The NASCAR Cup Series season continues with the trip to Richmond Raceway on April 3 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Michael McDowell will hit a career milestone when he climbs into the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang.
The Arizona native will make his 400th career start in the Cup Series when he suits up for the race at Richmond. He will join other active drivers to hit the mark in Brad Keselowski (455), David Ragan (474), Joey Logano (477), Greg Biffle (513), Denny Hamlin (584), Martin Truex Jr. (591), Kyle Busch (612), Kevin Harvick (760), and Kurt Busch (762).
McDowell will head to Richmond fresh off his second-strongest performance of the year. He started 27th overall at Circuit of the Americas on March 27 before racing his way to a 13th-place finish. Now he will head to a short track in Virginia where he has 21 previous starts and an average finish of 31.7.
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The Toyota Owners 400 takes place on Sunday, April 3. FOX will provide coverage for the race at 3:30 p.m. ET with Mike Joy doing play-by-play. Clint Bowyer and guest Chad Knaus will serve as the analysts for the Cup Series race.
McDowell Will Face Steep Odds To Win His 400th Start
McDowell, who has one career Cup Series win, will head to Richmond Raceway in pursuit of another. He will make his 400th start while doing so, but he will face steeper odds than some of his peers to reach Victory Lane and potentially lock himself into the playoffs.
According to BetMGM, McDowell will enter the race weekend with 500-1 odds to win the short track race. This places him near the rear of the field, along with Biffle (500-1), Corey LaJoie (500-1), Ty Dillon (750-1), Landon Cassill (1,000-1), Cody Ware (1,000-1), Garrett Smithley (1,000-1), and BJ McLeod (1,000-1). For comparison, Chase Elliott has the best odds at 8-1.
One reason for the lower ranking is that McDowell hasn’t contended for wins at short tracks. He has 65 starts at tracks shorter than one mile in length, but he only has one top-10 finish. He secured a 10th-place finish during the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway during the 2020 Cup Series season.
Another NASCAR Driver Will Hit This Cup Series Milestone
McDowell will not be the only Cup Series driver to hit this milestone during the 2022 regular season. Another will also reach 400 career starts in the Cup Series before he walks away from full-time competition and focuses on spending more time with his family.
Aric Almirola, who will retire at the end of the 2022 season, will head to Richmond Raceway with 394 career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series and three trips to Victory Lane. He will pursue his fourth top-10 finish of the year while inching closer to a career milestone that very few active drivers have reached.
Almirola is currently in the midst of a strong season. He kicked off the year with one top-five finish and two other top-10s, which moved him to sixth overall in the championship standings. Almirola hasn’t cracked the top 10 in the past three races, but he has continued to consistently avoid incidents while keeping himself in playoff contention. Almirola is also the only Cup Series driver to finish every race on the lead lap.