Michael McDowell Avoids Yellow Fever to Score Sixth at Salem Combination of Skill and Luck Bring Rookie Sensation to First-Career ARCA Top-10 DENVER, NC (September 18, 2006) -- The ARCA RE/MAX Series has a unique schedule that tests a ...
Michael McDowell Avoids Yellow Fever to Score Sixth at Salem
Combination of Skill and Luck Bring Rookie Sensation to First-Career ARCA Top-10
DENVER, NC (September 18, 2006) -- The ARCA RE/MAX Series has a unique schedule that tests a driver's talents on a diverse range of racetracks. One week, a driver can have a good run at a one-mile oval, then the next week be at a half-mile bullring before going to a 2.5-mile superspeedway. For drivers, the multitude of different racetracks makes the series' schedule one of the most grueling in racing.
The schedule's toughness is multiplied several times over when the driver visiting those tracks is a rookie in the series. While most rookies take a few races to find their niche, young Michael McDowell has turned heads right out of the box since teaming with the Eddie Sharp Racing team behind the wheel of the number-2 Z-Line Design/Southern New Hampshire University Dodge. With two ARCA starts under his belt already this season at the one-mile Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin and the two-mile Chicagoland Speedway in Illinois, McDowell saved his strongest run to date for the tight .555-mile at Salem Speedway Saturday night. McDowell finished the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic in sixth.
"Just finishing the race at Salem feels like a victory," said McDowell. "The guys from Eddie Sharp Racing gave me a great racecar; the Z-Line Designs/Southern New Hampshire University Dodge was hooked up, and we were able to get the finish that we've been looking for.
"Saturday night's event was one of the most eventful races that I've driven in; there were so many wrecks, but we managed to avoid them and come away with a sixth-place finish. Our goal was to stay out of trouble the first 100 laps and be in contention to challenge for a top-5 at the end of the race. We fell a little short of our goal, but I learned a lot and can't wait for the next race."
As McDowell quickly found out on Saturday, the ARCA short-track races are often chock full of carnage. McDowell's goal was to keep the number-2 Dodge out of harm's way all night long, and that mission was accomplished with a recipe of skill and luck.
"I felt like I was dodging bullets all night long. It seemed like every single accident was started right around me. Eddie Sharp spotted for me and did a good job of keeping me out of the mess. We got lucky a couple of times, and we just squeezed by. Other times we saw it coming, and we were ready for it. We rode around for about 100 laps just staying out of trouble, and just by doing that we were able to get into the top-10. After that we were just able to pick them off until the end."
While finishing sixth was impressive for McDowell and the entire ESR team, the number-2 crew left Salem Speedway satisfied knowing that they ran well and completed every lap en route to their strong finish.
"It felt like a victory just finishing the race. We had a good run at Milwaukee; the car was fast and we ran in the top-five, but we weren't able to finish the race. Then at Chicago we were taken out pretty early in the race. It was important for us just to go out and stay out of trouble at Salem, and we were able to do that."
McDowell will be back behind the wheel of the Z-Line Design/Southern New Hampshire University Dodge for Eddie Sharp Racing on Friday, October 6th, in the Food World 250 at Talladega Superspeedway (AL).