Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell

39-Year-Old Driver  
Front Row Motorsports
Front Row Motorsports
2024 Fantasy Outlook
McDowell didn't enjoy the consistency that he showed in 2022, but he did check some major boxes last season. The Front Row Motorsports veteran would nab his second-career victory with an upset win on the Indy Grand Prix circuit. That would put him in the Chase playoffs for the second time in the last three years. Despite an early exit from the playoffs and 15th-place points finish, it would still be a pretty good season for the veteran driver and this small race team. The 39-year-old returns to the No. 34 Ford for the upcoming season and is reunited with crew chief, Travis Peterson. The duo will look to make another run at the playoffs, and hopefully a new career-best finish in the driver points. If McDowell could demonstrate more consistency in 2024 and possibly lower that 19.0 average finish from last season, it would certainly help to that end. Read Past Outlooks
Wins Atlanta Pole
NASCAR Cup
February 24, 2024
McDowell won the pole for the Ambetter Health 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. He turned a fast lap of 178.844 mph.
ANALYSIS
The Front Row Motorsports veteran would be the driver that many didn't expect to surprise Saturday at the Atlanta oval. McDowell would advance into the final round of 10 drivers to run for the pole and he would go out last of the group. He would knock Joey Logano from atop the scoring pylon seven-hundredths of a second to claim his first-ever pole position in NASCAR's top division. McDowell will roll off first Sunday and challenge for the win in the Ambetter Health 400.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2014
2008
McDowell returns to Front Row Motorsports for his sixth season with this race team. They've gotten better together gradually over these last few years. McDowell had a bit of a mixed bag in 2022. He grabbed a career-high 12 Top-10 finishes but was held out of victory lane. McDowell lowered his average finish to a career-best 16.7 despite finishing only 23rd in the driver point standings. All-in-all it was a pretty good season for this veteran driver despite failing to make the Chase playoffs. He returns to the No. 34 Ford team in 2023 but gets a new crew chief in Travis Peterson. Peterson replaces Blake Harris atop the team's war wagon and faces a big challenge to follow up what McDowell and Harris achieved last season. As has been the case for many years, McDowell is most dangerous in superspeedway racing and road circuits as they are his best tracks by far.
The 37-year-old veteran not only won last year's Daytona 500 in a shocking upset, but he went on to have a career-best season in the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford. McDowell would get off to a good start last season after the Daytona victory and collect five Top-10 finishes and wind up a career-best 16th-place in the final points. The down side of last season was that the veteran driver would fall into a rut in the second half of the season and struggle to produce competitive results. The last of his five Top 10's would come in May of last year and he'd only grab four Top-20 finishes in the final 17 events. McDowell will look to reverse those results in 2022, but he'll have to do it with a new crew chief. Drew Blickensderfer announced he was leaving the team to pursue other opportunities. At the time of this writing it's not been announced who will be pairing with McDowell in the upcoming season. That uncertainty and the growing youth movement have us a bit reserved on McDowell's 2022 campaign.
McDowell came out of the blue of sorts last season and posted a career-best effort in the Front Row Motorsports' No. 34 Ford. The 36-year-old veteran grabbed four Top-10 finishes, wound up 23rd in the championship standings and posted an impressive 20.9 average finish for the campaign. All were career-best marks for the 357-start Cup Series regular. While these were not eye-popping stats, they were modest improvements over anything McDowell had done previously. Consequently, it brought a lot of fantasy racing value to the table for weekly lineup and season-long fantasy racing owners willing to take the plunge with McDowell. As per typical, the larger ovals and superspeedway proved to be his best tracks. Additionally, some good performances on the short tracks and road courses bolstered McDowell's season. He returns in 2021 to the same team and same crew chief and will look to channel these gains into additional performance.
