How do you prove that your first career win wasn’t a fluke? You back it up the following week with another strong finish and prove the naysayers wrong.
That’s exactly what Michael McDowell did in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253, bringing home his FR8 Auctions Mustang in the eighth position at the Daytona Road Course following last week’s cinderella story victory in the 63rd-annual Daytona 500.
His race was nothing short of eventful, right from the beginning.
McDowell’s Daytona high was quickly diminished early on in the O’Reilly 253 after entering Turn 1 of the first lap with a flat tire, sending him off track before regrouping into oncoming traffic.
A rough first turn for McDowell and early damage for Kyle Busch. That escalated quickly.
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— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 21, 2021
“We had a flat tire there coming to the green,” McDowell said in a post-race video. ” I knew something was wrong. I should have just pitted, so I screwed that up and that hurt us a little bit. We lost track position and then missed the chicane. Pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong today, but this is what our team is all about — Front Row Motorsports — we grind it out and we fought hard.”
The 36-year-old racer opting to not pit coming to the green, stayed out as his tire came apart, which eventually caused the first caution of the race.
Nevertheless, McDowell fought his way back into the Top-10 after rain entered the Daytona International Speedway, which sent the race into a whole new frenzy of possibilities.
” We just kept the fight in it and ended up with another top 10, so pretty crazy how that all went down. It was another great run. I’m really excited to keep this momentum going. We’ve got to clean it up a little bit, but not a bad night altogether.”
The race was a personal history-making day for Arizona-native, marking the first time ever scoring back-to-back top 10 finishes in his career in Cup, and his best finish on a road course. The achievement also added a tally to Front Row’s, making it the second time a Front Row Motorsports Mustang finished in the top-10 back-to-back.
With an eighth-place run at @DAYTONA, @Mc_Driver scores back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in the NASCAR Cup Series career and the second time in @Team_FRM's history.#NASCAR | @NASCAR | #OReilly253 pic.twitter.com/s8SYcGEpJx
— Joseph Srigley (@joe_srigley) February 22, 2021
The NASCAR Cup Series will head back to turning just left next weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, February 28th for the Dixie Vodka 400. Coverage begins at 3:30 PM EST on FOX and the FOX Sports App.