NASCAR Daytona 500 2021 Champ Michael McDowell Eyes Back-to-Back Daytona Wins

Published 02/20/2021, 7:00 AM EST
BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – JULY 15: Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford, races John H. Nemechek, driver of the #38 YANMAR Ford, during the NASCAR Cup Series All-Open at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Last weekend, Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500, which was his first race win. As a result of his triumph, he heads into the NASCAR Cup Series road-course event with an air of confidence. McDowell is hopeful that he can make it two in a row at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253.

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If he somehow manages the feat, he will be the sixth driver to win the opening two races back-to-back. It also helps that Michael McDowell happens to be a former IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series road-course race winner.

“We feel really optimistic and confident,” said McDowell. “We had a top-five car most of the day last year. (Crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) and I went for it near the end with taking tires, but we didn’t get a late race caution so the strategy didn’t work like we wanted.”

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Why does Michael McDowell feel that he can win the road-course race?

The driver insisted that even if he hadn’t won the Daytona 500, he still had the pace to do so. He praised the team for their diligent work on their road-course program and that they were improving. Obviously, this will not be an easy feat, as he is starting alongside road-course specialist and pole-sitter, Chase Elliott.

“Even without the Daytona 500 win, we would still feel confident coming back this weekend. We have really worked hard on our road-course program this offseason and we are getting better. It’s another good opportunity for us,” McDowell expressed.

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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

The Hendrick Motorsports driver has notched up wins in the last four road-course races. Of course, this does not count the Busch Clash, where he got taken out of the race. As it turns out, the 25-year-old boasts of the best career average finish on road courses.

Hopefully, for McDowell’s sake, he can pull off a strong challenge this year. However, things may be difficult for him, considering that the Front Row Motorsports team is not exactly one of the fastest cars. On the bright side, his good form from the last Daytona road course race could be a boon.

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DIVE DEEPER

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

3 months ago

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Dhruv George

11406 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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