Michael McDowell ready to defy the odds

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 02: Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Loves Travel Stops Ford, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

You wouldn’t think a driver who started the first two NASCAR Cup Series races of the season on the front row would open as an 80-to-1 shot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

But that’s the case with Michael McDowell, who clearly thinks the oddsmakers have it wrong.

“When people tell me odds, or I see them or somebody mentions them, I always think about it as kind of funny, because I feel like we could win any weekend,” McDowell said on Saturday morning at LVMS.

“I feel like we’re in that spot where we can win tomorrow, but I understand why they circle the superspeedways and road courses for us, because statistically and performance-wise (they’ve) been the best.

“But I feel our (Front Row Motorsports) race team has come so far that we can be a threat every weekend.”

McDowell said Front Row’s alliance with Team Penske this season is still a work in progress, but one that will benefit both organizations as they adapt their systems to each other.

“It’s going to be great,” McDowell said. “It’s going to help us a tremendous amount in the future, and it’s helping us now, but we’re not seeing the potential of it yet, until we’re hitting on all eight cylinders…

“It’s like going from Windows to Mac. They do the same thing—you still get on the Internet, you check your e-mail, you still do all the same things. But every key that you use is a little bit different.

“And every shortcut they have is a little bit different. Your right-clicks are different. It’s just a different process altogether, so we’re just figuring out that process so we can make that relationship as best as possible.”

McDowell will start 12th Sunday.