Race Weekend Central

Michael McDowell Locked Into Playoffs with Indianapolis Win

Michael McDowell dominated his way into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by winning on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday (August 13).

McDowell led a career-best 54 laps on the way to his second career Cup win, which follows his victory in the 2021 Daytona 500.

It marks Front Row Motorsports’ fourth NASCAR Cup win.

“This is such a dream come true,” an emotional McDowell told NBC Sports. “I’m so thankful for everybody at Front Row Motorsports … man we had a fast Ford Mustang. Everybody at Roush Yates Engine Shop…these guys gave me everything today. We had the fastest car. We executed and we did what we needed to do. I’m just so thankful.

“It’s such a big deal. Winning the Daytona 500 was one of the coolest moments you could ever have. But going to victory lane without your family was tough. We cherry-pick. My family comes to the races we think we can win. We thought we could win this one. Just so proud.”

He was joined by his family for this one.

McDowell had to outpace the No. 9 Chevrolet of Chase Elliott to do so. Elliott recovered nicely after his crash last week at Michigan International Speedway, but he still finds himself way out of the playoffs on points.

“I just needed to be a little better on the back half there and get off of 14 a little better to have myself in a better spot getting into one. Really appreciate the effort man, our NAPA Chevy was really good just needed a little bit more, came up just a bit short. Congrats to Michael. He did a good job, ran a great race and he stayed mistake-free and that’s what you gotta do to win,” a disappointed Elliott told NBC Sports.

Elliott was followed by Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick and Alex Bowman to round out the top five.

Chase Briscoe, Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and Shane van Gisbergen completeted the top 10. It was a successful and exciting return to the Cup Series for the Australian Supercars sensation since winning at the Chicago Street Course in July.

Suarez was very much in contention to win, until the air hose got trapped underneath his left front during the final green flag pit stop. Suarez also finds himself out of the playoffs in points, but is right behind Bubba Wallace for the final spot.

See also
Ty Gibbs Drives Away to Xfinity Win At Indianapolis

Green flag racing was the theme of the day, a big change from previous races on the road course at Indianapolis. 79 of the 82 laps were under green flag conditions. Only one caution period took place, starting on the second lap of the race when Joey Logano and Justin Haley made contact that sent Haley’s No. 31 careening into the tire barriers. Despite heavy damage, Haley was able to continue.

McDowell also won the first stage en route to his big win, and Denny Hamlin cashed in on pit strategy to win stage two.

International drivers making a start at Indianapolis had mixed results for their days. Brodie Kostecki finished 22nd, Mike Rockenfeller wound up 24th. Jenson Button finished his day in 28th, and Kamui Kobayashi battled all day to finish 33rd, after having two on-track encounters with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Cup Series Indianapolis Results

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Watkins Glen International Raceway next Sunday (Aug. 20). Coverage begins on USA Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio at 3 p.m. ET.

About the author

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

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DoninAjax

Watching and listening during the event I was reminded of a song. The NA$CAR version is Mommas Don’t Let The Drivers Grow Up To Be Babies”.

Bill W.

Good to see the underdog beat all the big money.

Dawg

I was happy to have seen McDowell win Daytona. But that was more a case of right place at right time.
No such thing here, the team just grabbed this by the throat, & refused to let go. Congrats to the entire team.

After Stenhouse won 2 super speedway races, he turned into a loose cannon in subsequent SS races.

Yesterday he brought a little of that to Indy.

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