Michael McDowell isn't out of the playoff picture yet after a strong showing at Bristol
When Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 in February, there was a lot of murmuring among the fans that he would be just another one-hit-wonder like so many others who have avoided big pile-ups and "lucked" into a restrictor plate-race win. Fast forward to the seventh week of the season, however, and McDowell is still in playoff contention after a 12th place finish at Bristol.
Michael McDowell rolled off in 16th place but dropped back to 22nd by the end of the first stage. He continued to struggle in the second stage as well, finishing 22nd again, but in the third and final stage, he was able to get into a groove and earned himself another top 15 finish.
“It was a fun day on the Bristol dirt. Our Love’s Travel Stop Ford Mustang was hooked up at the end," Michael McDowell said during his post-race interview. "We passed a lot of cars on that last stage with 50 to go. I think we ended up 12th, so it was a solid day, a good points day, and a lot of fun on the dirt. Visibility was tough. It was hard to see, but it was great racing there at the end. Thanks to all my guys. They brought a really fast Ford Mustang and it was a lot of fun. For a guy that doesn’t have any dirt experience, this was a pretty good run.”
The result marked McDowell's fourth top 15 in a season that has already seen him notch up a win and three consecutive top 10s.
Michael McDowell being a playoff contender is still a long shot, if only for the fact that he is not driving for one of the top teams, but as a driver, he has demonstrated that he can get it done. Also, to the credit of his team Front Row Racing, they have been bringing capable race cars to the track and going from strength to strength with each event. Whether it all comes together to produce a championship effort will be one of the more interesting stories to follow this season.