Saturday, April 1, 2023

Michael McDowell Continues Magical 2022 Campaign at Darlington With 11th Top-10 Finish

Michael McDowell Top-10 Darlington Southern 500
The incredible season for Michael McDowell continued in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington, as he scored his 11th top-10 finish of the year. Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance

Michael McDowell’s incredible 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season continued in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, as the Front Row Motorsports driver scored his 11th top-10 finish of the season.

McDowell’s latest good run, a sixth-place effort in one of the sport’s most grueling events, marks his fifth top-10 finish over his last 10 starts.

For the 37-year old driver, keeping the momentum going means a lot to him.

“Fun night here in the Southern 500,” McDowell said in a post-race video that he shared to Twitter. “We’re not in victory lane, but a great run for everybody at Fr8Auctions. We had a really fast car tonight and Brave Like Wyatt. We had to pass a lot of cars. Needed a little bit of track position there, but proud of our effort. Keep this speed going. Keep it rolling. Finish strong here.”

McDowell started Sunday’s race from the 10th position, after a great qualifying effort on Saturday. However, as the race played out, McDowell and the No. 34 team lost track position.

After battling hard through the opening Stage of the race, the Ford Mustang came around after adjustments that were called in by crew chief Blake Harris.

As McDowell crossed the finish line to take the green and white checkered flag signifying the end of Stage 2, McDowell had rebounded and was running 10th. As a result, he scored a Stage Point.

From there, McDowell and the No. 34 team hung tough and as chaos ensued for many of the top runners as the race drew to a close, McDowell picked off positions and by the end of the night, McDowell was the sixth-place finisher.

Heading into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series campaign, McDowell’s career-high for top-10s in a season was five, which he achieved last season. And while he made the Playoffs in 2021, thanks to a victory in the season-opening Daytona 500, McDowell is having a career-year in 2022 as he has more than doubled that total of top-10s this season with 11.

McDowell has also led more laps this year (54) than he has led in any other year of his NCS career and he is also trending toward career-highs in average start (17.1), average finish (16.9).

With nine races in the 2022 season, McDowell is just two lead lap finishes shy of matching his career-high in that statistical category as well.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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