Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing was thrilled to head to the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway for the GEICO 500 – a track where they knew their car and driver could secure a solid Top-10 finish, if not the win. And while the team raced at the front pack for a majority of the race, the No. 95 was involved in two late race cautions that relegated the team to a 21st place finish.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael McDowell qualified the No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet SS in 31st position for Sunday’s race, but when the green flag dropped he quickly found the middle line in the 3-wide racing and moved up to the Top-20.
McDowell avoided two close calls on the track, weaving his way through accidents and the team felt that Lady Luck was on their side. But, with only 28 laps to go, the No. 95 Chevrolet was caught up in a wreck that McDowell couldn’t avoid.
The Thrivent Financial pit crew worked hard to fix the damaged car – having McDowell bring it into the pits four times before the race restarted. And during the following caution, the team was able to add a left front body piece on the car, which greatly helped McDowell on the track as he moved up to run as high as sixth.
Staying in the middle lane, McDowell was involved in another accident with about 10 laps to go. This incident brought major damage to the No. 95 and the team was left to survive the remainder of the race, relegating the No. 95 Chevrolet to a 21st place finish in the GEICO 500.
“We fought hard. We overcame adversity,” said McDowell after the race. “We were in position there to have a top 10 and we just got caught up in a wreck. Not sure exactly what happened, just got hit from behind, ran into the No. 10 and she spun. It was just one of those chain reaction deals. I will have to go back and see. Everyone did good, the Thrivent Financial Chevrolet was up front, got some TV time, was running hard, unfortunately, we didn’t get the finish.”
Next up for the No. 95 team is the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
McDowell Relegated to 21st Place Finish Following Involvement in Two On-Track Wrecks
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