Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

2019 Cup Series Season Preview: Michael McDowell

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season for the full-time drivers in the series leading into February’s running of the Daytona 500.

Age: 34

Years in Cup: 11 years

Career Wins: Zero Cup wins, one Xfinity Series win

In his first season with Front Row Motorsports, Michael McDowell kicked the 2018 season off with a bang, finishing the Daytona 500 with a ninth-place finish and setting the tempo for the remainder of the season to come.

Though he and the No. 34 team would not crack the top-10 again for the remainder of the year, they were a consistent top-25 team, with 20 finishes in that range and an eventual 26th place points finish.

“This season has been a big stepping-stone for me in my career,” McDowell said. “We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted every week, but we’ve made huge advances as a team.”

The 2019 season is shaping up to be an even bigger year for Front Row as McDowell and current teammate David Ragan will be joined by rookie Matt Tifft as the organization expands to three cars after obtaining the assets of BK Racing late last season.

“I’ve really benefited from having a teammate this year and feel like I’ve made valuable contributions in return,” McDowell added. “I’m looking forward to building on that next year and welcoming another teammate in Matt Tifft.”

In addition to the new faces around the shop, the team is also in the process of swapping over to the new Ford Mustang body for the new season and getting their hands wrapped around the new aerodynamic package that will be rolled out this year.

Front Row has always run well at the restrictor plate tracks and with the new aero package having that feel, it very well could play right into their hands and help them to a few more finishes in the top-10 or top-15. Whether that actually comes to fruition remains to be seen.

“We’ve made it clear in recent years that it was our intent to continue to invest in NASCAR and expand to a three-car team,” team owner Bob Jenkins said. “Not only are we here to stay, we’re here to grow.

“We already have two proven veterans in our line-up, and now we’ll get to add an impressive young talent and championship contender who will inject some new energy into the group. With the introduction of the Ford Mustang into the Cup Series, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting season for us.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.