You can’t find a better jewel in the desert than the Phoenix Raceway. The 1 mile, tri-oval shaped track is always a popular visit on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Phoenix Raceway hosts two events- this weekend and the season finale in November. The track recently went through major renovations making it one of the premier facilities on the circuit.
Front Row Motorsports (FRM) comes into Phoenix concentrating on continued progression at the track. Heading into this season, Phoenix Raceway was marked as a track where the organization wanted to make improvements. Michael McDowell has a best finish of 16th for FRM while Anthony Alfredo will be making his first Cup Series start at the track.
McDowell and Alfredo will race 312 laps on Sunday. The race will be televised on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET.
For McDowell, coming to the Phoenix Raceway this weekend as the 2021 Daytona 500 Champion is a dream homecoming. The Glendale native left from Las Vegas last weekend and made the drive with his family to the city he grew up. He spent the early week with family and friends before he makes an appearance at the go-kart club (Phoenix Kart Racing Association) where he started racing and other media appearances.
“It’s always nice to go home, but it’s special this time,” said McDowell. “Just to spend the week to thank and celebrate with everyone that helped make all this happen since I was a kid. There are so many people in Glendale and the Phoenix-area who were a part of my journey when I was getting started. I just wanted to be here with my family and thank a lot of people, see them and just enjoy it while we’re together.
“I didn’t think about being the Daytona 500 Champion when it all started here,” continued McDowell. “I wanted to race. It started with karting and I went from there. I’m thankful for it all and really just grateful to take this time with family and friends.”
But, McDowell knows the next task at hand.
“I’ve said it before, but we really wanted to think about this track and where we can get better. We know we’ve made a step forward, but our next step is really getting better at this track. We need to be consistent at every track. That will make us a real threat.”
McDowell will again climb behind the wheel of the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang this weekend.
Alfredo comes to the Phoenix Raceway ready to make his second NASCAR start at the track, but the first in his Cup car. That will be the case many times this season. Alfredo has experience at many tracks and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate knows the challenges. But, he also has expectations, too.
“We all know that I have to learn the car and in some cases, the track,” said Alfredo. “That’s what will happen a lot this year, but that doesn’t mean the expectation is to just drive around. No way. I think we’ve proven we have good speed, especially once I get 20 or 25 laps into the race. I’ve been comfortable getting into the groove and just trying to get better and better as the race goes along.
“So, I think we have our expectations of getting better, but also racing hard, racing for position and getting better results I look at Las Vegas last weekend and we’re probably running lap times around the top-15 guys or so. The same at Homestead. So, now it’s just closing down and getting those finishes at the end. I have confidence we can do that.”
Alfredo comes into Phoenix with three consecutive top-25 finishes.
“We want those to be top-20, then top-15, and then top-10 finishes,” continued Alfredo. “I don’t know how quick that will all happen, but I’m excited to keep learning and getting better. We’ve created a solid base the past few weeks and now we can build on top of it.”
Alfredo will race the No. 38 MDS Trucking Ford Mustang this weekend.