RICHMOND, Va. (September 11, 2017) – Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) recorded their 13th Top-20 of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season at Richmond Raceway.
The team struggled during practice and qualifying, earning a 28th place starting position for the Federated Auto Parts 400, but knew they would be fast in race trim for Saturday night's race.
McDowell began the 400-lap race battling a loose-handling car and dropped back a few spots until he was able to pit for adjustments. As the second caution came out, McDowell earned the Lucky Dog position, and finished the stage in 30th.
McDowell started the second stage in 28th and began gaining spots on the long green flag run. Midway through the stage, he began to put down faster lap times than the Top-5 of the field. McDowell finished the second stage in 18th and was able to gain a spot on pit road to start the final stage in 17th.
The remaining laps of the Federated Auto Parts 400 consisted of McDowell managing his equipment, as he felt that he wasn't gaining much more and using up his tires. He felt he was losing right rear grip in his No. 95 FDNY Foundation Chevy but was able to manage until he was able to pit.
McDowell made it as high as 11th place as final green flag pit stops cycled through. He made his final stop on lap 335 and went on to finish 16th, earning LFR their 13th Top-20 of the season.
"It was a good race for us," said McDowell. "We had a really good car on the long runs. I'm really proud to have represented the FDNY Foundation and Convoy of Hope tonight. It was another great Top-20 run and another solid night. We are going to keep plugging away."
The team recorded their best finish at the track at last year's night race at Richmond, and was close to matching it on Saturday. Next up for LFR and McDowell is the Tales Of The Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, September 17th.