McDowell talks about making the Daytona 500 field

Ford Racing press release

MICHAEL MCDOWELL – No. 98 KLOVE/Curb Records Ford Fusion

Michael McDowell, Phil Parsons Racing Ford
Michael McDowell, Phil Parsons Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

THOUGHTS ON MAKING THE DAYTONA 500. “It’s amazing. I’ve been here once before and made the race. I had to qualify in and I’ve been on the outside looking in too, so just know that this is extremely special not just for me and my family, but for our whole team. Phil Parsons Racing is a small team. We’ve got six guys back at the shop that worked really hard in the off-season to give us a fast car and it’s just cool to be able to carry the Curb-Agajanian brand, the 98 car, and to have K-LOVE radio – a Christian radio network on the car – and to have Curb Records as well is a good start for us. This is the start of big things for us.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR COMEBACK ABILITY? “I don’t think it’s my ability, I just feel like I’m extremely blessed. I just want to thank God first and foremost because these opportunities aren’t something you take lightly. It’s hard to be one of 43 in this sport and it’s been a tough road for me, for sure, and opportunities like this give me an opportunity to show I belong here, hopefully, and hopefully we’ll have a great 500.”

HOW MUCH PRESSURE WAS THERE FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU WHO HAD TO RACE YOUR WAY IN? “It’s extremely anxious. One of the big concerns we had was we were running good in that lead pack, but we didn’t think we could make it on fuel, so that was a big concern – trying to stay in the lead pack, save fuel and not get hot was a pretty tough thing to do. So that was the big thing there with about 10 to go, just trying to save fuel, and then when that caution came out that gave us the opportunity to get some gas, but it’s anxious the whole time. For me, I knew starting 21st I had to get to the front pretty early on and get in that lead pack. I wasn’t sure how much excitement there was gonna be. Unfortunately, we were kind of involved in that first wreck that took out a few cars. Everybody just got bump-drafting there and it got pretty busy, so you just never know. You just have to go for it the whole 60 laps.”

YOU WERE THIRD IN THE ROLEX 24. ARE YOU ON A ROLL THIS MONTH? “I sure hope so. The one thing I’ve learned over time is you have to manage the highs and lows in this sport because there are a lot of highs and a lot of lows, so, for me, I’m gonna enjoy this high and enjoy the time that we get to be in the Daytona 500 and just try to keep everything moving forward. It’s a humbling sport. You come in here and just to be able to compete every week is difficult, so I’m just happy to have the opportunity.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TREVOR? DO YOU MAKE THE 500 WITHOUT HIM? “It’s absolutely the reason I’m in the 500, there’s no doubt about it. Trevor is obviously a close friend of mine and for him to take the unselfish route and help me out means a lot to me. There’s been a lot of ups-and-downs for him in his career as well, so it’s just cool we’ve been able to go through those together and for him to push me into the 500 is definitely pretty special. So, to answer your question, I probably wouldn’t have made it, no.”

HOW CLOSE WERE YOU TO GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THAT FIRST WRECK? “I was right in it. I have to watch the replay, but I feel like I was probably the cause of it, really. Trevor was on my bumper pushing me and I got to David’s bumper and as soon as I did it turned hard left. You just never know with this new style of the tandem and the spoiler. Trevor yesterday pushed me around for three solid laps, the car never moved and never wiggled, so when I got to David’s bumper I was figuring it was gonna be the same for him and obviously it wasn’t. It’s very unfortunate for him because I know that they were locked in and probably didn’t plan on racing a whole lot there and just wanted to feel out their car, so it’s just tough. When you’ve got somebody pushing you and he’s getting pushed and then somebody gets on the brakes. I rolled out of the gas and got on the brakes as well, but by then he was already turned sideways, so I hate it for them for sure.”

BUT YOU COULD HAVE EASILY BEEN IN IT. “Oh yeah, absolutely. And that’s what I’m talking about when I say that having faith and knowing that God is in control because you just saw that – I go left and I’m in the wreck and I’m going home. If I go right, I’m in the wreck and I’m going home, so you just don’t take it for granted.”

WHAT WILL THIS PAYDAY ON SUNDAY DO FOR YOUR TEAM AS FAR AS SCHEDULING THIS SEASON? “When you put together your plan and you look at the sponsorship that you have, this race is a big part of whether or not you can run races because the prize money is so substantial, so our plan was to run the first five races and try to get locked into the top 35 and this gives us the ability to do that and having K-LOVE come on board for about four races as well throughout the year, we’re just slowly starting to build this program and, for us, substantial funding is five races to go race, it’s not 36 races to go race. So, for us, this definitely helps build that momentum and continue to build partnerships and try to make the formula work.”

ROBBY GORDON TALKS ABOUT LENDING PARTS TO MCDOWELL’S TEAM. MCDOWELL SAYS: “You guys probably don’t know much, but a lot of these small teams all work together because we just don’t have the resources. We have six guys back at the shop, so if we need something we can go over to Robby’s and borrow it. JTG pitted my car today and it’s cool to see this community has really changed over the last few years in the sense that there’s not an abundance of people, an abundance of funds and an abundance of parts, so it’s just cool to see everybody working together.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael McDowell , Phil Parsons , Eric Gilbert
Teams Phil Parsons Racing
Tags curb, ford, mcdowell, parsons racing