NASCAR driver Michael McDowell will get to visit his hometown this weekend as the Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team heads to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the Good Sam 500.
McDowell grew up in Glendale, Az. and started racing BMX bikes in the northern Phoenix area at three years old. He then progressed to kart racing and joined the Phoenix Karting Racing Association, which operates 30 miles north of PIR. As he was maturing in his racing career, McDowell often went to the Indy car races at Phoenix International Raceway with his family.
“It’s fun to race at Phoenix in front of a hometown crowd,” said McDowell, who will pilot the No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet SS. “The track makes for really good racing with a lot of side-by-side action. The new pavement and dogleg create a whole new level of excitement. This race in particular is very competitive – there are usually a lot of cautions and plenty of opportunities to pass. It’s a good race for our Thrivent Racing team to come to after being at the mile and a half tracks for two weeks.”
After a 15th place finish in the Daytona 500, the Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team found challenges at the next two races – Atlanta and Vegas – both 1.5-mile race tracks. McDowell and the team are looking forward to mixing it up this weekend at a unique track on the circuit.
“Phoenix is sort of a hybrid track – it’s between a short track and a 1.5-mile track,” explained McDowell. “At Phoenix you are in the gas so long and its still very high speed so everything on your car has to be just right. You can’t beat and bang the car like you could at Martinsville and Bristol.”
Like all tracks they visit together this season, this will be crew chief Dave Winston’s first time working with McDowell at Phoenix, but he feels confident in what both he and the driver will bring to this race weekend.
“McDowell feels confident going to Phoenix and the last couple of years I’ve had some really good runs with the teams I’ve been with, so I’m looking forward to this race as well,” said Winston. “I think we have a great plan in place and are prepared for this race. I’m confident in what I have and McDowell is confident in racing there so I’m really looking forward to this race weekend. Our main goal is to finish in the Top-25 – but a Top-20 would be even better!”
The Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will take place on Sunday, March 13 at 3:30pm ET. Follow the race team on Twitter for updates at @CSLFR95.
Michael McDowell thrilled to race at his Hometown Track - Phoenix International Raceway
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