The Ford car from Front Row Motorsports, number 34, managed to complete 91 laps using only one tank of fuel. Typically, during green flag conditions, the expected number of laps before refueling is approximately 65.
He was on the verge of needing to make a pit stop when a disruption in the middle of the group ultimately brought the race to an end. The rain came, and the last 75 laps were canceled.
McDowell achieved a fourth-place finish, marking his initial top-five performance of the 2023 season. However, the most significant outcome was that this result elevated him by two points beyond the cutoff threshold.
The experienced driver has never qualified for the playoffs based solely on points. However, in 2021, he secured a spot in the playoffs by winning the surprising season-opening Daytona 500. With seven races remaining in the regular season, McDowell currently occupies the 16th and last position within the playoffs.
“I believe Travis Peterson, our crew chief, did an excellent job of maximizing our position on the track when it was necessary,” McDowell commented after the race. “Unfortunately, the incident with Martin Truex on pit road cost us the track position we needed, so we had to be a bit innovative. I am grateful that we were able to recover, but I really wish I could have held off those guys at the end. We had a chance on the restart, especially since we started in the front row. I thought I executed the start quite well, but I just couldn’t get past AJ Allmendinger like I needed to. It didn’t work out as planned, but we were very close.”
McDowell had an opportunity to take the lead, but unfortunately, it did not happen for him. The race was intense right from the beginning, and having a good position on the track was crucial. McDowell’s car got damaged on the right-front fender when Truex made contact with him on pit road, but it didn’t appear to significantly affect his performance.
“It was quite an intense race,” he remarked. “We managed to secure an early lead and earn some stage points. However, during our first pit stop, there was an unfortunate collision with Martin Truex, resulting in damage to the car. This setback affected our progress, but thanks to Travis Peterson’s excellent race strategy, we were able to regain track position just in time before the rain arrived.
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