NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael McDowell looks to charge into the Bojangles’ Southern 500 for the NASCAR Throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway, as he is fresh off a double-duty race weekend.
McDowell dominated the Road America 180 Fired Up By Johnsonville and scored his first win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series before jumping on a plane to head to Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400. Sam Hornish Jr. helped the No. 95 Thrivent Financial team prepare the car for the race during practice and qualifying before McDowell took over on Sunday. Although Hornish qualified in the 35th position for the team, McDowell was forced to start in the back of the pack on Sunday, per NASCAR’s rulebook. The team struggled all weekend and throughout the race with a loose car before McDowell persevered to finish the race in 31st.
McDowell is eager to get back to the streak of Top-20 finishes he had going prior to last weekend and will take the first step in that challenge by heading to Darlington Raceway with Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing, a track he has not raced at in three years, but where he has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts and qualified in the Top-20 twice.
McDowell and the No. 95 Thrivent Financial team will be participating in the track’s throwback weekend by running a paint scheme in tribute of Richard Childress’ 1973 Kansas Jack car. CSLFR and Richard Childress Racing have a technical alliance for the 2016 season.
"I haven't raced at Darlington in a few years, but it's actually one of my best tracks for qualifying,” said McDowell. “I’ve qualified in the Top-20 there a few times, so it’s a fun track for me. You just hang it all out there. We’ve got a really cool throwback scheme with Thrivent Financial as the ‘73 Kansas Jack car that Richard Childress drove, so this is going to be a fun weekend! I'm really looking forward to participating in the NASCAR Throwback weekend this year!"
Crew chief, Dave Winston, is also thrilled to return to Darlington, the site of his first NASCAR race that he attended when he was just nine years old.
“I always enjoy going back to Darlington,” said Winston. “It has been one of the most competitive tracks for some time. They repaved it quite a few years ago, and for a while, it had way too much grip and lost some of that competitiveness. For the last several years though, ‘Old Darlington’ has been coming back. The car has to have speed and handle well, but the driver has to balance racing the competition as well as racing the track. I need to be on top of adjustments and pit strategy so we can capitalize at the end of the race and get the best finish we can as a team and leave feeling proud of our performance.”
Thrivent Financial will be the primary sponsor of the No. 95 Chevrolet during the Darlington race weekend. Thrivent is a Fortune 500, not-for-profit membership organization of Christians. Offering a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities and mutual funds, Thrivent helps its members be wise with money and live generously.