McDowell vows aggressive strategy as playoff underdog
Michael McDowell is aware of what he’s up towards as NASCAR’s playoff sequence begins, and he’s decided to carry nothing again over the following few weeks as he strives to maintain his shocking championship problem going.
“We’re taking the strategy of simply being as aggressive as we will on the observe, technique, the whole lot, as a result of we notice for us to advance, we’re going to have the three finest races of our careers,” McDowell mentioned. “When you’re not in that high 10 and difficult within the high 10 these first three races, it’s going to be laborious to advance.
“There’s at all times the possibility that any person has some misfortune, crash, no matter it may be. However that’s solely going to be one or two guys — and also you’ve received to beat 4. So, our strategy is simply to be super-aggressive. Each level. Each spot. Each lap. Understanding that we’ve an uphill battle, that actually is our solely strategy. So we simply need to go for it.”
McDowell is that this yr’s playoff underdog, and that’s an understatement. Entrance Row has the smallest funds of any crew within the postseason and three Cup Sequence wins in its historical past. However that is the crew’s second postseason berth after qualifying with Chris Buescher, who received a weather-shortened race at Pocono Raceway in 2016.
McDowell earned his first profession win at Daytona in February in his 358th begin. He’s the longest of lengthy pictures to make the Championship 4, and a few may even dismiss the No. 34 crew’s probabilities of advancing out of the Spherical of 16.
“It’s humbling and really particular for our crew and myself,” mentioned McDowell of his playoff berth. “However I really feel the strain each week to carry out. You wish to get the perfect end result you may, after which clearly ramping up into the playoffs, it’s positively extra strain for certain. Every part counts and issues. You don’t get a re-do within the playoffs, so you need to make each race and each alternative depend.
“However on the identical timing, realizing that we’re the underdog we’ve one technique, and that’s to go all out. If meaning we make a mistake and find yourself not (advancing) as a result of we went all out, that’s our solely strategy. I believe among the different groups which have that top-five velocity each weekend, they may come out of Darlington, and possibly they’re fifteenth or twentieth and really feel they will go to Richmond and run fifth and be high-quality. We’ve got to execute at a really excessive stage all three of those races to advance, so we get to be aggressive.
Darlington, Richmond, and Bristol are the three races McDowell and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer should sort out. McDowell completed twenty seventh at Darlington and Richmond earlier this yr, and he was tenth within the Bristol ending order on the concrete final fall.
McDowell mentioned he doesn’t plan to review factors or make a recreation plan for the primary spherical.
“Clearly, while you get completed with the race, you’ll have a look at it, however for me, it’s simply extra about having the perfect races we will,” McDowell mentioned. “We’ve got to crush it with a view to transfer on. So, I’m not pondering an excessive amount of about if this individual does this or that. We’ve simply received to have three nice weeks, and that’s our greatest likelihood at having a chance to maneuver ahead.”
The best McDowell has completed in factors is twenty third, which occurred final yr when he put collectively what then was a profession yr within the Cup Sequence. McDowell will eclipse that with a assured spot of sixteenth or higher in factors, and he’s already bettered his career-high in top-10 finishes (5).