If the rumors are true that the #00 Toyota Camry of Michael Waltrip Racing will be at least shared by young MWR development driver Michael McDowell, the guy certainly graduated in style.
He dominated the Hantz Group 200 Sunday for the ARCA Championship Weekend at the fast, half mile Toledo Speedway. McDowell led from the pole and, despite some significant looking damage incured while negotiating lapped traffic early on, stayed out front.
A bit of a bobble in traffic with less than 30 laps to go cost him the lead to James Buescher. A major leagur move at the end added a first short track win to the three other ARCA ReMax series victories from earlier in the season.
"When James (Buescher) got by me, I figured we could get the lead back in short order but he owned that bottom line and I wasn't sure if moving up one groove would work or not. I didn't want to get into the back of him, but that move was my only chance to do it. He's going to be an outstanding driver and he raced me clean, which I appreciate. I had a blast today. It was such an awesome race. I love this track and this is one last memory I'll hold on to from this year." more...
I watched McDowell in pre-race interviews and at a fan autograph session. He has the poise and easy manner of a natural. A driving resume that includes experience and wins in the Star Mazda Series and the Rolex Grand Am Series and the Champ Car World Series (he is the youngest starter ever) indicate that he is ready to move up.
Michael is scheduled to test for MWR this week. ON PIT ROW hopes to have him as a guest in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.
Photo credit: Beth Anne Heisler - ON PIT ROW