McBlog: The road to Daytona
By Michael McDowell
Michael McDowell is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series driver from Glendale, Ariz. His “McBlog” appears weekly during the NASCAR season at http://KTAR.com and http://PhoenixRaceway.com . In this installment, McDowell looks back on his weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
Our trip to Daytona last week was action-packed before we even made it on the track … actually before we even made it to Florida!
My friend and driver of the No. 99 NASCAR Nationwide Series car, Trevor Bayne, joined my family and me in the “McCoach” for the drive down from North Carolina. Let’s just say we had a few “minor” issues on the ride.
After hearing a few loud pops and bangs coming from the roof of the McCoach, we decided to pull over and see what was happening. After a quick survey of the vehicle, we soon discovered that the satellite dish’s plastic dome cover had blown off. Oh well, right? Wrong. Shortly after we elected to continue down the road, the satellite began to spin around and the wind ripped it out of its mounts. Particles of debris fell on my wife Jami’s head.
With the sky falling inside the coach, we stopped again. Trevor and I climbed on the roof one more time to find that – luckily – the satellite was still there (but wouldn’t be for long if we had kept on riding). On the soft shoulder of I-95, with semi trucks whizzing by at 70 mph just four feet away, we somehow yanked off the dish and rolled on to Daytona without incident.
Of course this trip to Daytona was a big one for those of us in the Nationwide Series, as it meant the debut of NASCAR’s new car for the series. Running the new NNS car meant one extra day of testing to work out the bugs, so we got right to work once we made it to town. Our MacDonald Motorsports team did a great job preparing the No. 81 Dodge Challenger and we even topped the charts in Happy Hour.
Sprint Cup qualifying got rained out, which meant that our No. 55 Prism Motorsports Team went home without even a shot at making the race. That was a real bummer, because in practice we where fast enough to make it. That kind of stuff can get to you if you let it, but I have zero control over the weather.
Back to the Nationwide Series race … My plan was to ride in the back until the end. Hindsight shows that wasn’t the perfect plan, but we only have one Nationwide “Car of Tomorrow” for four races with it and getting wrecked halfway through our first event would have been silly.
Still, we had our shot if not for a stroke of bad luck. I received the “Lucky Dog” with 25 laps to go, but as I got set to join the pack on the lead lap I ran out of gas (just as I was passing the pace car). What are the chances? Crazy! This was really unfortunate because we had a really good car. With only 25 laps to go, we fought for the Lucky Dog one more time and came up a spot short. On the positive side, we finished the race in one piece and move on to Chicagoland this week.
I love Chicagoland, as it’s where I captured one of my four victories in the ARCA Series. My family and I will begin a road trip this week that takes us from Huntersville, NC to Chicagoland, then to St Louis and eventually to the Brickyard. All-told it will be a 3-week extravaganza that hopefully allows for just a tiny bit of down time with Jami and our 16 month old son Trace.
The Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola runs on Friday, airing at 4:30 p.m., Arizona time, on ESPN.
See you at the Races!
Tickets for 2010 at Phoenix International Raceway can be purchased online at http://PhoenixRaceway.com or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223). The PIR Ticket Office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 125 S. Avondale Blvd., just south of I-10 at Exit 131 in Avondale.
Sign up to receive PIR’s monthly newsletter and stay up to speed with the latest news happening at: http://www.phoenixraceway.com/About-Us/Email/Email-Newsletters.aspx
Related PIR News
Simon Pagenaud, the 33-year-old Frenchman who won the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, was fortunate with a yellow flag that came out while his strongest rivals were in the pits and scored the first oval track win of his career Saturday night at Phoenix Raceway.
For the second-straight year, Helio Castroneves showed his intricate knowledge of the fastest way around Phoenix Raceway’s 1.022-mile oval during Beach Whiskey Outback Steakhouse Qualifying Day. The 41-year-old Brazilian and driver of the No. 3 REV Group Team Penske Chevrolet set a new one-lap (18.8701 seconds, 194.975 mph) and consecutive two-lap (37.7538 seconds, 194.905 mph) record to earn the pole position and win another "Speed King" crown for this year's running of the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix Raceway.
On Beach Whiskey Outback Steakhouse Qualifying Day, Verizon IndyCar Series stars Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal and Ed Jones got an up-close look at The Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar.
Phoenix Raceway is encouraging fans to prepare for race day traffic by arriving early and enjoying the full racing experience during the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix event weekend, April 28-29. In addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Saturday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. (local), the race weekend will also include the Phoenix Copper Cup USAC Silver Crown Series and the USAC .25 (Quarter) Midget races, as well as the Vintage Desert Classic. The weekend will officially kick off at the track with the Beach Whiskey Outback Steakhouse Qualifying Day on Friday, April 28.
Phoenix Raceway will host the Beach Whiskey Outback Steakhouse Qualifying Day on Friday, April 28 to kick off the Verizon IndyCar Series race weekend and set the field for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix under the lights on Saturday, April 29.
No Events Found