and was getting himself in position for a top-10 at the end of the race. At the end of Stage 2, McDowell was 11th and stayed on the track to start the final stage. McDowell fell back on older tires to start the final stage, but was still in the top-20 and in great position to pit and jump back into the top-10. The team made their final green stop and McDowell started to blitz back through the field. With 20 to go, McDowell was back into the top-10. Late race cautions bunched the field numerous times, but McDowell was up to eighth in extra distance before he was turned around. McDowell was able to turn the car back around to cross the line in 28th.
MCDOWELL ON SONOMA: "That was super unfortunate at the end. We got spun running eighth at the end. We had a good Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang. We had track position at the end. The last couple of restarts went well, but the bumper cars didn't work out for us. We had another top-10 going, but I'm proud that our team was in that position again. It didn't work out, but I'm proud of the team and all our partners as we head to the All-Star weekend."
ANTHONY ALFREDO. NO. 38 MDS FORD MUSTANG. FINISHED 31.
The final result will not show it, but Anthony Alfredo turned in his best Cup race to date in his very young NASCAR Cup Series career on Sunday at the Sonoma Raceway. Alfredo was running just outside the top-five in the final three laps of the race before being spun from behind. The result doesn't erase the strong run all afternoon by Alfredo.
Unlike most every other driver in the field, Alfredo was making his first laps at track when the green dropped Sunday. Alfredo had to start last due to a team penalty during pre-race inspection. Alfredo was up to 16th by a Lap 10 Competition Caution. The team elected to have Aflredo race the entire Stage 1 on the same tires and fuel. Most teams made a stop in Stage 1. The team finished Stage 1 in 28th before pitting for new tires.
In Stage 2, Alfredo was again consistent. The team made a pit stop during a caution on Lap 32. That allowed Alfredo to stretch his fuel run to the end of Stage 2 where he was 20th.
Alfredo did not pit and restarted the final stage in the top-20. The pit stop strategy was kicked in the favor of the team after a caution on Lap 71. Alfredo had just made his final stop for tires and fuel just moments before the caution. As most every other team had to pit, Alfredo leaped into fourth with 12 laps remaining. Alfredo held his line and was running inside the top-10 before getting spun with just two laps to go.
ALFREDO ON SONOMA:
"They knew I was there. I had never been to Sonoma and never really had a lot of road course experience before this year. But, today, everything fell right with our pit stops. We were on the same tires as the top-10 and restarted in fourth with about a dozen to go. I proved that I can run with these guys and our No. 38 team can, too. We got shifted there at the end and it cost us a top-10."