The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs did not begin how Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops team had wanted.
After an early race crash, McDowell and the team are now 20 points behind the cutoff to advance to the second round.
But, with other championship contenders also having accidents, the deficit is not too difficult for the team. McDowell knows he can be right back into the championship chase with two good races at Richmond this Saturday night and Bristol after that.
“Immediately after our accident on Sunday night, we were thinking that we had to win,” said McDowell. “That may still be true, but with how things unfolded, and other guys having trouble, we’re not in a huge hole. We just need to be smart and get these points back in both races. We need two top-10 finishes and just see how it plays out. We don’t need to get everything at once on Saturday night in Richmond.
“Our team is used to fighting back,” continued McDowell. “We’ve had some rough patches that we’ve worked through. Darlington was a bad race, but the car was fast. So, we take that positive and move forward to these next two weeks. We don’t need to get it all back this Saturday night, but it’s where we start our comeback.”
McDowell heads into Richmond Raceway with 20 previous Cup starts and best finishes of 12th and 16th. Saturday night’s race will be televised live on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET.