It's third at Salem (again) for McDowell ARCA rookie picks up ten markers on series point leader SALEM, IN (September 17, 2007) - History tends to repeat itself. As was the case for Michael McDowell in his second Salem Speedway visit of 2007, ...
It's third at Salem (again) for McDowell
ARCA rookie picks up ten markers on series point leader
SALEM, IN (September 17, 2007) - History tends to repeat itself. As was the case for Michael McDowell in his second Salem Speedway visit of 2007, third place proved to be familiar ground.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie repeated his April Salem effort, finishing third in the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic. McDowell's night in Southern Indiana wasn't spent solely in the P3 spot: the Arizona native showed that his speedway prowess encompasses short track success.
McDowell's qualifying lap of 17.695 was good enough for second on the Salem scoring pylon. As soon as the green flag dropped, McDowell's No. 2 Z-Line Designs / Make-A-Wish / Beck Dodge jumped to an early lead over pole-sitter Brian Keselowski and led the first 12 laps of the event. On pace for a record setting evening, McDowell clocked the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race and was eager for a win; however, the car wouldn't easily allow for it.
The Eddie Sharp Racing Dodge became too loose for McDowell's liking, forcing the rookie to struggle with the car's handling. With an ill-driving race car, and an encounter with on-track debris, crew chief Patrick Donahue made major chassis adjustments in addition to putting on four tires for the final stretch run. The calculated risk paid dividends.
McDowell soon began running with the lead pack but time ran out on a budding come-from-behind win; he followed Justin Allgaier and Frank Kimmel to the line for the third place finish. After the race, McDowell was indifferent about his result:
"We actually struggled a little bit tonight," said McDowell. "We did gain points on Frank (Kimmel) but I think with a little more time we could have made a move to the front. Patrick (Donahue) and all the guys at ESR did a fantastic job of setting this car up for that last run. We got off to a great start but got too loose for my liking in the middle part of the race. I still think our short track program is as good as anyone's in ARCA and that will be reflected at Toledo."
McDowell gained ten points on Kimmel, now 140 markers behind the eight-time champion in the series point standings. With two races (Talladega and Toledo) remaining, McDowell knows that lady luck will have to favor him:
"Talladega is a track where we expect to encounter a lot of excitement and Toledo will be our last chance at a short track win," McDowell continued. "Plus, we're still in this championship hunt. We may be underdogs at this point, but I believe in everyone at Eddie Sharp Racing and still feel that this is an uncrowned championship team."
Up Next: McDowell and Eddie Sharp Racing venture to the 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway for one of ARCA's most exciting events on October 5.