Pocono II: Michael McDowell preview

McDowell and ...

McDowell and #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota Camry Team Look to Build on Pocono Experience

LONG POND, Penn. (July 30, 2008) -- For the first time this season, Michael McDowell finally has the opportunity to compete at a track where he has NASCAR Sprint Cup Series experience in the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota Camry.

"I'm glad to be going back to Pocono Raceway for a second time in a Cup car," McDowell said. "We learned a lot the last time we were there and I think Pocono will be a good race for us."

The biggest focus for McDowell and his Michael Waltrip Racing team is to regain a top-35 position in the owner points standings after being forced out due to bad luck and a challenging weekend at The Brickyard.

"I was not able to have much practice because of the tire problem and that hurt us at Indy," McDowell said. "We have also had some bad luck. Before racing at The Brickyard, we ran into some problems at New Hampshire and more recently we were wrecked in the opening laps at Chicagoland Speedway. That put us dead last in the finishing order. We took a blow in the points from that deal. We have just got to be smooth at Pocono and have a solid finish to gain some points."

McDowell feels comfortable with qualifying on time at upcoming tracks like the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

"It's not fun that we have to qualify, but I think we can qualify the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota fairly easy," McDowell said. "We've been fast enough to make races, but we've never been in this position before. We need to have a good weekend."

McDowell finished 27th at the track in June. Having a veteran crew chief like Peter Sospenzo that has won at Pocono Raceway will help McDowell's weekend run smoothly.

"I'm looking forward to going to Pocono with him," McDowell said. "He did a really good job at The Brickyard and helped our weekend run smooth, minus the tire deal."

Sospenzo was victorious with Jeremy Mayfield in 2000 at Pocono Raceway and McDowell won an ARCA RE/MAX Series race there last season.

"I think we both like racing there and have had some success at the track before," McDowell said. "The biggest thing is that I've been there before in a Cup car. We're looking to build on that."

Live coverage of Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 on ESPN will begin at 1 p.m. ET and MRN at 1:15 p.m.

-credit: mwr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeremy Mayfield , Michael Waltrip , Michael McDowell
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing