By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
NASCAR Cup Series team, Front Row Motorsports continued their consistent season at Bristol on Saturday with Michael McDowell and John Hunter Nemechek.
McDowell brought home his No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops / Delo Ford to a 10th place finish, while his rookie teammate Nemechek crossed the finish line in his No. 38 Mystik Michigan Ford in 20th. The Bob Jenkins owned organization has six top-10 finishes on the season. A best for the organization that made their NASCAR Cup Series debut all the way back in 2005.
Last season, McDowell earned two top-five and two top-10 finishes for the organization. However, prior to that, the last time Front Row Motorsports had more than two top-10 finishes in a Cup Series season was back in 2017 when David Ragan earned three.
Arizona native McDowell is no stranger to the organization with 2020 being his fourth stint with the team and having he continues to have a career year. 2020 is McDowell’s first season in his NASCAR Cup Series career with more than two top-10 finishes on his racing resume.
And in last night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race from Bristol Motor Speedway, he picked up his fourth top-10 with seven races remaining. Starting the event in 26th, McDowell went on to finish Stage 1 in 26th and Stage 2 in 24th, but it was in Stage 3 that his No. 34 Ford really surged towards the front. Taking the checkered flag in 10th marked a career best finish for McDowell at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Well what an awesome night for our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang. We got a Top-10 at Bristol; really proud of everybody at Front Row Motorsports,” said McDowell. “I’m [so thankful] to Bob Jenkins and all of my guys for giving me this opportunity. It’s the best season that I’ve ever had, and another Top-10 really helps to keep our momentum rolling. We also have a Ford in Victory Lane, so that’s awesome. I’m just super excited to get a Top-10 at Bristol.”
In addition to McDowell’s four top-10 finishes, he has also earned 10 top-15 finishes and 17 top-20 finishes heading into next weekend’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In February’s event, McDowell finished 36th with his best Cup Series finish at the track of 18th coming back during the 2017 season.
John Hunter Nemechek
Rookie Nemechek, in his first full-time season at the NASCAR Cup Series level continues to be very consistent. In 29 starts in 2020, Nemechek has earned two top-10 finishes, including a career best eighth at Talladega in June.
Saturday night was another solid night for the young driver has he rolled off the starting grid in 31st but his No. 38 Ford didn’t stay there very long. Finishing up Stage 1 in 17th and Stage 2 in 18th he was consistently running and remaining in the top-20 running order. During the final stage, Nemechek’s main complaint was he was ‘free center and struggling with drive off’. Even so, when the checkers waved, he came home in 20th, his 13th top-20 finish of the season.
“The crew put together a solid top-15, maybe even top-10 car tonight at Bristol. Our No. 38 Mystik Lubricants Ford Mustang was decent on the long run, [but we] struggled a little with drive off,” Nemechek said. “After the first stage, it was looking like we were going to have a decent night. We tried a couple of different adjustments on pit road tonight – some of them helped, some not as much. Overall, we wanted to be able to finish a few spots higher. Thanks to our partners at Mystik Lubricants for coming on board with us this season. We’ll debrief this week and come back ready for Las Vegas.”
Overall in 2020, Nemechek has earned two top-10 finishes, seven top-15 and 13 top-20’s with seven races remainin. Heading into Las Vegas, he will look to improve upon a 24th place result from back in February.
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo