Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Iconic Melling sponsorship returns with Michael McDowell at Michigan

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One of the most successful sponsorship names in NASCAR history will return to the sport for this weekend’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

Melling Performance, which evolved from the iconic Melling Racing, will be primary sponsor on Michael McDowell’s No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang.

Started by team patriarch Harry Melling in 1982, Melling Racing won the first “Winston Million” with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott in 1985, Elliott set the NASCAR speed record of 212.809 mph at Talladega in 1987 and won the 1988 Winston Cup championship. Elliott would claim 34 of his 44 Cup career wins while driving under the Melling Racing banner.

Michael McDowell’s No. 34 Ford Mustang will be sponsored by Melling Performance in this weekend’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Melling’s son Mark took over Melling Racing in 1999 (after Harry Melling passed away from a heart attack on May 29 that year) and continued to run the team until it closed after the 2002 season. Mark Melling now owns Melling Performance and Melling Engine Parts – which manufactures performance engine parts – and is located in Jackson, Michigan — less than 20 miles away from MIS.

“We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to get involved in NASCAR again,” Mark Melling said in a media release. “Teaming up with Michael and Front Row Motorsports gives us the chance to stay close to our racing roots while promoting our performance engine parts brand.”

McDowell is looking forward to having Melling sponsorship on his car.

“It’s so cool to have Melling on board this weekend,” McDowell said. “They have a long and rich history in the Cup series, so I’m excited that they’re getting involved again.

To have the name ‘Melling’ on our car so close to their home base really means a lot.”

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Gallery: Coca-Cola 600 patriotic paint schemes

Photos by Daniel McFadin
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With Memorial Day weekend here, many NASCAR teams will be racing patriotic paint schemes in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here’s a look at the unique schemes that will compete in NASCAR’s longest race.

All photos by Daniel McFadin.

Landon Cassill – No. 00 Chevrolet

Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford

Ryan Newman – No. 6 Ford

Aric Almirola – No. 10 Ford

Ty Dillon – No. 13 Chevrolet

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – No. 17 Ford

Kyle Busch – No. 18 Toyota

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. – No. 19 Toyota

 (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

William Byron – No. 24 Chevrolet

Corey LaJoie – No. 32 Ford

 

Michael McDowell – No. 34 Ford

Matt Tifft – No. 36 Ford

David Ragan – No. 36 Ford

Ryan Preece – No. 47 Chevrolet

Jimmie Johnson – No. 48 Chevrolet

Cody Ware – No. 51 Ford

Bayley Currey – No. 52 Ford

BJ McLeod – No. 53 Chevrolet

Alex Bowman – No. 88 Chevrolet

Xfinity Series

Michael Annett – No. 1 Chevrolet

Jefferey Earnhardt – No. 18 Toyota

Ryan Sieg – No. 39 Chevrolet

Mike Harmon – No. 74 Chevrolet

Monster Energy Open: Larson, Wallace, Byron, Bowman advance to All-Star Race

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MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — CONCLUSION OF RACE:

Kyle Larson dominated the final stage of the Monster Energy Open to advance to tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I had to be patient,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “I knew I had a really good car so I didn’t want to put myself in a bad spot and get damage like other guys did in the segments.

“Hopefully, we can give ourselves a good shot and clean up our act in the next hour or so (when the All-Star Race begins).

Click here for full race results.

Larson joins Stage 2 winner Bubba Wallace and Stage 1 winner William Byron in transferring into the All-Star Race. A fourth driver, Alex Bowman, also advances to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the Fan Vote.

Larson briefly had a challenge by Ty Dillon in the 10-lap final stage, but then pulled away and won uncontested.

Dillon finished second, followed by Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell.

The All-Star Race is slated to begin shortly after 8 p.m. ET.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — END OF STAGE TWO:

Bubba Wallace held off a late charge by Daniel Suarez — sending the latter spinning after colliding — and Kyle Larsen in Stage 2 of the Monster Energy Open to advance to the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wallace joins Stage 1 winner William Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race. One final stage remains in the Open.

“This has been tough and I’ve been feeling like a failure for a really long time, I didn’t give a damn out there,” Wallace told Fox Sports 1. “I love Suarez to death but he knows what’s on the line. … We needed this. I needed this.”

Like Stage 1, the scheduled 20-lap Stage 2 went into overtime. Ryan Preece and pole-sitter Daniel Hemric collided with two laps remaining, bringing out the caution.

Stage 2 ultimately went 25 total laps, including five laps of overtime. Kyle Larson finished second, followed by Suarez, Ty Dillon and David Ragan.

Sixth through 10th were Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie and Alex Bowman

One final stage — a 10-lap shootout — remains in the Open. The winner of the final stage will also advance to the All-Star Race. A fourth driver will also advance by winning the Fan Vote.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN — END OF STAGE 1

William Byron bumped his way into tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race, bumping and then passing Bubba Wallace in the final turn to take Stage 1 of the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will advance into the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight.

Due to a caution late in Stage 1 when B.J. McLeod‘s car started smoking heavily, the scheduled 20 laps of Stage 1 went 27 laps. Byron was fourth when the white flag fell on the 24-driver Open field and was able to get by Wallace at the start-finish line to take the checkered flag.

“It was just crazy, the seas just parted for us,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. “It feels awesome to be in the All-Star Race. It’s a huge accomplishment for myself and Chad (crew chief Chad Knaus) has been here a number of times. It feels good.”

Two more stages remain: the 20-lap Stage 2 and the final 10-lap Stage 3 (the race winner). The winners of Stage 2 and the overall race winner will then join Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race.

A fourth driver will transfer to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the fan vote.

Wallace finished second in Stage 1, followed by Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman.

Sixth through 10th were pole-sitter Daniel Hemric, Matt DiBenedetto, Paul Menard, David Ragan and Ryan Preece.

We’ll have the results of Stage 2 and the overall full results of the Open after their completion.

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Starting lineups for Monster Energy Open, Monster Energy All-Star Race

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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CONCORD, N.C. – Clint Bowyer, who last won a pole for a Cup points race in 2007, will lead the field to green in Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bowyer won the pole after posting the fastest time for three laps and a pit stop Friday night. He’ll be joined by Kyle Busch on the front row.

The All-Star Race will have 19 drivers. Fifteen qualified Friday. The three stage winners from the Monster Energy Open and the fan vote winner will advance to the All-Star Race.

Click here for All-Star Race starting lineup

The Monster Open will precede the All-Star Race. Daniel Hemric will start on the pole, leading a field of 24 cars to the green flag. This race is scheduled to take the green at 6:18 p.m. ET.

Michael McDowell joins Hemric on the front row.

Click here for Monster Energy Open starting lineup

Daniel Hemric wins pole for Monster Energy Open

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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CONCORD, N.C. – Daniel Hemric backed up his fast time in practice to win the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy Open.

The Open is for all cars not qualified for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race.

The three stage winners and the winner of the fan vote will advance from this race to the All-Star Race.

Hemric won the pole with a lap of 182.168 mph. He was followed by Michael McDowell (181.226 mph), William Byron (181.093), Daniel Suarez (181.044) and Paul Menard (180.662).

“We came here with a mindset as a company that we need to have a really fast race car,” Hemric said.

Click here for qualifying results