FOX Sports Exclusive
McDowell endures tough Texas outing
FORT WORTH, Texas
Michael McDowell had the opportunity of a lifetime, filling in for Kyle Busch, who was parked by NASCAR after he dumped Ron Hornaday under caution in the Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night.
Due to the driver substitution, McDowell had to start at the back of the field in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas. He was running 33rd when he was lapped by Tony Stewart on Lap 43 and never recovered.
“We had pretty long green-flag runs right out of the gate, so we didn’t really get a chance to work on it,” McDowell said. “The car was just pretty loose all day long and, yeah, it’s unfortunate.
“We were hoping for more and were hoping for a big day, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Gave it all I had and we just struggled pretty much all day long.”
McDowell managed to keep the No. 18 Toyota in one piece. Unfortunately, McDowell’s one highlight-reel moment occurred on Lap 319 when he missed the entrance to pit road, smoked the tires and had to make another lap before coming to the pits. Inevitably, McDowell settled for his 33rd position.
“We know the expectations,” McDowell said. “There’s not a lot of people in our sport that have won 100 races, so obviously you’re filling big shoes. For me, it’s just a matter of I gave it all I had. My ability is not going to change overnight.”
McDowell wasn’t aware of Busch’s status beyond the weekend. However, McDowell acknowledged he will be on standby.
Overall, it was not a stellar day for Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin was lapped early in the race and, after contact with Brad Keselowski on pit road, the defending winner of this race settled for a 20th-place finish. Joey Logano suffered yet another engine failure and finished 37th after 258 of 334 laps.