Race report

NASCAR Cup Indianapolis: McDowell beats Elliott to book playoff spot with win

Michael McDowell has clinched a NASCAR Cup Series playoff spot for the second time in three seasons, as his Indianapolis Road Course victory locked him into the title fight.

Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Horizon Hobby Ford Mustang

McDowell took advantage of a slow pitstop by Daniel Suarez to extend his lead in Stage 2 and never looked back at Indianapolis.

The 38-year-old then saw off Chase Elliott down the home straight as the race ended with a 77-lap green flag run, to win by 0.937 seconds.

Although McDowell was in contention to make the 2023 playoffs based on points, his victory locks him into the 16-driver field.

McDowell’s only other Cup win came in the 2021 Daytona 500, which automatically put him into the playoffs that year.

The win by McDowell and his #34 Front Row Motorsports team also gives Ford three consecutive wins for the first time since the 2020 season.

“Oh man, this is a dream come true. I’m just so thankful for everybody at Front Row Motorsports and [owner] Bob Jenkins,” McDowell said. “Man, we had a fast Ford Mustang today. We had the fastest car.

“I’m just so thankful to still be driving in the Cup series. To put on a performance like that, I don’t know if it was dominant, but it felt pretty dominant to me.”

Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Horizon Hobby Ford Mustang

Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Horizon Hobby Ford Mustang

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Asked about Elliott’s charge in the final laps, McDowell said: “I was just trying to pace myself. I figured there would be a late-race caution and I didn’t want to burn my stuff up. I was just trying to maintain that gap.”

Having narrowly missed out on victory, Elliott must win one of the two races left before the playoffs begin to be in the title battle.

Suarez, who started on the pole, also faces a similar prospect having finished third, as Tyler Reddick took fourth, who has already booked his playoff place, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five – another on the cusp of the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe secured his best result since fourth place at Martinsville back in mid-April with sixth place, ahead of playoff trio Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson, and Christopher Bell.

Superstar guest driver Shane van Gisbergen impressed again as he completed the top 10 to follow up his win on debut back in Chicago.

The three-time Supercars driver led the strong international contingent, with fellow Supercars star Brodie Kostecki in 22nd, 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Mike Rockenfeller 24th, 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button 28th and WEC star Kamui Kobayashi in 33rd.

NASCAR Cup - Indianapolis Road Course race results

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Pits Points Retirement
1 United States M. McDowell Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports 34 Ford 82 2:09'59.325   4 59  
2 United States C. Elliott Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 82 +0.937 0.937 5 49  
3 Mexico D. Suarez Daniel Suarez TrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 82 +5.750 4.813 5 51  
4 United States T. Reddick Tyler Reddick 23XI Racing 45 Toyota 82 +6.437 0.687 5 44  
5 United States A. Bowman Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 82 +19.994 13.557 5 38  
6 United States C. Briscoe Chase Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 82 +22.160 2.166 5 33  
7 United States M. Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 82 +22.956 0.796 5 31  
8 United States K. Larson Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 82 +24.152 1.196 5 36  
9 United States C. Bell Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 82 +24.549 0.397 5 32  
10 New Zealand S. van Gisbergen Shane van Gisbergen TrackHouse Racing 91 Chevrolet 82 +25.016 0.467 5    
11 United States C. Buescher Chris Buescher RFK Racing 17 Ford 82 +25.317 0.301 5 26  
12
T. Gibbs Ty Gibbs Joe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 82 +25.860 0.543 5 25  
13 United States R. Blaney Ryan Blaney Team Penske 12 Ford 82 +34.084 8.224 5 24  
14 United States W. Byron William Byron Hendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 82 +36.581 2.497 8 23  
15 United States A. Cindric Austin Cindric Team Penske 2 Ford 82 +36.643 0.062 11 22  
16 United States A. Dillon Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 82 +38.075 1.432 5 21  
17 United States R. Chastain Ross Chastain TrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 82 +38.688 0.613 5 20  
18 United States B. Wallace Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing 23 Toyota 82 +57.614 18.926 5 19  
19 United States D. Hamlin Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 82 +1'06.687 9.073 5 28  
20 United States B. Keselowski Brad Keselowski RFK Racing 6 Ford 82 +1'07.764 1.077 6 24  
21 United States H. Burton Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 82 +1'15.168 7.404 5 16  
22
B. Kostecki Brodie Kostecki Richard Childress Racing
33 Chevrolet 82 +1'22.653 7.485 6 15  
23 United States K. Harvick Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 81 +1 Lap 1 Lap 5 14  
24 Germany M. Rockenfeller Mike Rockenfeller Legacy Motor Club 42 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 3.552 7 13  
25 United States R. Stenhouse Jr. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 3.232 6 12  
26 United States A. Allmendinger A.J. Allmendinger Kaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 2.675 6 11  
27 United States T. Dillon Ty Dillon Spire Motorsports 77 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 3.997 7 10  
28 United Kingdom J. Button Jenson Button Rick Ware Racing 15 Ford 81 +1 Lap 4.767 6 9  
29 United States C. Lajoie Corey Lajoie Spire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 0.548 6 8  
30 United States A. Lally Andy Lally Rick Ware Racing 51 Ford 81 +1 Lap 8.197 5 7  
31 United States R. Preece Ryan Preece Stewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 81 +1 Lap 10.884 6 6  
32 United States J. Bilicki Josh Bilicki Live Fast Motorsports 78 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 0.219 5    
33 Japan K. Kobayashi Kamui Kobayashi 23XI Racing 67 Toyota 81 +1 Lap 13.935 7    
34 United States J. Logano Joey Logano Team Penske 22 Ford 81 +1 Lap 9.410 5 3  
35 United States E. Jones Erik Jones Legacy Motor Club 43 Chevrolet 81 +1 Lap 28.545 5 2  
36 United States K. Busch Kyle Busch Richard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 80 +2 Laps 1 Lap 6 11  
37 United States T. Gilliland Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports 38 Ford 80 +2 Laps 17.090 6 1  
38 United States J. Haley Justin Haley Kaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 80 +2 Laps 31.596 7 1  
39 United States A. Almirola Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 79 +3 Laps 1 Lap 5 1  

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