Dale McDowell has compiled a racing résumé that would be the envy of many Dirt Late Model drivers.
The 56-year-old veteran racer has earned wins in some of the sport’s biggest events including the World 100 and the Dirt Late Model Dream along with this past Saturday night’s $100,000-to-win XR Super Series feature held at the Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap. Tennessee. But even with such achievements in his history, the Chickamauga, Georgia star can’t help but being a bit awestruck by the level of talent in most modern-day pit areas.
Prior to the running of the Kyle Larson Late Model Challenge on April 6th at Volunteer Speedway, the ‘Mac Daddy’ took time to do an interview before eventually finishing second in that feature.
“Certainly, there’s a lot of talent here,” McDowell told InsideDirtRacing.com. “There’s a great competition level among these guys that are here. Any of these guys that are in the show tonight are capable of winning it and we see that more and more in the places that we go. I hope I’m not watching them, I hope I’m out front of them but sometimes you find yourself back there if things don’t go your way to where you are watching them. It should be a great event tonight and it’s pretty awesome to bring this group of drivers here, and the diversity of drivers, with both of the Kyles(Larson & Busch) and Chase(Briscoe) here too. It should be a really good show and excitement for the fans.”
Has the level of talent ever been greater in the sport of Dirt Late Model racing than it is right now?
“I don’t think so, not to my knowledge anything that I can remember,” the Shane McDowell Racing Team Zero Race Cars driver declared. “You know, forever and ever we would go to these events and you’d pick six, eight, or maybe ten guys that were capable of winning. You pick one of those guys and he would be the winner. I think now, it’s gotten stronger and stronger and stronger. So like I said, any of the guys in the field tonight is going to be capable of winning this thing. It’s just going to be who puts a qualifying lap, heat race, and then whoever makes the right adjustments, it’s their night.”
2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson went on to win that race ahead of top stars such as McDowell, Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden, Brandon Overton and Jimmy Owens just to name a few. Also, NASCAR racers Kyle Busch and Chase Briscoe were in that show.
With that high level of competition taken into consideration, McDowell points out that the window of opportunity to run up front isn’t as open as it used to be.
“That has definitely gotten smaller,” McDowell pointed out. “The race fans at home can usually tell that in our qualifying times and how close they are now. The least little mistake shows up huge on the stop watch, especially when the field is as tight as they are on lap times. It’s a headache for us racers but it’s good for those race fans.”
How is it that a National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame member can remain as a front runner in such a highly competitive form of motorsports?
“My love for this sport,” McDowell said. “I started when I was 14 so my first race was in 1981, so I’ve done it a long time. I’ve been through the ups and the downs. I’ve seen a lot, I know I haven’t seen it all. A lot of those guys you spoke of earlier(Scott Bloomquist & Billy Moyer) got out and travelled a little quicker and hit the road faster than I did but they were kind of my idols and that’s the reason I wanted to do that. I’m just proud to be 56 and halfway keep up with these guys.”
McDowell and the No. 17m have scheduled a weekend of racing with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series this Thursday through Saturday at 411 Motor Speedway(Thursday) and the Talladega Short Track(Friday & Saturday).
If you would like to listen to the interview with Dale McDowell, click the play button below:
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