The Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team went out west with one goal in mind this weekend – to improve their 1.5-mile speedway program. A test on Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, before the start of the Kobalt 400 race weekend, allowed driver Michael McDowell and the team extra time at the track in order to improve performance.
“The test was great. It allowed us the luxury of time on the race track,” said crew chief Dave Winston. “We are determined to build our competition program this year and the 1.5-mile speedways are key. With the new alliance with Richard Childress Racing and manufacturer switch to Chevrolet along with having some new team members, this was much-needed time for our team.”
On Friday and Saturday, the team focused on dialing in the No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet SS during practice sessions in order to improve on the previous week’s results.
While the weather was sunny and warm to start the weekend, on Sunday, it was a different story. Rain, wind guests and a sand storm plagued the race but didn’t deter the CSLFR team.
McDowell started 30th for the Kobalt 400 and the team pushed hard through the race, fighting for every position on the track. The team raced between 25th and 29th for a majority of the event.
Late in the race a strategy call from crew chief Dave Winston allowed McDowell to pick up a lost lap and be in contention for additional positions on the track. McDowell crossed the finish line in 29th place – an improvement of four positions from the Atlanta race weekend.
“This weekend was better than last weekend,” said McDowell. “We were more competitive than last week and look to continue to improve each week. We made gains from Atlanta and I’m looking forward to heading to Phoenix – both from a competition standpoint and to see some family in my hometown.”
Next up for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing is the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 13 at 3:30pm ET. Michael McDowell will drive the No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet SS in the race. Follow the race team on Twitter for updates at @CSLFR95.