Opportunity to run in the No. 22 comes within heated owner race RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today SPARTA, Ky. -- The last time Michael McDowell was in a NASCAR Nationwide Series ride, he was driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa Speedway earlier this season. He battled Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 Team Penske ride throughout the final laps, settling for second while Keselowski celebrated in Victory Lane. This weekend at Kentucky Speedway , McDowell will be in that No. 22 for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 as he continues to hunt down his first Nationwide victory. Aside from his own aspirations of a win, McDowell's job is also to keep owner Roger Penske atop the owner standings -- the weight of which won't keep the driver down. "I've been in these sort of high-pressure situations in the past with Joe Gibbs Racing going in over the years," McDowell said. "There's a lot at stake, I realize that, and obviously this is a car that's won four races already this year and runs up front every week. And so the pressure for me is just, I really just take every week the same, I go out there and do the best I can and try to get the most out of the race car that I can, and hopefully the results will come from that." With two top-10 finishes in two Nationwide Series starts this season, McDowell has had a welcome respite from finishing outside of the top 20 as so often happens in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride. McDowell has competed in 13 races in the top national series and earned only two top-20s. In three races, his No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford did not qualify. Racing for a small team has presented its challenges, but competing for top teams in Nationwide has kept them from getting to the driver. "(I've) sort of struggled and had to do a lot of things that you wouldn't think would be ideal in a career: ... not have well-funded programs in both the Nationwide and Cup sides," McDowell said. "And it just made me realize, OK, this is why I stuck in it, and this is why I continue to do what I'm doing -- is for an opportunity like this to drive a great race car for a great organization and hopefully get a shot at Victory Lane, you know, it makes it all worth it for sure." His opportunities with Penske and Gibbs have been beneficial to the small, single-car organization where McDowell spends most of his time. While Leavine Family Racing continues to battle limited funds and a smaller staff than teams like Penske, who provides its equipment, having the chance to be a part of a winning team brings LFR closer to doing so itself. "The opportunities that I've had over the last three or four years in the Nationwide Series, I feel like is what's really kept me in this sport, because I got great opportunities to hop in and get top-fives and a couple of runner-up finishes, and it kind of makes you relative in this sport," McDowell said. "But more than anything for me was, it wasn't so much a confidence boost as it was, 'OK, this is what it needs to feel like, this is where we have to get,' and it allowed me to go back to my Cup programs a little more focused on, 'OK, here's the areas we do well, here's the areas where they do it better.' And that's really helped me be able to bring more to the Cup program." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Late model champion will drive No. 5 at Homestead Josh Berry has picked up his second NASCAR Nationwide Series race for JR Motorsports, team co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced Wednesday on her podcast. On "Fast Lane Family," a radio show Earnhardt Miller hosts as part of Dirty Mo Radio, she announced that Berry would drive the No. 5 Ragu Chevrolet in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "We have worked really hard (for that sponsorship), and we're still working. We'd love to put Josh in more races," Earnhardt Miller said. Berry, who won the track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway this year driving a late model for JRM, finished 12th in his Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway in August. "It's so exciting for me and I'm very thankful that Ragu came on board and everyone at JRM worked as hard as they did," Berry said on the radio show. "It's so cool to see happen." The No. 5 vehicle has been split among Berry, Kevin Harvick , Kasey Kahne and Austin Theriault this season. The team's two full-time drivers, Chase Elliott and Regan Smith , are currently first and second in the points standings. That's not lost on Berry. "I have a pretty good feeling it's going to be a real exciting weekend for all of JR Motorsports that weekend," he said. Click here to listen to this week's episode of Fast Lane Family. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Next drivers Kenzie Ruston, Ben Rhodes and Jesse Little take time out of their racing schedules at Iowa Speedway to explain the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
The first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway is May 18
Get To Know Newton 250 scheduled for May 18 at Iowa Speedway
Hornish will drive the No. 54 for JGR, McDowell the No. 22 for Penske
Kyle Busch dominated early, but cautions changed the course of the race RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today JOLIET, Ill. -- In a race that Kyle Busch had dominated, his 141 laps led coming in the first 154 laps of Saturday's Jimmy John's FreakyFast 300, a late-race caution added some spice to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Six laps later, the real shakeup occurred. Consecutive yellow flags on Lap 153 and Lap 166 turned a rather A-B-C type of event into a free-for-all, with Kevin Harvick pulling away for the win as the field continually jumbled itself behind him. The caution on Lap 153, the fifth of the day, saw every possible scenario unfold. Three cars ( Brian Scott , Chris Buescher and Aric Almirola ) stayed out, some cars pitted for fuel only (including Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan ), some took two tires (including Harvick) and some took four (Busch, Trevor Bayne ). The yellow that fell on Lap 166 scrambled those strategies even further, as those who saved tires had to pit frenetically to put them on, and those that considered a long green-flag run were left disappointed. "We thought it was better to save a set and try to do something with them later," said Regan Smith , who pitted for four tires and came out 16th. He finished eighth. "The problem is that next caution came too early and didn't really allow us to utilize them." Still, it was a somewhat satisfying ending for Smith, whose No. 7 Chevrolet only ran in the top-10 after gaining significant ground on pit road. What made the finish even more palatable is seeing JR Motorsports teammate and series points leader Chase Elliott finishing two spots behind him in 10th. Elliott's day was the exact opposite of Smith's. His car ran up front all day and led two laps, but misfired on pit road late. There was a miscommunication on the Lap 153 pit stop, and the No. 9 team put on four tires when the call was for two. "We struggled all day. We'd have a good run, bad run, good run, bad run," Smith said. "(Crew chief) Ryan (Pemberton) made the right call and bailed us out today. I messed up at the end (by losing a spot), and I cost us points. Kind of frustrated about that, but we fought hard and what looked like was going to be a big points loss turned into us gaining a few." Bayne made four tires work well, but he was one of the few to do so. Harvick won the race after taking two tires, and Bayne lost ground early and nearly couldn't catch back up after the final caution lasted eight laps while crews cleaned the track. In fact, the driver of the No. 6 didn't climb into the top five until the final few laps to finish fifth, his best effort since a third-place showing on Aug. 2 at Iowa Speedway . "I was glad to be on four tires," Bayne said. "We did lose a lot of track position, so I was hoping it would pay off. The hardest part was watching all those laps go by as they put the SpeedyDry down, and you're watching valuable laps click away that you need to get that position." Not everyone who took four tires was as pleased as Bayne, though. Busch went from running in the lead to restarting 16th on Lap 159. The following short green-flag run slowed his run, and although he would finish third, it wasn't a happy top-five effort. "We knew we needed to come down and get tires, and obviously four was the wrong call," Busch said. "It put us behind and I fought my butt out there and could only get to third. … I don't know." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: NASCAR Chase Grid games WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Newly named president of Iowa Speedway calls post "a dream come true"
Keselowski won the first NNS race at Iowa in 2009 and the August event there
Holds off charge by Michael McDowell on late restart at Iowa Speedway