Director of Competition suspends Michael McDowell

McDowell Suspended from Rolex Series Crown Royal 250 at The Glen After Several Incidents DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 14, 2005) -- Working in concert with Finlay Motorsports team officials, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Director of ...

McDowell Suspended from Rolex Series Crown Royal 250 at The Glen After Several Incidents

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 14, 2005) -- Working in concert with Finlay Motorsports team officials, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Director of Competition Mark Raffauf has suspended driver Michael McDowell from the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen on September 24 following the latest in a series of on-track incidents.

McDowell, driver of the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley for the Finlay team was placed on probation by Raffauf following several incidents earlier this summer. The first-year Rolex Series driver drew the one-race penalty following avoidable contact with defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on a Lap 79 restart in Saturday's Racetickets.com 250 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The incident removed Pruett and co-driver Luis Diaz from the race and relegated the No. 01 team to a 16th-place result. McDowell--who received a one-minute penalty following the incident--and co-driver Memo Gidley finished sixth in the Racetickets.com 250.

"I have no doubts that Michael McDowell is an extremely talented young driver," Raffauf said. "However, his involvement in numerous incidents this season has left me with no choice but to sit him down for a race. We are hopeful that Michael will return to competition at Virginia International Raceway and drive at the level he is capable of achieving."

The 20-year-old McDowell became the youngest driver in Daytona Prototype history to finish second overall in a Rolex Series event with a runner-up performance in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in late July. McDowell has finished inside the top-four positions in five races this season and has finished inside the top 10 in nine of 11 starts. He is currently tied for eighth in the Daytona Prototype championship standings.

The Daytona Prototype rookie debuted in the Grand-Am Cup Series in 2004, earning best results of eight at Mont-Tremblant and Watkins Glen in the Grand Sport (GS) class. McDowell also claimed the 2004 Star Mazda North American championship with seven victories and six pole positions in the 10-race series, and was the 2003 Star Mazda Rookie of the Year with two wins and three poles.

Next up for the Rolex Series is the third and final 2005 visit to Watkins Glen International for the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen on Saturday, September 24. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Memo Gidley , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Michael McDowell , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing