Front Row Motorsports (FRM) visited the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this past weekend, for the first of two visits to the 2.66-mile track this season. With expectations high going into the weekend, Michael McDowell earned his second consecutive Top-10 finish, while Todd Gilliland ran strong through the first two stages before getting caught up in a wreck. He finished 27th.
McDOWELL SURGES LATE, FINISHES 8TH
The No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops/Speedco Ford Mustang team and Michael McDowell started Sunday’s race 21st. McDowell, a master speedway racer, knew that he may have to race in the back until the final laps to make his move.
Stage One and Two did not go to plan for the team, with a long green flag run in Stage One leading to a series of pit stops. A slow stop resulted in the team being one of three cars hung out of the draft and losing a lap. With multiple cautions leading up to the end of Stage Two, McDowell was back on the Lead Lap.
Through the race, the team worked on the handling of the car and McDowell stayed out of danger. Hanging back until three laps to go, McDowell made an impressive charge to the front on the final lap. McDowell raced all the way up to eighth- his second consecutive top-10.
MCDOWELL ON TALLADEGA:
“I thought with three to go that something was going to happen. I re-positioned myself and built a run. We were able to weave through there on the last lap. It is just so hard to pass today. It is just a different style of racing, even more so here than it was at Daytona with this Next Gen car. I am proud of everyone and coming out of here with a Top-10 is a great day.”
GILLILAND’S RUN GETS CUT SHORT, FINISHES 27TH
Todd Gilliland came into the weekend ready to duplicate the run the No. 38 First Phase Credit Card Ford Mustang was building in the first race of the season at Daytona.
Early in Sunday’s race, Gilliand quickly navigated up into the top-20 from a 32nd starting position. The First Phase Credit Card team had no problems racing inside the top-20 in Stage One.
While battling for position at the end of Stage Two, Gilliland fell victim to an accident. Waiting for a push, followed by repairs, Gilliland lost four laps. He was able to continue, but later was forced to retire the First Phase Credit Card Ford Mustang after sustaining damage to the rear diffuser.
GILLILAND ON TALLADEGA:
“This was a tough race on us. We were super quick when the race got going and had the speed to be up in contention all race. It stinks that we ended up pretty damaged from that big wreck. We need to regroup and focus on Dover.”