Points Finish 26th, 0 Wins, 1 Top Five, 2 Top Tens, 10 Top Twenties, 24.5 Average Finish, 24.4 Average Running Position, 33 Laps Led, 53.62 Driver Rating
Michael McDowell is a strong performer at Daytona who should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar. Over the last three seasons among drivers who competed in every race his 13.2 average finish ranks as the second best.
Road courses are also a strength for McDowell, but I’ll note he’s often over hyped at those venues. His finish ceiling is probably around the mid-teens, but you should really count on him to finish in the high-teens.
The shorter the track, the worse for Michael McDowell. In 2018 he struggled at short tracks, and shorter flat tracks. At both of those track types he should be avoided in 2019.
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – C+
Intermediate tracks weren’t a strength for Michael McDowell in 2018. His level of performance wasn’t high, and it dipped in the Playoffs. In 2018 over the 17 combined races he had a 24.4 average finish and a 24.9 average running position.
Michael McDowell and the #34 team ended the season with a whimper at intermediate tracks. In the Playoffs over the five combined races all of his results were between 26th to 29th. I hope that trend doesn’t continue.
In 2019 I would look for him to typically be a low to mid-twenties driver who’ll be able to sneak in some finishes in the high-teens from time to time.
Flat Track Fantasy Value – C+
Michael McDowell really wasn’t that bad of a flat track driver in 2018. The season started rough with him finishing in the low-thirties the first two races, but in the six races following that he had a 20th place average finish and had three results in the teens. Among drivers who are considered to be in his tier that’s respectable.
Last year at bigger flat tracks he had an 18th place average result and finished between 16th to 21st every race. In 2019 I think he’ll likely have a similar level of performance at those venues.
At the shorter flat tracks his level of success wasn’t as high. He finished 16th at Phoenix in the fall, but in the other four races he finished 24th or worse. In 2019 at these venues I would look for him to be a low to mid-twenties driver.
Short Track Fantasy Value – C
Last year at short tracks, no team that races with an effort to be competitive was worse than Michael McDowell and the #34 team. Over the six combined races he had a 29.0 average finish and a 27.5 average running position.
In 2019 on this track type I would look for him to likely be a low to mid-twenties driver on most weekends.
Martinsville has been his best short track, but keep in mind the bar is low. Last year he had results of 21st and 25th. Since 2016 at that venue his average finish is 22.2.
In 2018 at Bristol he crashed in both races. In the three races prior to that he had results of 19th, 20th and 26th.
At Richmond over the last five races he has two respectable results (12th and 16th), but his other four finishes are 24th or worse. Last year he had results of 24th and 31st.
Plate Track Fantasy Value – B
At Daytona, Michael McDowell is one of the best options out there. At Talladega, not so much.
Last summer at Daytona he finished an asterisk mark 26th. I will note he had a competitive car. He finished just outside the top ten in Stage #1, finished 2nd in Stage #2, led 20 laps, was in 6th with 22 laps to go but was caught up in a late wreck. In the five races prior to that he finished in the top fifteen and had a 10.6 average finish. Over that five race stretch he ranked as one of the best in the series. In last years Daytona 500 he finished 9th.
At Talladega, things have been dreadful and over the last four races he’s finished 30th or worse. Last year he had results of 32nd and 40th. In 2017 he finished 30th and 34th.
Road Course Fantasy Value – B-
Michael McDowell is widely viewed as a quality option at road courses given his tier, but his results really haven’t been that great. Last year on this track type he had a 19.0 average finish and an 18.3 average running position. His results were 18th, 18th and 21st and by no means is that anything to brag about.
Last season when the Charlotte Road Course made its debut he finished 18th.
Watkins Glen is his better of the two legacy road courses. He finished 18th last year, in the two prior seasons he had results of 12th and 17th.
At Sonoma he finished 21st last summer, in 2017 he had his best result there and finished 14th.
In 2019 I would enter road course race weekends viewing him as a high-teens driver who has potential to finish marginally better.