FORT WORTH, Tex. (April 10, 2017) – Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) matched their best finish at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) during the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.
LFR had a fast car all weekend at TMS, and finished the first practice session 2nd fastest. McDowell breezed through the first round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) qualifying and made it to the second round, just missing the final round by one spot, earning a 13th place starting position.
At the beginning of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, McDowell quickly jumped into the Top-10 where he raced until the competition caution on lap 30 and made it as high as 7th place.
After the competition caution, McDowell got loose on the slick asphalt of the newly repaved TMS surface. He managed to save the No. 95 WRL Chevrolet SS, but dropped back into the Top-25 where he stayed for the remainder of the first stage.
Near the end of stage one, McDowell reported that he was having voltage issues and was losing power. These issues continued into stage two. Fortunately, a caution flag came out before the end of the segment, and the pit crew was able to make a battery change under caution. McDowell earned the Lucky Dog spot during the caution, but went back down a lap due to changing the battery.
During the final stage, McDowell was able to make it back into the Top-25 where he once again fought for the Lucky Dog spot, but was not able to capture it. He went on to cross the start / finish line in 23rd.
"Our car fired off pretty good, and we were able to get in the Top-10 early," said McDowell. We just weren't able to hang on. At the end of that first segment, I started losing voltage – it looks like we burned up an alternator. Luckily we were able to get a caution and get a battery in it, but we lost a lap in the process. From that point on, we were just chasing to try to get the Lucky Dog spot. We couldn't run any of the fans all day, so that makes it harder on the tires, brakes, and gears. We had a fast car all weekend, and we were able to salvage a solid finish."
Crew Chief, Todd Parrott, echoed his driver's thoughts and is proud of his team for not giving up and fighting to a solid finish.
"We had a fast hot rod all weekend," said Parrott. "We had some power issues during the race, but our guys worked extremely hard to get the battery changed and get Michael back out to finish the race."
Next up for McDowell and LFR is the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 23 after the first off-weekend of the 2017 MENCS season.