Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250
TRACK: Iowa Speedway
DRIVER: Michael McDowell
CAR: No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota Camry
Post Race Highlights:
• Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway was driver Michael McDowell’s fourth of five races with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. With Iowa-based sponsor Pizza Ranch onboard his No. 18 Toyota, McDowell locked in an eighth place starting spot for the 250 lap event.
• McDowell started the night battling with a loose-handling racecar. The No. 18 Camry fell back to 10th before a competition caution came out on lap 50. Crew chief Matt Lucas brought McDowell to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. The No. 18 was back out on 11th for the restart.
• The second caution of the night was out on lap 89. Opting to gain track position, Lucas called for fuel only on pit road. McDowell was positioned third when the field went back to green on lap 95.
• At the halfway mark, McDowell was still struggling with loose handling conditions, but he still managed to keep his Pizza Ranch Camry in the top-five. With 70 laps to go, the lap-down No. 44 car made contact with McDowell as he was passing. This resulted in the right front of his Toyota giving away.
• The yellow flag was back out on lap 172 and allowed for the Pizza Ranch pit crew a final shot at making adjustments to the No. 18 car. McDowell restarted ninth with only 22 laps remaining.
• Despite a close call when the No. 54 car had a tire go down in the final laps, McDowell wheeled his way to a sixth place finish under the lights at Iowa Speedway. In McDowell’s four starts with Joe Gibbs Racing this season, the 27-year-old driver has finished third (Iowa), seventh (Michigan), second (Road America) and sixth (Iowa 2).
• McDowell’s next race behind the wheel of the No. 18 Camry is on August 18 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
• Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 is still atop the leader board in the Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship, 19 markers ahead of the second place No. 2 team.
Michael McDowell’s Post Race Thoughts:
“We kind of rolled the dice a little bit with our second pit stop-- didn't take tires to try to get track position. It worked out good for a little while, but on that long run we corded the tires pretty good and lost that track position. Everybody worked really hard on this Toyota Camry. I've just got to thank all the folks at Pizza Ranch. It's fun to get behind the wheel of the 18 and have a shot at winning. This is our fourth or fifth consecutive top-10 and you know you've always got a shot to challenge for the wins. I just love being in the Nationwide Insurance Series. It's a lot of fun for me to be competitive. We were hoping for more for sure. Really wish we could’ve gotten a victory here for Pizza Ranch, but we'll go to Montreal and see if we can't get a win before the end of the year."