veteran Michael McDowell upward Todd Gilliland They both ran between the lead group throughout the race and were both in contention over the stretch, earning top 10 finishes at 2.66 miles at the Alabama Oval.
McDowell came third across the finish line, while Gilliland came home in seventh after leading on lap 77. This was the best combined performance by two Front Row Motorsports Fords this season.
The team previously scored double goals at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Gilliland fourth and McDowell eighth at the Verizon 200 at Brickyard.
McDowell’s race-winning car appeared in the final stages at Talladega, and ended up sticking to Ryan Blaney’s rear fender on the last reboot, trying to propel Blaney to victory after the white flag.
The two had a steam head coming into the trio oval, but McDowell’s push wasn’t enough to push Blaney past Chase Elliott, who beat the win And he moved into the playoff round 8 as a result.
Although McDowell’s late stand didn’t leave him a real chance at the Cup, he still regretted coming within 0.094 seconds of his second NASCAR Cup Series win after the checkered flag.
“It’s hard to be that close,” McDowell said. “I felt like I should have backtracked from the 12 [Blaney] a little closer when 11 [Denny Hamlin] It got off me, but I was trying to make sure the Ford would make it to Victory Lane and we kept that momentum going. I wish I could re-do this, but I’m proud of everyone at Front Row Motorsports on the Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang.
“We had peak performance on the car this weekend so it’s a great day to get fifth, but when you’re a short drive away from winning the race it’s obviously disappointing,” he added. “I’m proud of the season we’ve had and the running we’ve had together and everyone did a great job on the pit track in execution today and got us on track when we needed it.
“It’s good to finally be there and to have a chance [winning]; I’m just disappointed.”
While McDowell expressed disappointment at missing the Talladega win, Gilliland was elated with one of the most complete end-to-end performances of his career in the Youth Cup Series.
It might not have been the best mark of his career, but Gilliland couldn’t hide a smile from his face on Sunday night.
“It felt really comfortable,” Gilliland said of his race car in the draft. “I feel like our ultra-fast stuff is pretty good. It was still scary when we qualified for 34th, but to have that kind of speed in the draft is good.”
Gilliland also appreciated being able to work with his fellow Ford Performance teammates throughout the day.
“It’s really great to have Ford teammates. I’ve worked a lot with Kevin Harvick and so many different Fords,” he said. “I was really happy to work with such a great manufacturer [group] like this.”
Despite this strong result, Gilliland is still hoping to get more of the #38 Georgia Peanut Mustang on the final laps.
“Race car drivers are greedy. We always want to be better,” said the third generation driver. “I wish I could have had a couple more.” [spots] There, but it was still a really good day. We ran up front most of the day and my car handled really well, so overall, there are definitely a lot of pluses to getting away with this.
“It was great to have Georgia Peanuts today,” he continued. “It’s a smaller company outside of Georgia and we’re kind of close to home [for them] Here in Talladega. I’m really happy to be back home with the top 10 players. This has been a good day for us.”
While the drivers themselves summed up the afternoon well, it was probably the team’s social media executives who wrapped up the Talladega Front Row ride with the best sundown on Sunday night.
“We approve of this logging platform,” they wrote on Twitter before logging out.
In general, McDowell and Gilliand agreed with this sentiment.
– Front Row Motorsports (Team_FRM) October 2, 2022
Front Row Motorsports and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series will return to action October 9 with the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
Although Gilliland has never competed in Charlotte’s ROVAL lineup, McDowell has raced there four times, with a best result of 12th in the 2019 edition of the 400km race.