NCS: Michael McDowell earns a playoff spot with Indianapolis Road Course win
Michael McDowell punched his ticket to the playoffs with his win on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
For McDowell, this marks his second win of his career. His first win came in the 2021 Daytona 500.
McDowell was able to have his family with him to witness his win on Sunday. Win he won the Daytona 500 in 2021 his family was absent.
"It's such a big deal," McDowell told NBC Sports post-race. "Winning the Daytona 500 was one of the coolest moments you could ever have but going to victory lane without your family, that was tough so we cherry pick. My family comes to the races we think we can win. We thought we could win this one. I'm just so proud."
McDowell led the most laps on Sunday afternoon and won a stage as well as accumulating 19 stage points.
Rounding out the top five were Chase Elliott in second, Daniel Suarez in third, Tyler Reddick in fourth and Alex Bowman in fifth.
Chase Elliott, who finished runner-up on Sunday will need a win next Sunday at Watkins Glen or Daytona in two weeks if he wants to make the playoffs. Elliott missed a portion of the season with a leg injury and was granted a waiver to be playoff eligible if he were to win a race.
McDowell's win on Sunday now puts Bubba Wallace on the playoff cutline with just two races left before the cutoff. Wallace has a 28 point lead over Daniel Suarez and a 49 point lead over Ty Gibbs. Both Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman remain 80 points behind the cutoff.
Rounding out the top ten were Chase Briscoe in sixth, Martin Truex Jr. in seventh, Kyle Larson in eighth, Christopher Bell in ninth and Shane Van Gisbergen.
Shane Van Gisbergen, who placed tenth returned to the Cup Series for the first time since his win at the Chicago Street Course last month.
Mike Rockenfeller, who is tabbed to fill in for the No.42 for this weekend at Indy and next weekend at Watkins Glen finished 24th.
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen on Sunday, August 20th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on USA network.
Stage 1 Winner: Michael McDowell
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Race Winner: Michael McDowell
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