Tuesday, Sep 26

FRM COTA Recap: Smith Rallies Back for Second Truck Series Win. McDowell & Gilliland Show Pace Late For Top-16 Cup Finishes

FRM COTA Recap: Smith Rallies Back for Second Truck Series Win. McDowell & Gilliland Show Pace Late For Top-16 Cup Finishes NK Photography Photo
This past weekend featured all three Front Row Motorsports (FRM) teams in action. They raced through the twists and turns of the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.
Zane Smith and the Speedco Ford F-150 team rallied back late in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event for his second win of the 2022 season.
In Sunday's 231-mile NASCAR Cup Series race, Michael McDowell brought the Love's Travel Stops No. 34 Ford Mustang across the line in 13th.
Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 Boot Barn Ford Mustang team had a Cup Series career-best 16th-place finish.
Zane Smith and the No. 38 Speedco Ford F-150 team rolled into COTA coming off a top-five finish the week before at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team was feeling good heading to Texas.
Smith started off the weekend on the right foot by qualifying on the front row, his highest qualifying run of the season thus far. Looking to maximize points for the day, the team did just that. They played pit strategy to perfection to win both opening stages.
In the final stage, Smith made contact with another truck and his No. 38 Ford went spinning. With the race coming to an end, Smith raced his way from the back to the front. In dramatic fashion, Smith made the race-winning, four-wide pass for the lead after the other leaders made contact. Smith snuck his Speedco Ford low below all three leaders and cruised easily to the win.
"It just goes to show that you're never out of a race until you cross the finish line. My Speedco guys did great all day giving me what I needed to get the job done and put it in Victory Lane.
"I really want to thank the people from Speedco, everyone who is supporting this program and to Bob Jenkins. We're having a great time and it's been a lot of fun."
For Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Love's Ford Mustang team, it was a total team effort over the weekend.
McDowell was confident heading into practice and qualifying. He loves racing at COTA and knew he could compete for a great finish. On Saturday, the team had to work to find the best handling for McDowell. The team had to make a change to the car and fall to the rear for the start of Sunday's race.
From there, McDowell, crew chief Blake Harris and the entire Love's crew put on a show racing through the field. Using the first two stages to dial in their Ford Mustang, McDowell took control in the final stage.
He raced up to eighth and held onto a 13th-place result at the end. McDowell got everything out of the car.
"We didn't unload like we wanted, but the team never gave up all weekend. Saturday was frustrating for everyone, but that's when Blake and the engineers really dug deep to give us that speed we needed.
"It didn't happen at the start of the race, but by the end we were running top-10. A few little things different and we could have finished there, but we'll take 13th today and get on a roll from here."
Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 Boot Barn Ford Mustang started Sunday's race from 29th, but knew they had the opportunity to have a great day.
Gilliland fought the handling of the car early, finding the car to be loose in the corners. The team quickly went to work making adjustments to help tighten the car up and give it more grip. It worked as Gilliland moved into the top-25 and late in the stages was making passes to get into the top-20.
To show how strong the Boot Barn team is, Gilliland suffered a mechanical issue with the left-front wheel during a pit stop. The team quickly made the right repair on pit road and Gilliland was back on the track faster than ever. He went from the back to 16th at the end.
“I want to give a huge shoutout to my Boot Barn crew on pit road and my guys. They saved our race at the end. They fixed the issue and gave us what I needed to make moves at the end. We passed a lot of cars today. The Boot Barn Ford Mustang looked great and I'm ready to keep fighting hard."



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