Front Row Motorsports (FRM) went west to Texas Motor Speedway with seven races left in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 First Phase team battled the handling early in the race but played strategy towards the end to fight up front. Unfortunately, a tire issue sent Gilliland to the back for a 28th-place finish.
Michael McDowell and the Love’s Travel Stops, Speedco Ford Mustang team ran well inside the top-ten all race. From starting in the fifth position, leading ten laps, and finishing both stages with stage points, the team would finish eleventh after a series of late race cautions.
|Todd Gilliland started the 334-lap event at Texas Motor Speedway in the 28th position with the No. 38 First Phase Ford Mustang and was quickly fighting handling issues in the early stages.|
Complaining of a loose race car, the pit crew worked throughout the evening, making the right adjustments to get the car better. Fighting inside the top 20, the team made a strategy call to inherit track position in the final stage during a late-race caution.
Gilliland would fight inside the top-5 and even battle for the lead as the laps were winding down. Unfortunately, Gilliland suffered a flat tire on the next restart, a common issue that plagued many teams on Sunday night. The No. 38 First Phase team finished in the 28th position.
|“We were really fast there at the end,” said Gilliland. “It has been really encouraging to see the speed out of this No. 38 group the past few weeks, even if the results don’t show it. Seth (Barbour) made a great call to get us that track position, a lot of teams had tire issues during this race, and we were one of them. We’ll move on and shift our focus to Talladega.”|
Like most of the cars in the field, McDowell fought a loose handling car early in the race, as the intense heat mixed with the slick patch of traction compound threw the competition a curve ball. Starting fifth and working up into fourth, is were the Love’s Travel Stops, Speedco team would remain for a large chunk of stage one, prior to strategy variations later in the stage.
Finishing stage one in tenth, and working on the loose handling through stage two, the team would work their way back up from the mid-field to finish stage two in tenth as well. While many cautions began to arise as tire issues came up, McDowell would gain track position and place himself as the leader as the red flag would fly after an hour long rain/lightning delay.
With track position and a good handling car, the Love’s team would have to fight off cars with fresher tires on numerous occasions while being on a differing strategy. Knowing places would be lost, their target was to hold station until the tires would level out. As the track cooled, the car became much looser than it was previously. While McDowell also was fought transmission issues, the team would finish outside the top-ten, in eleventh.
“We had a great Love’s Travel Stops, Speedco Ford Mustang all day, while leading laps and having great track position. We were right there, but just too loose, and out of sequence with everyone else on older tires after those late cautions. We missed the top-ten by one position again, but it’s good to be disappointed with finishing eleventh, and we can be proud of the night we had starting in the top-five.”
FRM will head to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend with both the Truck and Cup Series with action starting on Saturday.