MCDOWELL LOOKING FORWARD TO 2010 AND LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES TITLE RUN
CORONA, Calif. (December 22) - In 2009 veteran driver Dale McDowell returned to the road in following the full Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule. The final summation showed two series wins, 14 top five finishes and 26 top ten finishes on his way to a fourth-place finish in the championship point's standings.
But McDowell has his goals already set for 2010, to build on his '09 campaign, to have even better chemistry with his crew, more races with the experimental Earnhardt-Childress Engines he will be running and give car owner, NASCAR Cup driver Clint Bowyer his first touring title in dirt late model racing.
With McDowell returning to the road for the first time since 2006, he realized it would be tough at times adjusting to life on the road with a new team, crew and car owner after years of traveling with his brother, Shane.
McDowell's credentials are many and when he hooked up with Bowyer, the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion who had Shannon Babb behind the wheel for his debut as a late model car owner in '08 it appeared the team could make an immediate impact on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
In fact McDowell ran has high as second in the points taking two series wins (Paducah and Bulls Gap) before winding up fourth in a season that saw him take 12 top ten finishes in 13 races the mid-point of the season to keep him in the hunt for the championship.
"Scott (Bloomquist) did an awesome job this year-with the depth of his team, knowing his program like he does and his good finishes, he was always there at the end and he did what you have to do to win these championships," said McDowell who has a national touring championship on his resume' winning the Hav-A-Tampa title in 1999.
"It was a learning year for us after being off the road for a couple of years," said the 43-year-old driver who looks forward to running the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series again in 2010. "The Goddard-Warrior cars were real good, we started with the Custom Race Engines and we had no mechanical failures all year and then we began running the ECR Engines and won three races towards the end of the year in non-Lucas Oil events."
"We need to improve at those five or six track we struggled at this year, we took thorough notes, there were at least two tracks off the top of my head we completely missed on the set-up and struggled mightily, but another year with Tommy Grecco and Caleb Baker, we feel our communications will be better in me telling them what the car is doing and they can relate to me better what they see from their vantage point," said McDowell.
"Quite honestly we had a lot of fun back racing on the road this year, we are just going to sit down and see what we need to work on as a team standpoint, Clint's really happy with everything that's going on, he's hands on, you'll come into the shop one day and he'll be hanging a body on one of our cars, he's brought along sponsors like Dollar General, General Mills and Cheerios this year to really help out, it sure is nice having someone else pay the bills after having to do it myself for so many years," said McDowell.
The biggest news for 2010 for McDowell and Bowyer is the announcement the team will be running the Earnhardt and Childress Racing Engines. "We've decided that's the direction we are going, again with Clint's involvement at Richard Childress it was just a good fit for us as a team to go this route, we've done some R&D testing late this year with Lanny Barnes at the engine shop he has a lot of good people to service the engines, we are fortunate that he close by and we think the benefits will pay off."
McDowell debuted the ECR Racing Engine at the Dirt Track World Championship Race in October at Lawrenceburg, IN and finished 13th in the final rundown. He then went on to win two $10,000 races over the last month of the season to close it out on a solid note which McDowell hopes sets the tone for 2010.