McDowell is Blue Grass Brilliant in Kentucky ARCA rookie scores first career stock car win SPARTA, KY (July 14, 2007) - Alas, the monkey is off Michael McDowell's back. A season full of fast performances, pure dominance, and hard-nosed stock car...
McDowell is Blue Grass Brilliant in Kentucky
ARCA rookie scores first career stock car win
SPARTA, KY (July 14, 2007) - Alas, the monkey is off Michael McDowell's back. A season full of fast performances, pure dominance, and hard-nosed stock car racing finally has the trophy to go with the effort. McDowell scored his first career ARCA RE/MAX Series win Friday night at Kentucky Speedway in the WLWT Channel 5-150.
McDowell's qualifying lap of 30.545 was good enough for outside of the front row. He took the lead from Evernham Motorsports' Erin Crocker on lap 9 and proceeded to lead 52 of the next 53 laps. McDowell, along with the rest of the lead-lap cars, pitted on lap 63 where he was inched out of the lead at the pit exit by Kevin Harvick Inc. development driver Cale Gale.
Following the yellow-flag pit stops, McDowell used the next 20 laps of the race as a plotting period to get by Gale. McDowell powered his way around Gale, taking the lead on lap 86. He never looked back.
As he came across the start-finish line, the entire No. 2 Eddie Sharp Racing crew rejoiced for the team's first win of the 2007 season. In a race filled with nine NASCAR development drivers and deemed by many in the garage area as one of the single strongest fields in ARCA history, the 22 year-old Arizona native was triumphant.
"This is awesome," said a champagne-soaked McDowell. "I'm thrilled we could do this for Z-Line Designs, Mission Residential, Make-A-Wish, Beck, Dodge, everyone at Eddie Sharp Racing that worked their tails off. I couldn't be happier.
"(The win) was a long time coming. To win with a pass like that, we left it in no doubt."
The pass, which came after McDowell chased down Gale for twenty laps, was one for the highlight reel. McDowell knew it was an entire race in the making:
"We made a smart call at the end of practice. We adjusted the car so it would be better handling for when it cooled off. It hurt us in the middle part of the race but the adjustment Patrick (Donahue, crew chief) made on the pit stop worked for us. The car came to me on that last long run and it looked as if (Gale) was starting to lose his handle. When I got to him, I just matted it and took off. It was a perfect finish and a perfect night."
McDowell's first win comes in his eighteenth career ARCA start. His Z-Line Designs / Make-A-Wish / Beck Dodge led 68 of the race's 100 laps. The victory also pushes him into second place in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings, 120 points behind leader Frank Kimmel.
Up Next: McDowell and Eddie Sharp Racing will return to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 4.