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Kickin The Tires

McDowell earns first top-10 of the season at Pocono on Saturday

Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo

By: Sarah Handy, Staff Writer

During the first race of a double header weekend at Pocono Raceway, Michael McDowell drove his No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports to it’s first top-10 of 2020 on Saturday evening.

After starting the 130-lap event from the 26th position, McDowell’s Dockside Logistics Ford continued to improve and move up through the field.

Early on McDowell radioed to say, “feels like it rolls over on the right rear, felt like the balance was coming to me.” Even so, he went on to finish 19th in stage one as he told his team the balance was “better.”

Complaints of his Ford firing off “too free” at the beginning of stage two didn’t last as he told the team and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer that the car was much better. With the green and white checkered flag waving to end stage two he found himself in 16th.

Strategy was perfect for McDowell who’s Ford was really good on the long runs which helped him stay out on track while the leaders pitted towards the end of the final stage.

The 34 would go to the top of the board to lead one lap with 20 laps remaining before making the trip down pit road for two tires and fuel.

17 laps remaining in Saturday’s Pocono Organics 325, and with pit stops cycled around the Arizona native sat ninth on the scoring ticker.

McDowell went on to earn an eighth-place finish, his first top-10 of the 2020 thus far and a personal best finish at the tricky triangle. His eighth place finish wasn’t just a new career best at Pocono Raceway, but also at a non-superspeedway track.

His teammate John Hunter Nemechek finished eighth at Talladega Superspeedway last week, therefore with that and McDowell’s eighth place today, it’s the first time Front Row Motorsports has earned back-to-back top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Cup Series.

McDowell’s best finish of the season prior to today was 14th on three separate occasions  — Daytona, Bristol and Martinsville. He will start tomorrow’s Pocono 350 from the 13th starting spot.

 

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