FINLAY MOTORSPORTS COMMENT ON THE ONE-RACE SUSPENSION OF DRIVER MICHAEL McDOWELL Charlotte, NC (Sept. 14, 2005) -- "Michael McDowell is one of the top young drivers in North America and this one-race suspension is a tough pill to swallow,...
FINLAY MOTORSPORTS COMMENT ON THE ONE-RACE SUSPENSION OF DRIVER MICHAEL McDOWELL
Charlotte, NC (Sept. 14, 2005) -- "Michael McDowell is one of the top young drivers in North America and this one-race suspension is a tough pill to swallow, but we support the actions of the Grand American Series," says Finlay Motorsports owner Rob Finlay. "Finlay Motorsports has become a top Grand American team in its first season of competition and we plan to be here a long time, so we need to be responsible members of the community and make sure that our drivers race smart as well as hard. That said, the Finlay team stands behind Michael one hundred percent. We'll work through this together and are completely confident that he will come back strong and go on to become the champion that we all know he can be. He will be back driving in the final two events of the year, and will be teamed with Memo Gidley again next year as we go for the 2006 Rolex Series championship."
McDowell and Gidley co-drive the Finlay Motorsports #19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation Dinan-powered Riley Daytona Prototype, and the team is currently tied for 5th in the 2005 championship battle. McDowell is also tied for 5th in the driver points battle.
The Finlay Motorsports team will announce McDowell's replacement for the Watkins Glen race within the next few days.
"This is a real eye-opener for me, and it's a lesson I'm taking to heart," says McDowell. "I need to learn a little patience so I don't put myself and the team in a position where something like this can happen. I've always raced clean and hard, but obviously I've gone over the line and I want to apologize to Scott Pruett and the CompUSA team, to the Grand American series and to my teammates at Finlay Motorsports. I've learned my lesson, and I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at VIR and helping the team finish out the season with a victory."
McDowell, just 20 years old, 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. The McDowell/Gidley driving duo has finished inside the top-four positions in five races this season and has finished inside the top 10 in nine of 11 starts.
McDowell is a national karting champion with 84 main event victories, 13 championships and two undefeated seasons. Moving up to open-wheel cars, he sat on the pole and won his first-ever formula car race in the Russell Racing School series. He was the 2003 Rookie of the Year in the Star Mazda series, and won the championship in 2004 with a record eight victories in ten races.