Michael McDowell kicks off his 17th season in the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend with momentum and a new sponsor. Margaritaville at Sea, celebrating the launch of its newest ship, the Margaritaville at Sea Islander this summer, will be looking to make a splash, joining the team in Los Angeles.
McDowell will race the No. 34 Margaritaville at Sea Ford Mustang Dark Horse during The Clash at The Coliseum at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; a purpose-built track inside the famous stadium.
The two-day exhibition event will begin Saturday, February 3 at 6:10 p.m. ET with a practice and qualifying session televised live on FS1. Heat race starting positions will be based on the fastest times for each driver in the third and final practice session. Once the heat race lineups are set, the four 25-lap heat races will take place with the top-five finishers earning a spot in the main event. Qualifying heats (25 laps) will also be Saturday night beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET live on FS1.
Sunday will feature a last-chance qualifying race (75 laps) before the 150-lap feature race that will start 23 of the 36-entered teams. The race will feature a mid-race break highlighted with a performance by Machine Gun Kelly.
All of Sunday’s coverage will be televised live on FOX.
The Clash at The Coliseum will mark the first track test for the new season, but familiar faces on the No. 34 team. Travis Peterson returns as crew chief and is looking to continue building a strong, competitive foundation from last year’s Cup Series playoff team.
CREW CHIEF TRAVIS PETERSON:
“We’re not going to miss a beat from the success that we saw out of Michael last season. We’re going to pick up where the team was at the end of 2023 and our goal is only to improve on what has been built. The Clash is a chance for us to knock off some rust and get back into the rhythm of traveling, putting in full days at the track, and working on our communication with Michael.
“Our goal is to leave The Clash with a top-10 result. Michael enjoyed The Clash last year and had some success passing cars and he had good speed. As a team, we expect nothing less than the same effort with an even better result.”
DRIVER MICHAEL MCDOWELL:
“The Clash is really the first chance that everyone can really get together and see how you stack up against one another. I don’t know if it’s the perfect test, since this event is such an anomaly, but it gives you an idea of where your program may be.”
“We are very excited to get the season started. The guys on this 34 Mustang Dark Horse have been working hard since last November and we are really looking forward to see how we run.”
Front Row Motorsports PR