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NASCAR Cup Talladega

Ford remains winless in Cup after McDowell's 'bad move'

Ford Performance appeared set to pick up its first win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup season until a last-lap block gone bad crashed out race leader Michael McDowell.

In a wild race Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway that featured 72 lead changes and in which few drivers were able to establish dominance, Ford drivers McDowell and Brad Keselowski looked ready to decide the win between themselves.

As the two exited Turn 4 and entered the tri-oval on the final lap, McDowell went high to block an advance by Keselowski, but Keselowski quickly dove low to try to get the lead.

McDowell went low to block again, but this time Keselowski had already established position and instead, crossed the nose of Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford and ended up being turned into the wall.

In the aftermath of McDowell’s wreck, Tyler Reddick got by Keselowski to grab the victory for Toyota and leaving Ford and its new ‘Dark Horse’ Mustang still winless on the season.

The Big One

The Big One

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“We did a good job getting out front and controlling the race and putting ourselves in position,” said McDowell, who led a race-high 36 laps in his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford. “Brad is so good at this place, and he drug back and I drug back as quick as I could and was able to block that first run that he made.

“Then, when I came down for the second one he was just to my bumper. I mean barely, barely got me so it’s unfortunate. I hate it for him and I hate it for everybody that was behind that. It’s the last lap at Talladega. We’re all going for it.

“We had a shot at doing it there. Unfortunately, I just made a bad move there to put us in that spot.”

McDowell and his Front Row teammate, Todd Gilliland, have shown speed and been in contention for wins this season, but have yet to be able to reach Victory Lane.

Asked if felt more motivated or frustrated after a competitive performance like Sunday, McDowell said it was partly both.

“I’m frustrated right now. I’m motivated by our ability to run up there and manage the lanes and do all the things that we did,” he said. “Our car drove really well and took a push well and had a lot of speed, so those are good things, but it’s wadded up in a pile of rubble right now.

“It’s just unfortunate. It’s been a tough stretch here, but we’ve had speed and we’ve run up front and if we keep doing that, we’ll win a race.”

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