Michael McDowell raced his way to a 22nd place finish in the Hollywood Casino 400 Sunday afternoon, securing his career best finish at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). McDowell and Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing (CSLFR) are having their best NSCS seasons, as they have recorded career best finishes at fourteen total tracks during the 2016 season.
Although qualifying for the Hollywood Casino 400 did not go as planned for CSLFR, with the team ending round one of qualifying in the 33rd position, they remained confident they would be able to get the No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet SS dialed in for race day as they stayed in the Top-20 on the leaderboard during second practice Saturday.
At the start of the Hollywood Casino 400, McDowell reported the No. 95 Chevy was tight-handling. Fortunately, the first caution flag fell early, allowing the CSLFR crew to make adjustments.
After the first set of adjustments, McDowell still knew something wasn’t quite right, as he was not able to drive the No. 95 Chevy into turns three and four like he wanted to. Crew chief Todd Parrott called McDowell into the pits during his green-flag run in order to make changes. This put the team one lap down.
The changes were advantageous and McDowell raced his way into the “Lucky Dog” spot and got back on the lead lap for the remainder of the race.
McDowell made it as far as 19th until a team miscue during the final pit stop prevented them from making a last minute change. The car ended up being too loose during the last run, but McDowell was able to keep control of it and finish a career-best 22nd at Kanas Speedway.
“I feel good after that race,” said McDowell. “It was a solid day. We didn’t have quite the speed we had in Charlotte but we managed the day well, and Todd Parrott did a good job calling the race. We got back on the lead lap, and we just had a mishap on our last stop. We weren’t able to get the last change in and had a couple little hiccups that cost us a little bit. All in all we were able to come out of Kansas with a solid finish. We are making good headway – we just have to keep going. We are definitely going the right way.”
Next up for McDowell and CSLFR is the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, October 23, where they hope to capitalize on the team’s ability to perform at super speedways.