Skinner replaces McDowell at MWR
|By Steven English
||Wednesday, August 13th 2008, 10:40 GMT
Michael McDowell has been dropped by Michael Waltrip Racing's Sprint Cup team for the next three events and will be replaced by Craftsman Truck regular Mike Skinner.
Skinner will come in for this weekend's race at Michigan, as well as the forthcoming rounds at Bristol and Fontana. McDowell is expected to return at Richmond on September 6.
Sprint Cup rookie McDowell's No.00 entry is currently 36th in the owners' standings, eight points behind AJ Allmendinger in the final guaranteed starting spot.
"Our program as a whole is struggling right now and we're outside the top 35," said McDowell. "It gives us a chance to put Skinner in, evaluate where I'm at and where our whole team's at, and hopefully get better, which ultimately is the goal of this whole process.
"It's not ideal, it's not something I wanted to do. But I'm definitely getting back in, that's not a question. It's just a matter of getting our program better."
McDowell finished 25th at Watkins Glen on Sunday but triggered the huge crash eight laps from the end that wiped out Bobby Labonte, David Gilliland, Max Papis, and Dave Blaney. But he says the driver change had been discussed before Sunday.
"The whole melee at Watkins Glen was unfortunate, but it wasn't what made us come to the decision," he added. "It's something we've been working on and it had nothing to do with the fact that Watkins Glen was a bit of a disaster."
Skinner replaced Allmendinger in Team Red Bull's No.84 car for five races earlier this season, after which Allmendinger showed a marked improvement. Team boss Michael Waltrip is hoping for the same outcome from this change.
"I thought he (Skinner) did a really nice job with Red Bull and our No.00 team could use the same experienced insight," he said. "We feel the same way about Michael McDowell as we did when we signed him, but this is the toughest, most competitive form of racing in the world and I know Michael and MWR can benefit from Skinner's input."
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