Michael McDowell Chicagoland preview

With Impressive Debut Behind Him, Michael McDowell Headed to Chicago ARCA Rookie Wants an Even Better Follow-Up after Racing in Top-Five at Milwaukee DENVER, NC (September 6, 2006) -- It didn't take a whole lot of time for everyone in the...

With Impressive Debut Behind Him, Michael McDowell Headed to Chicago
ARCA Rookie Wants an Even Better Follow-Up after Racing in Top-Five at Milwaukee

DENVER, NC (September 6, 2006) -- It didn't take a whole lot of time for everyone in the ARCA RE/MAX Series garage area to realize the talent of Michael McDowell at The Milwaukee Mile on August 27th. The 21-year-old already had an impressive racing resume to his name, but after racing inside the top-five in his first-ever ARCA race at Milwaukee, McDowell appears to be well on his way to one of the next young stars to be developed in the series by car owner Eddie Sharp.

Even though the finishing result McDowell left Milwaukee with wasn't quite what he was hoping for, the young driver learned plenty about ARCA racing and proved that he could get the job done in the series. He will look to finish what he started at Milwaukee this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway (IL) in the SK Hand Tools 200. The 1.5-mile tri-oval will pose a tough task for McDowell and the number-2 Z-Line Designs/Southern New Hampshire University Dodge team for Eddie Sharp Racing, but as was proven at Milwaukee, the young driver is up to the challenge.

"I'm excited about this race at Chicagoland," said McDowell. "Milwaukee gave me a lot of confidence just to know that I could race up front. Even though the result didn't show it, we proved that we could run well. I feel good about that. This is the first weekend that I'm going to be in one of the Ganassi-built cars in our shop. It was really good in the test last week, so we know the car is good and we know the motor is good, so we just have to go out there and try to get our first top-five."

Last week's test at Chicagoland gave McDowell a chance to run valuable laps before hitting the track this weekend in race competition. McDowell logged as many laps as possible before rain put an abrupt end to the session, but his laps, in addition to the advice from NASCAR veteran Johnny Benson, who was at the Chicago test with McDowell, give the driver confidence as he enters the SK Hand Tools 200.

"I had Johnny Benson out there working with me and that was a big help. He really showed me the way around there. He gave me a couple pointers that will really help for the race. I feel like I got a pretty good hold on the track and what I need to do. I only got about 20 laps on the track because the rest of the test got rained out, but even though I didn't get a whole lot of time out there, just having Johnny out there really helped me out.

"The speed there is really unbelievable, but the biggest thing for me was just getting used to carrying the amount of speed that you have to carry into the corners and how well the car handles the speed. I definitely had to build up my confidence, but I did and it was a lot of fun."

McDowell knows that he has a capable team from Eddie Sharp Racing that can bring his number-2 machine into Chicagoland Speedway's victory lane, and with a tremendous amount of experience gained at Milwaukee and in the Chicagoland test, he is looking for the kind of finish that he deserved the first time out.

"The first thing we have to do is finish. We had a good run going at Milwaukee, but we got caught up in someone else's mess. Hopefully we'll be able to avoid that this weekend and just be able to do a good job, run consistent and be there at the end so that we can race for a good finish.

-credit: esr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Johnny Benson , Michael McDowell