Maintaining Coveted Top-35 Position is at Top of McDowell's Agenda Entering Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2008) -- Michael McDowell experienced Daytona International Speedway for the first time driving for Michael Waltrip Racing in the...
Maintaining Coveted Top-35 Position is at Top of McDowell's Agenda Entering Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2008) -- Michael McDowell experienced Daytona International Speedway for the first time driving for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener. Now, he tries his hand at the 2.5-mile tri-oval in his #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota Camry during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday.
"I'm glad I've turned some laps at Daytona," McDowell said. "Our biggest challenge will be trying to avoid getting caught up in a wreck because we are on the bubble. We have to stay inside the top-35."
McDowell knows what he has to do to keep a coveted spot in the owner standings.
"We need to finish in the top-15 or top-20," McDowell said. "I haven't been in a situation where I have had to qualify for a race and I want to keep that streak going for the rest of the year."
Keeping that streak alive is vitally important to McDowell and he's optimistic about the 160-lap event.
"Michael Waltrip Racing has a solid superspeedway package," McDowell said. "It showed at Daytona earlier this year and also at Talladega. Actually, Michael Waltrip was in contention for a victory at Talladega until his engine expired at the end of the race. I know we've got a good program in place, but I'm still a rookie in this deal. I've got to go out there and earn respect."
As a rookie, McDowell has had to adapt quickly to the ever-changing track configurations on a weekly basis.
"We've gone from a two-mile D-shaped track to a road course to a mile oval and now to a superspeedway in a matter of a few weeks and that's tough when you've never raced a Cup car there or even seen the place," McDowell said. "These cars drive and handle so much different in competition that it feels like it is new every weekend. That's why I'm looking forward to going back to places like Pocono, Martinsville, Dover and New Hampshire. Those are places I've run before with my guys and we can build upon that."