(Elkhart Lake, Wisc.) June 24, 2012 -
Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Nationwide Series Sargento 200
TRACK: Road America
DRIVER: Michael McDowell
CAR: No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota Camry
LAPS LED: 4
Post Race Highlights:
• Road America’s Sargento 200 resulted in a second place finish for Michael McDowell and the No. 18 Pizza Ranch team. Prior to Saturday afternoon’s 50 lap race, McDowell had two third place finishes in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. His runner-up finish in Elkhart Lake made for his career best finish in the NASCAR ranks.
• McDowell qualified the No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota second, but he quickly took the lead from Nelson Piquet Jr. (No. 30) on lap three of 50.
• Crew chief Matt Lucas brought McDowell in for fuel only on lap five. The first of five cautions came out on lap 11. McDowell stayed out on the track and restarted as the leader on lap 15.
• The caution was back out on lap 16. Returning to pit road, McDowell’s Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew changed four tires and refueled his No. 18 Camry. McDowell was 19th when the field went back to green on lap 18.
• At the halfway mark, the Pizza Ranch Toyota had cycled up to ninth place. The yellow flag was back out on lap 30. Lucas called for four tires, fuel and slight adjustments to McDowell’s Camry. After the stop, the No. 18 car restarted ninth with 18 laps remaining.
• The field didn’t stay green for long with another caution on the restart. Back under green flag conditions, McDowell took over second place on lap 35 before the yellow flag was again out on lap 36.
• The No. 18 Pizza Ranch Camry restarted second with only 12 laps to go. McDowell got shuffled back to fourth on the restarted but edged his way past Danica Patrick (No. 7) and Ron Fellows (No. 5) with only 10 laps to go.
• McDowell was able to maintain his second place spot throughout the final laps, holding off Fellows to drive through the Road America finish line for his career best Nationwide Series finish of second.
• Saturday was McDowell’s third of five starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. He has finished third, seventh and second consecutively in his three Nationwide Series starts this season. Look for McDowell behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry at Iowa Speedway on August 4 and at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 18.
Michael McDowell’s Post Race Thoughts:
“Our Pizza Ranch Toyota was fast all day long. We just got off sequence with the strategy and the cautions not falling just right. There at the end we just didn’t have the track position so I wasn’t able to get past Nelson. I’m really happy with our effort this weekend, I just really wish we could be celebrating in victory lane. We had a great Pizza Ranch car and put on a good performance here at Road America. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I have here at Joe Gibbs Racing and with Pizza Ranch and Coca-Cola, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and contending for a win at Iowa Speedway and Montreal later this summer.”