Michael McDowell was one of two drivers along with Kevin Harvick to come to Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with three straight Top-10s in the 2021 NASCAR season.
Starting in 5th position, McDowell's 17th place finish does not justify his race. The No. 34 driver of Front Row Motorsports' Ford Mustang spoke about the struggles he had with the speed of the car along with adjustments that potentially curbed his chances of a higher-placed finish. He wasn't annoyed with the result though.
Michael McDowell took the lead for the first time in Stage 2 with 20 laps to go. The lead was short-lived as he pitted with 14 laps remaining in the stage. He ended up leading 9 laps in the race.
Michael McDowell also had the best average finish of 8.0 (excluding bonuses) of all drivers heading to the LVMS.
The day was dominated by Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 driver Kyle Larson. He won Stage 2 and then carried his form into the third and final stage to mark his debut win with the organization. This comes after his reinstatement into NASCAR following a suspension owing to a racial slur during an iRacing event.
Team Penske's Brad Keselowski, who was involved in a nip-and-tuck with reigning champion Chase Elliott in the dying stages, won stage 1.
Action in the Cup Series will now shift to Michael McDowell's home track at Phoenix Raceway for the 1.022-mile oval for the Instacart 500.
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Michael McDowell's dream run so far
Michael McDowell's story during the 2021 NASCAR season has been nothing short of a dream.
Running for an under-funded FRM, McDowell shocked the NASCAR world by winning the Great American Race, his first victory in 358 career starts. It made him a hot favorite amongst sponsors as well.
Post the Daytona 500 win, the No. 34 driver announced CarParts.com as the organization's primary sponsor for four NASCAR Cup Series races in the 2021 season. They also serve as the associate sponsor for the entire season.
While many considered his victory at Daytona a one-off, Michael McDowell backed it up with an eighth-place finish at the Daytona International Speedway road course and then a sixth-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Michael McDowell currently sits ninth in the standings with 126 points, but that might change for the better after the race at Phoenix Raceway.
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