|9/29/2002 - Portland, OR – With 3 laps remaining in Round Two of the Fran-AM 1600 West Coast Championship race at Portland International Raceway Michael McDowell was cruising towards victory. After starting on pole position in his MMI Karting/World Speed Motorsports entry, McDowell had led every lap, and set fastest lap of the race, in building up a five second lead when electrical problems ended his victory aspirations.
“My MMI Karting/Worldspeed car was perfect all weekend and I had been able to open up a comfortable lead in the race, when it just shut off,” McDowell said. “We haven’t had a chance to look it at it yet but we think it was problem with the fuel pump or the ignition, which is a shame because the team had worked so hard and we had been strong all weekend.”
Indeed, from the first session of the weekend, McDowell demonstrated that anybody hoping to win would have him to contend with, setting fast laps right off of the transporter. “When we reflected on the first race of the season we realized we had been down on power and installed a new engine,” McDowell explained, “combined with the setup the guys put on the car we knew we’d be quick.”
Qualifying would ultimately reveal how quick as McDowell lapped the famed Pacific Northwest road course half a second faster than the closest competition, posting the only time in the one minute-twenty second range with a 1:20.750. “Michael did an excellent job in qualifying,” Telo Stewart, Team Manager for World Speed Motorsports commented, “His driving style is so smooth and he is able to give us great feedback, making our job that much easier. We are definitely disappointed that we were unable to celebrate his talent with a victory today.”
McDowell and World Speed Motorsports look to regroup now as the series heads to Buttonwillow Raceway Park on October 11-13, confident that they have the speed, and focused on climbing back into the championship hunt. “We are only 30 points out of the lead with 6 races to go,” McDowell commented. “The MMI Worldspeed Team is very strong with a lot of ambition, and we are going to make this happen!”
“ I'd like to thank everyone that has made this weekend possible MMI Karting, World Speed Motorsports, Mega Metals, Western Titanium, Sparco USA, No Fear, Jim Russell Racing School and SpeedPro Signs Plus” stated McDowell.
Frank McCormick in the other WSM FA1600 improved his times in the event, and managed to race up to 7th position. The team is looking forward to the next race at Buttonwillow CA Oct 12th.