Michael McDowell’s No.34 team loses key member

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Michael McDowell will have a new team leader in 2022.

When Michael McDowell gets into the # 34 Ford Mustang for the Busch Light Clash at LA Memorial Coliseum, he’s got someone new in his ear. He will face the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season with another team manager following the departure of Drew Blickensderfer.

Front Row Motorsports announced on Friday (December 17th) that Blickensderfer has informed the organization of its decision to leave and pursue other options. He and McDowell won the Daytona 500 together to kick off the 2021 season, but his departure ends a partnership that began in 2019 and culminated in a playoff appearance.

“Drew has helped the # 34 team reach new heights since joining Front Row Motorsports, winning the Daytona 500” Team owner Bob Jenkins said in a statement. “We are now in the process of recruiting the next leader of our organization to continue the solid foundation that has been built. This process has started and we will act quickly. We wish Drew the best in his future endeavors.


Blickensderfer spent 13 seasons as Cup Series team manager

Drew blickensderfer

GettyDrew Blickensderfer worked with several drivers before joining FRM.

FRM’s announcement did not indicate whether Blickensderfer would remain in the NASCAR Cup Series or move on entirely. If this departure marks the end of his stint in the Cup Series, he will leave with four career victories over 13 seasons.

Blickensderfer started working as a team leader in the Xfinity series in 2006 while working with Danny O’Quinn Jr. and David Ragan, but he made his Cup Series debut in 2009. He was a team leader. Matt Kenseth’s full-time team at Roush. . The duo won the first two races of the season together and had a total of 12 top-10s and seven top-5s. Kenseth finished the year 14th in points.

Blickensderfer spent time as a crew chief for seven other drivers before joining FRM and McDowell in 2019. The roster includes Ragan, Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton, Aric Almirola, Sam Hornish Jr., Billy Johnson and Bubba Wallace, who finished second in the 2018 Daytona 500 to kick off their full season together.


McDowell and Blickensderfer played well together

A 14-year Cup Series veteran, McDowell joined FRM in 2018 and worked with team leader Derrick Finley while also placing in the top 10. He then teamed up with Blickensderfer and started performing on a more consistent level.

From 2019 to 2021, McDowell and Blickensderfer combined for 11 top-10s, including a career-high five in 2021. They also had a total of four top five and victory at the Daytona 500. The only other top five of McDowell took place in the 2017 season, when he drove for Leavine Family Racing and finished fourth in the Coke Zero 400.

After a career year in which he finished 16th in points, McDowell will face many changes. He will have a new teammate in Todd Gilliland, who will take over the # 38 Ford Mustang, he will have a new stock because after moving to Next Gen # 34, and he will have a new team leader who will guide him every week. of the 2022 season.

Now all that remains is to wonder if he’ll surpass his career best season or come back to the middle of the pack. McDowell and his new team manager will provide some answers when the Cup Series kicks off the regular season with the Daytona 500 on February 20.

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