Glendale native Michael McDowell is looking to move up the NASCAR Cup Standings this weekend in Illinois.
McDowell is coming off a 28th place finish over Memorial Day Weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports is sitting at 22nd out of 53 in the NASCAR Cup Standings in 14 races so far this season.
Cup activity at the Enjoy Illinois 300 in Madison, Illinois, begins with practice and qualifying at 7 a.m. this Saturday. The 240-lap race is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4 on FS1.
The 38-year-old 2021 Daytona 500 champion likes what’s ahead this weekend on the oval where he placed 18th overall a year ago. McDowell and the No. 34 Fr8Auctions.com Ford team led 34 laps last season and nearly won a stage.
“This is track where we know a good finish is possible. We were fast last year, but we just need to close it out,” McDowell shared in a statement. “It’s just the smallest things in these races that really determine so much. Just having a clean race should put us in a good spot at the end.”
He’s come a long way from cutting his racing teeth up in north Glendale as a kid.
“Friday and Saturday nights during the summer, practicing and racing at PKRA (Phoenix Kart Racing Association),” he told the Glendale Independent of the track located at 22500 43rd Ave. E, when asked about his favorite memories growing up in Glendale. “It was a fun time in life, racing with my family and our friends. It was a great community out there and it was a special time.”
He calls ISM Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Drive, Avondale, his home track.
McDowell is in his sixth season with Front Row, having joined the team prior to the 2018 season. In his 358th career start, McDowell scored his first Cup Series win in the 2021 season-opening Daytona 500.