Dale Jarrett Hails Michael McDowell Pit Crew After ‘Big One’ Impact During NASCAR Daytona 500

Published 02/18/2021, 9:17 AM EST
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The 2021 Daytona 500 certainly had its fair share of drama and excitement, with crashes and cautions making a definite impact. Ultimately though, in the end, Front Row Motorsports (FRM) driver Michael McDowell stormed through and took home the ‘Great American Race’ win.

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Just 15 laps into the race, a rear-end bump from Christopher Bell meant Aric Almirola, who was in second at the time, crashed into pole-sitter Alex Bowman. That triggered a chain reaction that saw a host of racecars taken out of the race, with many others suffering damage.
Among the drivers was also McDowell, whose pit crew did an immense job in making a repair on his right front side. NASCAR expert Dale Jarrett offered his thoughts on the ‘Big One’ and how it also impacted FRM No.24.

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He stated, “Yeah, mainly because it happened at the very front of the pack. You had Aric Almirola sitting there, pushing his teammate at the time Kevin Harvick.”

The crew of Michael McDowell did a ‘terrific job’, said Dale Jarrett

“But just one push by Christopher Bell, that was a little too hard maybe at the time of the race. It ended up creating this huge accident, of which Michael McDowell was a part of also.”

Sunday's #Daytona500 didn't start as planned for many, including race winner @Mc_Driver. @DaleJarrett broke down @team_frm's repair job, & the impact of the Big One on many big-time contenders: https://t.co/hu3Ru36o0m pic.twitter.com/M6PQYiczzw

— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) February 17, 2021

Jarrett continued, “His crew did a terrific job, his crew did a nice job of repairing the right side of that car in particular from some damage that he received in that accident. But it took out so many challengers that we thought were gonna be there.”

McDowell continued to build some pace and his eventual efforts resulted in success

The ‘Big One’ certainly took out some major contenders, with Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman and William Byron headlining the list. Other names included the likes of Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola, with the former also having crashed out in the 2021 Busch Clash as well.

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Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Regardless, following the restart, McDowell emerged from the bottom half to finish 15th in Stage 1. With a pit stop that saw him come out with a repaired right front segment and fresher tires, he ended Stage 2 even more impressively in 7th.
But it was staying with the frontrunners that ultimately paid off, as he overtook Elliott to win the race. Needless to say, McDowell owes his pit crew a big thanks, who helped him stay in contention and achieve the all-important Daytona 500 crown.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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