Two quick NASCAR notes after this weekend’s race in Martinsville:
Michael McDowell, a NASCAR journeyman who’s raced with high profile Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing before, will leave his current No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford at year’s end for a lateral move to the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford in 2014. It’s a one-year deal but it provides the fledgling team a bit of stability after Scott Speed and the team parted ways earlier this year. McDowell, 28, has a season and career-best finish of ninth at this year’s Daytona 500. The PPR team rarely runs a whole race and besides the four restrictor plate events, McDowell’s only other race finishes this year were 32nd at Indianapolis and 26th yesterday in Martinsville.
While McDowell moves on, Ken Schrader told ESPN’s Allen Bestwick during yesterday’s broadcast that this year’s season finale at Homestead will be his last race in a Sprint Cup car. Schrader’s the epitome of a “wheel man” with more than 760 career Cup starts dating to 1984, and thousands more on short tracks and dirt tracks throughout the country on a weekly basis. He has run part-time in Cup since 2007 and has a best finish of 27th at the fall Bristol race this year driving Frank Stoddard’s No. 32 U.S. Chrome Ford. Assuming that is his last Cup start – it’s hard to think of the words “Schrader” and “retire” in the same sentence – a proper appreciation post of his career will follow at that point.
“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.
“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”
Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something
we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”