2022 FRM Martinsville II Race Report: McDowell and Gilliland score Top-20 Finishes at Martinsville

McDowell and Gilliland score Top-20 Finishes at Martinsville


Front Row Motorsports (FRM) traveled to the ‘paperclip’ this weekend for the penultimate round in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season at Martinsville Speedway and came away with two top-20 finishes after 500 laps of short-track racing.


Todd Gilliland’s scored his best finish at Martinsville with a 13th-place finish in the No. 38 Moji Sushi Ford Mustang.


Michael McDowell and the Fr8Auctions.com team brought home the No. 34 Ford in 17th place, his fourth top-20 at Martinsville. 


Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 Moji Sushi team started off the 500-lap race at Martinsville from the 19th position, running some of the fastest lap times on the track throughout the first stage of the race.


During stage two, Gilliland’s Ford Mustang would trend toward the tight side, making it hard for the car to turn in on entry and snapping loose on exit. The No. 38 ultimately fell a lap down in the stage but worked hard to get the car back where it need to be.


With some late cautions, Gilliland was able to take the wave around, putting himself back on the lead lap and in a prime position to make up some positions. With only 18 cars on the lead lap, the No. 38 raced it’s way up and crossed the line in 14th at the finish. Due to a car receiving a penalty in post-race inspection, Gilliland was credited with a 13th-place finish.

“We had a really great Moji Sushi Ford Mustang,” said Gilliland. “We got off balance there a bit in stage two, but the guys did a great job on pit road getting the adjustments we need to help get where we needed to be. It feels good to come out with a 13th-place finish at a place like Martinsville. Hopefully, we can take this a build on it at Phoenix next weekend.”


At a track that has not been kind to McDowell and his Fr8Auctions.com Ford team in the past, the team went into the weekend looking to change that narrative going into this past weekend’s race. Starting the race in thirteenth after a good qualifying lap, the team did not skip a beat racing well inside the top-15 for the duration of the all-green first stage.


With a loose handling race car, the Fr8Auctions.com team took the few chances they had to correct the handling for McDowell, by taking swings at the chassis by way of wedge adjustments. With a car now more fit to McDowell’s liking, the team would have to fight from one lap down, however, still inside the top-15 after an all-green second stage. Fighting hard to gain their lap back by way of the wave-around or free pass, the team would get their chance at the end of stage three.


With a mostly green stage three as well, the drama began within fifty to go. Through a series of cautions, McDowell fought hard to become the first car one lap down, and with the last caution with less than thirty laps remaining, the team would get their chance. With fresh tires and a perfectly handling race car, the team would just fall short of passing for position after starting at the tail end of the field for receiving the free pass, with the few amount of laps that were left. McDowell and his Fr8Auctions.com/Brave Like Wyatt team would finish on the lead lap in 17th after battling for just over half the race to get back on the lead lap.


“Not the day we had hoped for, but a lead lap and top-20 finish is great even though we always hope for more. We just missed it in the second half of the race and weren’t able to capitalize on gaining back track position. We got back on the lead lap very late, but were too far behind for that last restart, but I’m proud of Blake and everyone on the Fr8Auctions.com/Brave Like Wyatt team for fighting hard and not giving up all race, and giving us a shot at it in the end.”


In the team’s final weekend of the season, Zane Smith will look to capture his first Truck title on Friday, while it’s a homecoming weekend for Michael McDowell and last rookie race for Todd Gilliland on the Cup side this Sunday.