McDowell Proves Masterful in Kentucky Speedway ARCA RE/MAX Series Win
ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Michael McDowell powered his way to his first ARCA RE/MAX Series win in his 18th career start in front of 12,469 race fans at Kentucky Speedway tonight in the "Channel 5 150."
The recently coverted open-wheel driver from Phoenix, Ariz., crossed the finish line 4.573 seconds ahead of second-place driver Cale Gale and his No. 33 Jolt Energy Gum Chevrolet fielded by Kevin Harvick, Inc.
"It's just unreal. We've worked really hard for this moment, and everybody at Eddie Sharp Racing on the No. 2 side has been working their tails off," McDowell said. "To get the Z-Line Design/Make a Wish car to Victory Lane for the first time is unbelievable and to do it here at the Kentucky Speedway, with the field we had and all the developmental drivers is a big deal."
McDowell led a 68 of 100 laps on the night including the final 14, and credited his strong stretch run to solid adjustments made on his final pit stop taken during a caution period that began on Lap 62.
He took the race lead for the final time by passing Gale's No. 33 in Turn 1 on Lap 86.
"We made some good changes at the last pit stop, and I saw that I could get him (Gale) if I just set it up correct," McDowell said. "I just got a good run and went for it. You never know if you're going to pull it off, but when we got along side, I thought it was done right then." The win moves McDowell from third to second in the series standings and gives him a total of four top-five and eight top-10 finishes through 13 events this season. He will trail series leader and tonight's 10th-place driver Frank Kimmel by 110 points in the standings when the series visits Pocono Raceway for its next event Aug. 4.
"We've been strong all year," McDowell said. "We've had some unfortunate events that have kept us out of Victory Lane. We have five poles and a bunch of Top Fives, but this is the biggest for us - our first win."
Bobby Santos, III, placed third in his 02 Bill Davis Trucking Toyota, Alex Yontz was fourth in his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and pole award winner Erin Crocker rounded out the Top Five.
Santos and Crocker earned their second straight top-five series finishes at the track and Yontz earned his first. Kimmel takes home his fifth top-five and eighth top-10 finish of the season. He now owns 11 top-10 series finishes at Kentucky Speedway through 15 career starts. The fourth of five 2007 Kentucky Speedway race weekends continues tomorrow with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."
Speedway gates open at 3:00 p.m. and "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" qualifying begins at 4:00 p.m. American Idol champion Taylor Hicks will be in concert at 6:30 p.m., and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers take the green flag at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets are still available and can be reserved at the speedway main entrance beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Story by Mike Schmaltz and John Popelar
~ Kentucky Speedway ~