2022 FRM Las Vegas II Race Report: McDowell and Gilliland Overcome Handling Adversity in Las Vegas

Front Row Motorsports (FRM) rolled the dice this past weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for 400 miles on Sunday afternoon. Both cars fought handling issues throughout the entire day and came out of the race in ‘Sin City’ with top-25 finishes.


Todd Gilliland’s Ruedebusch Development and Construction No. 38 team rebounded from a 35-place starting position to finish 25th.


Michael McDowell in the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops, Luber-Finer Ford Mustang ran inside the top 20 all day fighting handling issues for a 19th-place result. 


Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 team started the 400-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway event from the 35th position. With all the positions out in front, the Ruedebusch crew was determined to work on the car and gain track position throughout the afternoon.


The car would start very tight to start the race, hurting Gilliland’s initial speed into a run, but within a few laps, the car would get loose and make it difficult to have any momentum for passes. The No. 38 crew worked tirelessly on the car to improve the handling, gaining track position in the process.


After playing strategy on a few late cautions, Gilliland found himself back on the lead lap for the final run to the finish line, where he ultimately finished in 25th.

“It was a really up and down day for our Ruedebusch Ford Mustang,” said Gilliland. “We didn’t qualify with the speed we had hoped for and it was an uphill battle from there. My guys did great on pit road working on the car and getting me some much-needed track position in the end. With the day we had, I’ll take a 25th and we’ll move on to Homestead next week.”


The Love’s Travel Stops/Luber-Finer Ford team had a slow start to the weekend, taking every opportunity to refine the setup for McDowell, and ensure a good grip on handling going into the race Sunday. With a 15th place starting position, the team did not start where they wanted, but worked hard to advance.


The first two stages were uneventful to start, with Michael having to fight a very tight condition that turned to the loose side of things as the runs progressed. With wall contact prior to stage three, the car was fast, but on edge. Running lap times comparable to the leaders, a loose condition arose.


While corrections in stage three were made to fix the car as the track heated up, and rubber was laid down, the car once again begun to turn to the tight side. Losing a handful of positions from the 14th position to the high 20’s, the team took every chance to get the Love’s Travel Stops/Luber-Finer Ford right for the final series of cautions.

With the handling remaining tight, new tires allowed for Michael and the team to advance with multiple aggressive restarts in the final 30 laps to come back to finish the race in the 19th position.


“We gave it all we had, but the car never felt the same after we had contact with the wall, and just couldn’t get the setup back to how we had it earlier in the race. We were super tight through the entire last hundred laps or so, but all in all we salvaged a decent finish given the circumstances. I can’t thank my Love’s Travel Stops/Luber-Finer guys enough for the fighting effort all day long.


Both Todd Gilliland and teammate Michael McDowell are eager to take their last trip of the season south, where they will make their one and only stop of the season in Miami,  at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.