Front Row Motorsports responds to the loss of the Chief of Staff


Front Row Motorsports responded to Blake Harris’ loss.

Hendrick Motorsports announced on October 14 that the team had hired Blake Harris to take on the 48th job in the box. Now, Front Row Motorsports has responded to the loss of the Cup Series crew chief.

“We wish Blake nothing but the best for the future,” Team owner Bob Jenkins said in a statement. “He has helped our organization become even better and we are committed to ensuring that all of our teams continue to improve.

“We have made huge strides forward on and off the track in recent years and our goal is to continue to increase our performance. We have already begun the building process for next season in many different areas. This includes finding our next captain for the #34 Ford team.”

Harris took over as Michael McDowell’s crew chief at the start of the 2022 season. He led the former Daytona 500 winner to a 12-point top 10 spot, more than double McDowell’s previous best. That includes a pair of third-place finishers at the Sonoma Circuit and the Talladega Superspeedway.

McDowell will join forces with a new Chief of Staff

Michael McDowell

GTMichael McDowell racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.

McDowell has made a 425 start in the NASCAR Cup Series and has been a full-time driver for Front Row Motorsports since the 2018 season when he drove the #34 Ford and achieved a one-top-10 finish.

McDowell worked with a variety of crew chiefs during his time with the team. He had Derek Finley on top of the box in 2018 and then joined Drew Blickensderfer in 2019.

McDowell and Blickensderfer remained together until the end of the 2021 season, which marked the veteran driver’s first win. Their partnership ended a year later with the crew chief heading to Stewart-Haas Racing to partner with Aric Almirola.

With Blickensderfer leaving for SHR, Front Row Motorsports went in a different direction. The team succeeded in coaxing Harris away from Joe Gibbs Racing and making him a full-time crew chief for the first time in his career.

McDowell and Harris will close the remaining races

Michael McDowell

GTMichael McDowell will have a new crew chief in 2023.

Harris will leave Front Row Motorsports after the 2022 season concludes, and will join Alex Bowman at Hendrik Motorsports Stadium. Before that happens, he will close his remaining schedule.

Harris and McDowell have four races left together. They will first head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to South Point 400 on October 16 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC). The schedule will continue thereafter with trips to Homestead-Miami Speedway (October 23), Martinsville Speedway (October 30), and Phoenix Raceway (November 6).

Of the remaining tracks, McDowell was the most successful at Homestead-Miami Speedway, statistically speaking. He’s made 12 games on the Florida track during his Cup Series career, and has two Top 10 places. That includes a 10th place in the 2016 season finale and a 6th place early in the 2021 season.

Once the season is over, Harris will prepare for the 2023 Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which will be his first race with Bowman. McDowell will be preparing to join the new crew chief as he moves toward a season that will take him over 450 Cup Series.


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