46 Days 'Til Daytona - Today's Featured Driver: Michael McDowell

In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2021 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the Top 30 Drivers of 2020. 23rd Place – Michael McDowell – 588 pts

By the Numbers: 20.92 2020 Average Finish – Michael McDowell quietly put together his best average finish of his career in 2020. This being his 3rd year with Front Row Motorsports, his average finish has continued to get better with each season (24.53 and 24.17 in 2018 and 2019, respectively). 355 Career Starts – Being a record holder is usually something to take pride in, but Michael McDowell is likely not too excited about this one: He currently has the most Career Starts without a win out of all the active drivers. McDowell has unfortunately spent his career on mostly back-marker teams. 6 Laps Led – In all of 2020, Michael McDowell only led 6 laps. And even less impressive, the most laps he led in a single race was 2 at the Summer Daytona race. Every other lap led was a one-off in 4 other races. 137 Career DNFs – Michael McDowell leads all active drivers in Career DNFs (Did Not Finish) by a long shot. JJ Yeley with the 2nd most only has 95. Many of these came earlier in the 2010s when McDowell was part of the “Start-and-Park” teams such as Prism Motorsports, HP Racing, and Phil Parsons Racing. (The term Start-and-Park refers to the idea that it was more financially feasible to start a race and retire very early on due to a phony excuse such as engine or transmission failure, rather than having to fund more fuel, tires, etc. only to finish a few spots ahead. NASCAR has since changed some of the rules in an effort to stop this, and in 2020 McDowell only had 2 DNFs). 103 Points – From 2019 to 2020, Michael McDowell’s point production improved dramatically. With 485 points in 2019, and 588 points in 2020, McDowell improved by 103 points over the course of a single season. Throw in the fact that due, in part, to NASCAR’s new COVID-related qualifying procedure (which was based on a formula involving the previous race’s fastest lap, finishing position, as well as owner points), Michael McDowell also started races on average 3.4 positions farther back this year than he did in 2019. McDowell will hope to build on the momentum of a career year in 2021, when he will return to the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford. Coming up in two days – Bubba Wallace