NASCAR: Michael McDowell 2021 return becomes official

It had been implied for quite some time, and now it is official; Michael McDowell is set to return to Front Row Motorsports for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Michael McDowell is officially set to return to Front Row Motorsports for a fourth year in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the team confirmed Wednesday.

McDowell’s return, which had been implied for quite some time, puts him back behind the wheel of the #34 Ford following a 2020 season that saw him record a career-high four top 10 finishes and finish in a career-high 23rd place in the championship standings with a career-high average finish of 20.9.

Never before had he recorded more than three top 10 finishes in a two-year span, much less four in a single season, and none of those four top 10 finishes came in a superspeedway race.

Prior to 2020, he hadn’t finished in the top 10 in a non-superspeedway race since 2016.

This confirmation comes as the team confirm that rookie Anthony Alfredo is set to join the team as the driver of the #38 Ford, replacing John Hunter Nemechek.

Nemechek opted to leave the team following his rookie season to drop down to the Truck Series and compete for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Here is what team owner Bob Jenkins had to say about McDowell’s return in a team release.

“Michael has really solidified his place as our veteran leader. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that has helped us continue to grow our program.”

McDowell has competed in 357 races over the course of 13 seasons going back to 2008. He finished in a career-high fourth place at Daytona International Speedway in 2017, and he added two more top five finishes, both fifth place finishes, in superspeedway races in 2019 at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. He has recorded nine more top 10 finishes throughout his career, with four of them coming last year.

The 2021 season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 14 at Daytona International Speedway with the 63rd annual Daytona 500, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.