A Long Day Made Longer by Rain
After two rain delays lasting more than five hours, Michael McDowell drove Leavine Family Racing's K-LOVE Ford to a 37th-place finish at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday night. McDowell started the scheduled 500-lap event from the 24th-position, and after the initial start was delayed nearly two hours, the No. 95 looked strong from the beginning of the race. When the competition yellow waved on Lap 50, and the No. 95 was scored in 34th position, and the Wally Rogers-led team took advantage of the flag to pit for four tires, and to repair minor fender damage. The only handling concern was that the K-LOVE machine would not turn and was on the splitter more. McDowell, a Glendale, Ariz. native, quickly advanced to a 28th running position on Lap 124 before the race was stopped by rain again. The second stoppage lasted 3 hours and 18 minutes until the high-octane action could resume under the lights. The red flag was lifted and green-flag racing resumed on Lap 137, so McDowell began to pass competitors, the No.95 Ford Fusion strong on long green-flag runs. McDowell raced through the field from the back and broke into the top-19 by Lap 275. Routine pit stops allowed Rogers to further adjust the handling of the car, where the team was seeing variation throughout the night due to the growing amount of rubber on the track and the wild air temperature drop. On Lap 333, in typical short-track racing fashion, McDowell made contact with another car on the front stretch, resulting in a yellow flag. The incident required multiple trips down pit road as well as a trip to the garage so that the Leavine Family Racing team could make repairs to the No. 95 Ford. The team spent the remainder of the race working for position, with McDowell ultimately salvaging a 37th-place finish.
On March 30th, McDowell and the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team will compete at the Martinsville Speedway.
Start - 24 Finish - 37 Laps Led - 0 Points - 7
Michael McDowell QUOTE:
“We had some ups and downs this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. All things considered, we learned a lot and I think we all got a long look at what our potential actually is. We just need to put a full race together and we will get some strong results.”