Michael McDowell Prevails in Wild Overtime Finish at Road Americaby Kyle Pokrefky August 27, 2016
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. — Michael McDowell went to victory lane for the first time in his NASCAR national series career on Saturday afternoon at Road America, bringing home the trophy in the Road America 180.
The driver of the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet led 24 of the race’s 48 laps and prevailed in an action-packed green-white-checkered overtime shootout at the four-mile road course.
Unofficially, McDowell claimed his maiden NASCAR XFINITY Series win over Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Reed, who rounded out the top-10. Justin Allgaier, Alex Tagliani, Elliott Sadler, Darrell Wallace Jr. and J.J. Yeley unofficially completed the top-10 of the finishing order.
“It means a tremendous amount, I’ve been so close here at Road America for a few years,” McDowell said in his post-race press conference. “Just to finally close it off and finish it off is huge. This is a great opportunity to drive the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, it’s not every weekend you get an opportunity to drive equipment like this.
“I’ve been fortunate to drive really great cars and I haven’t been able to finish it and execute it, today we finally did it and it feels really great.”
Gaughan, the 2014 winner of the XFINITY Series’s annual standalone event at Road America, recorded his best race finish since March of 2015 with his completion of a one-two sweep for Richard Childress Racing.
Poole, competing in his first full season in the XFINITY Series, tied his career best finish of third that he recorded at Talladega Superspeedway this April.
Six caution periods occurred throughout the 2 hour, 40 minute race, slowing the action for 13 laps.
The first caution period of the day was on the second lap of the race for a hard crash by Garrett Smithley on the front straight just after pit exit as the second caution was for debris on Lap 12.
A brief moment of precipitation on the race brought out caution number three on Lap 25 while the No. 74 Dodge of Nic Hammann stalling on track was the culprit for the fourth caution on Lap 35.
The fifth caution of the day was for debris on the track from a shredded tire from the No. 3 machine of Ty Dillon. The sixth and final caution of the day was for the marooned car of Alon Day, who found himself stuck in the pea gravel.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series will next hit a race track next Saturday night at Darlington Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200.
Unofficially, Sadler will take a 47-point lead in the regular season standings over Suarez into next Saturday’s race – the third before the Chase cutoff.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images