Frustrating End for Leavine Family Racing at Talladega
May 6, 2014
Michael McDowell finished in 36th-place in Sunday afternoon’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The driver of the No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales (JTS) Ford Fusion was able to lead a lap on Lap 96 before his day came to a disappointing end after he was collected in an unavoidable incident on Lap 175.
McDowell recorded the best qualifying effort of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career during Saturday’s qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway, qualifying 14th for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499. It also marked the career-best qualifying effort for Leavine Family Racing (LFR) as a team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Under a bright sunny sky, McDowell and the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team started 14th at the 2.66-mile track. McDowell relayed to his team that he preferred the middle groove as he advanced towards the front of the field. A few laps after the initial green flag waved for the 188-lap race, the first caution flag of the day was displayed on Lap 15, and Crew chief Wally Rogers called for a pit stop for fuel and two right-side tires. By lap 20, McDowell had already worked his way into eighth-place where he then fell back in the draft to help another competitor. Throughout the early portion of the race, McDowell proved that the Jordan Truck Sales Ford Fusion was one of the fastest cars on the track, and he made his fastest lap of the day on Lap 41. During the middle portion of the race, McDowell got shuffled back into the pack. The red and black Ford maneuvered back to the front and led the procession of cars around the track on Lap 96 as green flag pit stops started. On Lap 95 the team opted to pit for two right-side tires and to top off with fuel. McDowell made quick work of this, and made his way back into eighth place by Lap 133. A short time later, on Lap 136, McDowell navigated his No. 95 through a big accident that claimed at least 12 drivers. Fuel mileage a concern for Rogers, the decision was made to bring McDowell to pit road under a Lap 152 caution for two ride-side tires and fuel to guarantee the team’s ability to make the scheduled distance and in the event of a green-white-checkered finish. After the pit stop, the No. 95 was in 24th position. The second "big one" of the afternoon came on Lap 175 when another driver lost control of his automobile in Turn 4 and claimed seven other drivers including McDowell. McDowell had nowhere to go and was amassed in the incident. Unfortunately, the damage forced the No.95 team to retire from the race, scoring in the 36th position.
Start- 14  Finish- 36  Laps Led- 1
Michael McDowell Quote:
“Our No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales (JTS) Ford Fusion was in position to have a solid day – maybe even a shot at the win. Unfortunately, an incident happened and we didn’t have anywhere to go, so our day was done. It is Talladega."
“It is just so frustrating. We had a good Ford Fusion.”