Michael McDowell’s No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet was the class of the field for much of Saturday’s Road America 150 Fired Up by Johnsonville, but as the NASCAR XFINITY Series race went into overtime conditions he had to fend off a hard charge from teammate Brendan Gaughan’s No. 62 South Point Chevrolet.
“It means a tremendous amount to me,” said McDowell. “I’ve been so close here atRoad America. To finally finish it off was huge.”
As Gaughan closed the gap around the 14-turn road course, McDowell was able to keep his Chevrolet out front to earn his first-career NASCAR victory. The one-two finish with Gaughan was also Richard Childress Racing’s second consecutive victory, third overall in 2016 and third-straight at Road America.
Leading 24 of the 48 laps, McDowell earned the win in his first series start this season and his first with RCR.
The victory was also the second-straight for crew chief Justin Alexander, who guided Austin Dillon to the win last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. With its second victory in as many weeks, the No. 2 team extended its lead in the owner championship standings to 28 points.
Gaughan, the 2014 winner at Road America, was hoping to secure his first win of the season, lock himself into the NXS Chase and go back to Victory Lane at one of his favorite tracks.
“Man, I wanted to win this race so bad,” said Gaughan. “I love Michael McDowell. I know it is RCR going for three wins in a row here at Road America, but I wanted to win this thing. This track means so much to me. I gave it all I could. I gave it one last-ditch effort in Turn 14 and just couldn’t keep the power down on the straightaway and had to come home second. Way to go RCR, finishing first and second, and getting three wins in a row here at Road America. We like taking this trophy home.”
Ty Dillon and Brandon Jones finished the day 12th and 16th, respectively. While both had fast Chevrolets, they both had to overcome contact from other cars. Despite the setbacks and off-course excursions, both the No. 3 Bosch Chevrolet and the No. 33 M-D Building Products/Menards Chevrolet fought back to have strong finishes.
With the road course section of the NXS in the books, RCR now sets its sights on three-consecutive wins. The series heads to Darlington Raceway next weekend, where the organization nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.