Michael McDowell will bring his extensive road course-racing background to Front Row Motorsports for the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International race weekend, as he’ll get the nod to pilot the No. 35 Dockside Logistics Ford in the Sprint Cup Series’ second road race of the season.
McDowell, whose racing career was built on twist-and-turn tracks in the open-wheel and sports-car ranks before moving to stock cars, will compete under the Front Row banner for the first time. The six-year Sprint Cup veteran has raced the 2.45- and 3.4-mile courses of The Glen in multiple series outside of his stock car endeavors, with results that include two top-five and three top-10 finishes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen will be McDowell’s fifth Cup start at the course.
Dockside Logistics’ return to the No. 35 Ford comes as the company expands with a new shipping facility in Savannah, Ga. The 175,000-square-foot facility now allows customers shipping options from both Charleston, S.C., and Savannah. Dockside also recently expanded its scope of services to include Export Packaging and Crating.
Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver Michael McDowell heading to Watkins Glen:
“This is a unique opportunity. I’m excited to drive the 35 car. We tested there last week and had a couple good days. Road course races are an opportunity for me to shine a little bit. Even though in the Sprint Cup Series, everybody is very good at it and very competitive. You used to have sort of an uphill battle if you weren’t a road course regular, but it definitely feels like less of a disadvantage when you get to the road courses now.
“I’ve been in NASCAR since 2008 and have had a few opportunities on the road courses, mainly with Joe Gibbs Racing. Jumping into the 18 car in the last couple years allowed me to show my abilities on the road courses. Since then, there has been more development as far as getting opportunities to go test for teams. It’s cool, and I’m just happy to be one of the 43 guys who will race the course this weekend.
“I’ve run a lot of races at Watkins Glen. I ran the Six Hours of The Glen (sports car race) multiple times, short endurance races in prototypes and GT cars. I’ve run Continental Tire races there. I never did an open-wheel race there. All the series that I ran in never went there. But not counting Sprint Cup, I’ve probably raced there about 10 times.
“The esses up the hill are definitely a challenge, and the bus stop is fun. It’s a good passing opportunity and always brings excitement. I really wish we could run the full course there. It’s so much fun. If there’s going to be a race where predominantly circle-track guys run well on a road course, it’s Watkins Glen. It’s less challenging than Sonoma or Road America or Mid-Ohio. So, it kind of balances things out a little more than some of the other road courses.”
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