McDowell earns career-best 3rd for ESR at Salem Rookie also takes home first ever Pole Award SALEM, IN (April 22, 2007) - Salem Speedway is usually a treacherous track that requires years of experience in hopes of success. Of course, if you're...
McDowell earns career-best 3rd for ESR at Salem
Rookie also takes home first ever Pole Award
SALEM, IN (April 22, 2007) - Salem Speedway is usually a treacherous track that requires years of experience in hopes of success. Of course, if you're Michael McDowell, that theory doesn't apply.
McDowell put up career-best numbers on the weekend at Salem, earning his first career ARCA RE/MAX Series pole and earning a personal-best third- place finish in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 by Federated Auto Parts. It was only his second race at the track.
McDowell's pole-winning lap of 17.794 seconds around the .555 mile oval was a culmination of strong performances in testing and peak times in practice, placing his No. 2 Z-Line Designs / Make-A-Wish / Beck Dodge first atop the scoring pylon. With his first career Pole Award in-hand, McDowell looked forward to a stellar Sunday afternoon drive.
From the drop of the green flag, McDowell was fast leading the race's first 56 laps. The No. 2 Dodge was the class of the field throughout the day on long runs, but unfortunately, extended green flag runs gave way to short dashes in between caution flags.
The No. 29 car of Brian Keselowski proved tough on short runs and soon took the lead from McDowell. While he was in contention for the win the entire 200 laps, McDowell needed a different set-up on his Dodge if he was going to catch Keselowski.
With crew chief Patrick Donahue atop the pit box, the Eddie Sharp Racing crew tightened the Dodge up in hopes of transforming his car from a distance-runner to a sprinter. The adjustment didn't hurt the car's standing but it didn't offer any challenge to Keselowski. McDowell settled for a career-best third- place finish.
"This is probably one of the hardest tracks we go to," stated McDowell. "It's good for Eddie Sharp Racing to run up front because we haven't had a whole lot of luck on the season. The car was good, not sure if it would have been able to catch (Keselowski) but it was fast all weekend."
"Looking at the big picture, it was a great points day for us. We now know what we're capable of and feel like we have a lot of momentum going forward to Kansas."
The third-place finish puts McDowell in 6th in the ARCA point standings through four races.
McDowell also brought home the Accel Fast Lap of the Race Award and was the race's highest-finishing rookie competitor.
Up Next: McDowell and Eddie Sharp Racing travel to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on Friday, April 27 for the Kansas Lottery $150 Grand.