Throughout the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race season, Michael McDowell, driver of the No. 98 Ford for Phil Parsons Racing, will be writing a driver diary for StockCarSpin.com. Here is is first diary entry in which he discusses the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Phoenix Internantional Raceway weekends and looks ahead to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Wow. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Daytona was one of the most unbelievable races I’ve been a part of. I don’t think too many people expected us to run as well as we did. Everyone knows that the big powerhouse teams dominate the race, right? Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing – they’re the guys that everyone expects to see running up front. My Phil Parsons Racing team definitely doesn’t have the budget or resources that those teams do, but our K-LOVE Ford raced neck and neck with them all race long. We ended up finishing the day in ninth place. It’s pretty amazing when I think about that. Our team raced with the best in motorsports in the sport’s biggest race of the year and we scored a top-10. What an amazing way to begin the season. I’m so proud of my team.
“The Sprint Cup Series went to Phoenix last week. That’s a special track to me. I’m from Glendale and have lots of friends and family in the area. I really love going there and seeing everyone. Unfortunately, our team didn’t have a car ready in time for the Phoenix race and I had to sit on the sidelines. The guys at the shop are working really hard to get our fleet of Gen-6 car cars complete, but we just couldn’t get it done in time. That’s part of the highs and lows that come with working on an underfunded team. When we have experiences like we did at Daytona, it’s really special because we know we beat the odds and that it’s a lot harder for the small team to perform as well as we did. At the same time, you’ll have tough times, like we did with the Phoenix race. But, you have to take it all in stride.
“Las Vegas is shaping up to be a great race for us. We have Ambient Edge as a sponsor on our car. They’re a local air conditioning, heating and refrigeration company. I know they’re really pumped up about being on the car and are really looking forward to the weekend. It’s always cool to see new companies getting involved with the sport. I’m looking forward to them being part of our NASCAR family. We’ve got a lot of great things coming together and hopefully it’s a sign of what’s to come. We’re only a few races into the season and have a long way to go, but I’m focused and optimistic about what’s ahead.”
— Michael McDowell
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR