Heading into race weekend number four of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season, both Front Row Motorsports drivers are ready for Phoenix. Both David Ragan and Michael McDowell enjoy the Arizona based ISM Raceway, formerly called Phoenix Raceway, and are looking forward to getting on track.
Front Row Motorsports driver David Ragan said that ISM Raceway is a kind of combination of a short track feel, but with a higher speed that makes it more like an intermediate track.
“I think fans have really embraced that track,” he said.
Ragan noted the track has been able to effectively fill the seats but said the reconfiguration of the track took some time for the drivers to get used to. He says now, the track has aged well.
“You’ve got multiple lanes in both corners and opportunities to pass on both ends,” the No. 38 driver said.
“It’s just a cool track, and that’s what makes our sport so unique. We do go to a lot of different styles of racetracks. And Phoenix is a unique place. We don’t go to any other place like it.”
He said the track gives the drivers a fun race and has a lot of fans. He noted though you really need to have a good handling car, adequate brakes, and good forward drive in your car.
“A lot of factors go into being fast at Phoenix,” Ragan said.
Michael McDowell, in his first year with Front Row Motorsports in the No. 38 said it’s always great to race at his home track. He added that he’s glad the track is being overhauled.
“We’ve had attendance up and down all throughout the country, but not at Phoenix,” he said.
McDowell said the Arizona track has had “rock-solid sellout crowds and campers for miles.”
“Out of all the places we go to, even Daytona, there are more people camping at Phoenix than there are anywhere else,” McDowell said.
“We have great fans. They are loyal. They love racing. They love the atmosphere,” he said.
The No. 38 driver said the culture that the track creating for fans will be amazing.
“So, of all the places we go to, and not just because it’s my hometown, they really deserve it,” McDowell said.
“They’ve done a great job keeping people in the stands.”
Coming from Leavine Family Racing last year, after Kasey Kahne was announced as LFR’s No. 95 driver, McDowell brought his sponsor, K-LOVE radio with him.
“This will be our first race this season with K-LOVE Radio on our Ford,” he said.
“They’ve been a long-time supporter of my racing career, and it’s great that they are continuing to do so now that I’m at Front Row Motorsports. For me, it’s always fun to go home. It’s pretty cool to have so much support in your hometown, both from the fans and from an important partner.”
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series action begins tomorrow at 12:35 pm ET with the first Cup practice. Qualifying is later that day at 5:15ET. Saturday also has a pair of practices for the Cup teams at 12:05-15:55 pm ET and 2:30 pm ET.
The 312 lap/312 mile MENCS TicketGuardian 500 race is Sunday at 3:30 pm ET. with TV coverage on FOX.