The Front Row Motorsports veteran posted a typical campaign in 2019. McDowell rode the No. 34 Ford Mustang to two Top-10 and 10 Top-20 finishes. The two most impressive outings of the year were his fifth-place Daytona 500 finish and his fifth-place Talladega finish in October. The superspeedways have always been kind to this driver and team. It all resulted in a 27th-place finish in the driver points for McDowell. Although FRM is reducing from three to two teams in 2020, it will have no impact on this team. All sponsors and crew chief are expected to return in the upcoming season. With the reduction in FRM's footprint, McDowell could benefit a bit. More focus and resources could flow into this team.
It's hard to believe but we're coming up on McDowell's 12th season of part or full-time competition in NASCAR's top division. The 34-year-old has bounced all over the NASCAR garage area over the years, but he seems to have settled in with Front Row Motorsports for the time being. This will be his second season with the FRM No. 34 team. He raced to one Top-10 finish last year and a respectable 26th-place finish in the final driver standings. McDowell has slotted typically between there and 30th for the last three seasons. With now 285 Cup starts under his belt, McDowell is one of the grey beards in the garage area. He'll once again pair with Derrick Finley atop the team's tool box and look to improve in 2019. McDowell is typically a mid-20s finisher each week, and that's something we've grown to depend on in both regular fantasy racing and DFS.
The journeyman driver makes the switch from Leavine Family Racing to Front Row Motorsports in 2018. McDowell posted good numbers with the No. 95 team last season. The veteran driver nabbed one Top-10 finish at Daytona in July, and collected a total of five Top-15 finishes throughout the season. It led to a career-best points finish of 26th-place and a career-best average finish of 22.2 for the season. The move from LFR to FRM is more of a lateral move at best in terms of personnel and equipment, so the talent should be able to fetch similar results in the upcoming season. McDowell and his new No. 34 Ford team will be one of the more interesting outcomes/pairings of the new season. At the time of this writing his crew chief has still not been named, and that news could impact his potential more than any other variable.
The driver in the lower tier of the Monster Energy Cup Series that made the most gains was by far McDowell. Even though he only competed in 31 of the 36 races, he guided the Leavine Family Racing team to two Top-10 finishes, his career-best 24.5 average finish and a 30th-place effort in the driver standings. More often times than not, McDowell was finishing on the lead lap and in or near the Top 20. That's an incredible improvement over where this team had been finishing as a part-time race team in the recent past. So the move to full-time racing for the No. 95 Chevrolet team was an unquestionable success. McDowell returns to this small team in 2017 and for a full slate of races. It's expected that he'll be reunited with veteran crew chief Todd Parrott and the two will continue on what they built last season.
McDowell returns for another part-time effort for the Leavine Family Racing team in 2016. He will attempt at least 26 events with this race team. Circle Sport Racing and Leavine Family Racing merge this season to bolster equipment/sponsorship and team changes from Ford to Chevrolet.
The 28-year-old McDowell will return for his sixth season of Sprint Cup Series action in 2013. He will return to the No. 98 team that he spent all of last season with. Team owner Mike Curb merged his team over the off-season and has now become Phil Parsons Racing. McDowell’s efforts were mostly of the start-and-park variety last year, and unfortunately we don’t see that changing right away in the upcoming season. This team will need major sponsorship and funding to develop before McDowell can be a serious competitor in NASCAR’s top division.
More Fantasy News
Mechanical Problem at Daytona
NASCAR Cup
February 19, 2024
McDowell had mechanical problems and finished 36th in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Monday evening.
ANALYSIS
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Outside Pole at Daytona
NASCAR Cup
February 14, 2024
McDowell qualified on the outside pole for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway Wednesday night.
ANALYSIS
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Wins Verizon 200
NASCAR Cup
August 13, 2023
McDowell won the Verizon 200 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Sunday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
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Fast Practice at the Brickyard
NASCAR Cup
August 12, 2023
McDowell was fastest in Happy Hour practice for the Verizon 200 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Saturday. He turned a fast lap of 98.516 mph.
ANALYSIS
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Staying with Front Row in 2024
NASCAR Cup
August 9, 2023
McDowell has agreed to terms to return to Front Row Motorsports in 2024 to drive the No. 34 Ford alongside Todd Gilliland in the No. 38 Ford, the team announced Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
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