Monday, Dec 04

2022 FRM Las Vegas Race Report

Gilliland Builds on Phoenix Success While McDowell Returns to Home Track
“Lady Luck” was not on with the team in Las Vegas but showed great speed throughout the weekend in both the Truck Series, as well as the Cup Series. While this weekend only saw Front Row Motorsports’ Cup team on track, it was a weekend that excited. On one side, the return of hometown hero and Glendale, AZ native Michael McDowell, and on the other, rookie but no rookie to Phoenix Raceway success, Todd Gilliland.
Todd is no stranger to success at the Arizona track. With multiple top ten finishes between multiple NASCAR sanctioned series, including one win, he went into this weekend looking to bounce back and get his first top-20 finish after being close the last couple weeks. Going into Sunday’s race, it was going to be a tall order, but one the team was very capable of achieving.
Starting in the 33rd position, the team spent most of the first stage working on the car to get the handling to Todd’s liking, as well as learn the new car and track combination. As the race progressed, passing on the track and in the pits saw Todd sitting on the fringe of the top-20, and set up to where with the speed he was gaining, a good finish was well within reach. Utilizing a series of cautions, the car was able to be worked on to cure a loose condition and work to help to preserve the right rear tire. Through a long green flag run toward the end, he was able to work his way into the top-20, and hold station through the end to finish in the 19th position.
Today was a great day, and I felt like we learned a lot today that will be able to help us in the coming weeks. It was cool that not only was it my best finish of the season so far, but also the highest finishing rookie in the race. This track has always been good to me, and I’m just thankful to be able to deliver an awesome result for the team.”
Michael returned home for the first time since fall 2021 and enjoyed every minute of it. Taking time to enjoy the rest of the West Coast swing and visit familiar sights, he and his family stayed out after Las Vegas to unwind and relax before returning to the East Coast. Recharged and ready, he practiced hard and got the car to where he was able to put down a 22nd starting position, same as last week.
When the race got underway the team showed speed immediately, working their way inside the top twenty. After speeding on pit lane during the second stop and an ill-timed caution, by the time Stage Two started, meant the team would have to claw back into contention. Unfortunately, in dirtier air meant the handling went away. This was amplified by the changing track conditions. Struggling to keep heat out of the right rear tire, the car was proving difficult to handle, and was tight most of the day, especially in the traction compound. While some cautions assisted, the team couldn’t bounce back, and finished in the 27th position going into the unknown next weekend at the newly paved Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We brought another fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang to the track, and it just stinks that we haven’t been able to capitalize on that speed. The West Coast swing has been tough, but we learned a lot about this new car that we can carry on with us into the coming weeks. We have a hard-working group at FRM, so there’s no doubt that we will be able to continue to bring fast race cars to the track.”



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