Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 11/7/14


Michael McDowell has landed a full-time Sprint Cup ride for the 2012 season. The 27-year old will drive the No. 98 Ford of Phil Parsons Racing.

The team will use Roush Yates Racing engine power, and veteran Gene Nead will serve as crew chief. McDowell and Nead have worked together in previous Cup and Nationwide races with both PPR and Michael Waltrip Racing.

Team owner Phil Parsons, a former NASCAR driver and current television commentator on SPEED, merged the assets of his team with those of Whitney Motorsports during the offseason to bolster his 2012 Cup effort. PPR also took on a new partner in Mike Curb, owner of Curb Records and long-time successful owner in the NASCAR and open-wheel ranks.

"Combining our efforts with Whitney Motorsports with the support of Mike Curb and having Michael behind the wheel of the No. 98 Ford means we'll open the season at Daytona better prepared than ever before," Parsons said. "We feel the timing couldn't be better for us to build this program into a proper Sprint Cup Series effort."

McDowell has driven in the Cup Series since 2008 and made a career-high 32 starts in 2011, mostly for HP Racing’s No. 66 Toyota, finishing 36th in the points. He is perhaps best known for a spectacular wreck during qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008 in which his car barrel-rolled down the front stretch for several seconds before McDowell amazed the crowd by emerging unscathed from the wreck.

McDowell has bounced around from team to team in recent seasons, and last year made several starts for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, scoring four top-10’s, one top-5 and a pole. He also made one Cup start for JGR when Kyle Busch was suspended before the fall Chase race at Texas. However, consistent opportunities in the Cup Series have been hard to come by.

"This is the opportunity I've been looking for—to work with various Christian-music outlets, Mike Curb and Curb Records, and our other partnerships that are taking shape," said McDowell, who has 84 Cup starts to his credit. "This opportunity will allow me to expand my brand and put me in a position to work with the types of companies I've been wanting to work with for a long time. On the race track, I'm excited about the chance to have my best NASCAR season ever."

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