Monday, Nov 28

2022 FRM Charlotte II Race Report: McDowell Roughed up Late and Gilliland Improves at the Roval

2022 FRM Charlotte II Race Report: McDowell Roughed up Late and Gilliland Improves at the Roval NK Photography Photo

Front Row Motorsports (FRM) raced in the team's backyard this past weekend at the Charlotte Roval, just twenty miles from home back up in Mooresville. Coming off a double top-ten finish in Talladega the last time out, the teams were looking to do much of the same on Sunday.

 

Todd Gilliland's First Phase No. 38 team struggled with handling early in Sunday's race but improved throughout the day before a power steering issue halted the team's progress for a 30th-place finish.

 

Michael McDowell in the No. 34 Love's Travel Stops, Delo Ford Mustang ran inside the top-ten all race long, and was in position to finish in the top-five, when a late race caution, and the calamity that ensues, knocked him and the team out of contention. 

 

Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 team did not have the weekend they had hoped for coming into the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With handling issues in both practice and qualifying, the First Phase Ford Mustang had an uphill battle from the 32nd position on Sunday.

 

The team worked hard, trying to dial in the car for Gilliland through the first two stages of Sunday's 109-lap event. The No. 38 was improving as Gilliland was running some of his fastest lap times of the weekend in the final stage of the race.

 

Unfortunately, as the laps were winding down, Gilliland reported a power steering issue making the car very hard to turn through the infield section. With power steering gone, the No. 38's progress was halted, riding out the remainder of the event in the 30th position.

"It just was not our weekend this weekend," said Gilliland. "We were fighting handling issues all weekend, and when we were starting to find the balance the power steering went out. I hate that we could not send First Phase out on a higher note for their last race of 2022. I am very thankful for their support this year."

 

Love's Travel Stops, Delo Ford team of Michael McDowell had a slow start to the weekend, working on the car heavily to get the car to better handle the cornering challenges the Roval has to offer, and just missing on the final round of qualifying, starting in eleventh.

 

Through nearly all but the final five laps of the race, McDowell and his team worked strategy to their favor by short pitting before each stage break to maintain track position, rather than aim for stage points. With a car that had good ride quality, but was tight under breaking, the team took every opportunity to get the car more to Michael's liking by the end of the race. Running between sixth and eighth most of the race, the Love's, Delo Ford was handling perfectly, and running competitive times on older tires.

 

However, the day took a turn for the worst when the team was roughed up during two late race cautions inside the final handful of laps. What was a great day and a guaranteed top-ten finish, resulted in a 27th place finish.

 

"We had a great Love's Travel Stops, Delo Ford Mustang, and I can't thank all my guys enough for getting the car right with the few opportunities we had. We had a great finish lined up and I thought we were in great position to advance a bit more during that first overtime finish, but it didn't work out that way. The last couple laps were tough after that first incident, with the right rear toe link breaking, so I was just holding on after that trying to salvage what we could."

 

Next, FRM will head back out West, as the Cup Series races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend upcoming.

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