Michael McDowell wins Verizon 200 at Indy, punches ticket to NASCAR Playoffs

Logan Ploder
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Sunday, August 13, 2023

Photo Credit: Fox News

Having raced in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2008, Michael McDowell is no stranger to the world’s top stock car series.


In that time, he has scratched and clawed for every result he’s scored, given the low level of machinery he’s raced with week in, week out.


For a long time, he was even a notorious “go or go homer,” with his spot in each race never guaranteed.


Now with Front Row Motorsports for the last few years, and a Daytona 500 victory in 2021 already under his belt, his talent has finally been put on display.


For much of the 2023 season, McDowell has held a playoff spot on points. 


After today’s race at the Indianapolis Road Course, he’s now locked in.


Starting from pole position, McDowell overtook Daniel Suarez for the lead midway through the race, and led every lap from there to cruise to his second career victory.


Always known for his abilities on road courses, McDowell dominated the majority of the almost caution-free event, and was never under threat in the second half of the race.


The win punched his ticket to the NASCAR Playoffs for the second time in three years, and his team FRM’s third postseason appearance.


With Chase Elliott quickly climbing the points standings after missing seven races with an injury, and then a one-race suspension, McDowell has now shielded himself from a last minute elimination with two races to go in the regular season.


Speaking of Elliott, he finished P2 in this one, and ended under one second behind McDowell after a last lap charge. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is still 80 points below the cut line, and likely in a must-win scenario.


Daniel Suarez finished third for Trackhouse, and was in contention with McDowell for the win after leading laps early, before a pit stop debacle on the last stop ended his chances.


The front wheel gun cable folded itself after the crew went over the wall, and got lodged on Suarez’s left front tire when the jack put the car back down. The delay was upwards of five seconds.


COTA winner Tyler Reddick finished fourth, followed by Alex Bowman in fifth, hometown boy Chase Briscoe in sixth, and Martin Truex Jr. in seventh.


Kyle Larson, who unveiled his two paint schemes for next year’s ‘Memorial Day Double,’ finished eighth, ahead of Christopher Bell in ninth, and Chicago winner Shane Van Gisbergen in tenth for Project91.


Aside from Van Gisbergen, it was an extremely tough day for the ‘road course ringers.’ 


Fellow countryman Brodie Kostecki finished 22nd in his debut, ahead of Mike Rockenfeller in 24th, Jenson Button in 28th, and Kamui Kobayashi in 33rd.


Both Button and Kobayashi were involved in several different incidents that set them back, however they never truly challenged at the front anyways.


It was also a tough day for A.J Allmendinger, who lost a lot of points in the playoff race finishing in 26th, while Joey Logano, who was caught in two different incidents in the opening six laps finished 34th.


Kyle Busch ran in the top five for much of the day, before breaking a valve spring and losing a ton of power to finish 36th.


Next weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to another road course, this time in Watkins Glen. This will be the final race before the always-chaotic regular season finale in Daytona the following week.