Valley native Michael McDowell hoping to put on a show

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Valley native Michael McDowell hopes to make a run at the checkered flag in Bristol. (Source: Twitter @Mc_driver) Valley native Michael McDowell hopes to make a run at the checkered flag in Bristol. (Source: Twitter @Mc_driver)

Michael McDowell grew up in the Valley watching 3TV. On Saturday night, you can watch McDowell try to chase down a checkered flag on the KTVK airwaves at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"At Bristol, you gotta finish,” said McDowell, reached via Facetime at his North Carolina home. 

“It's such a tight place. It’s very easy to get in somebody else's mess, but it is an opportunity weekend. At Bristol, your body and motor don't matter as much as a place like Michigan. Bristol is a place where a small team can make a big weekend and that's what we're looking to do."

McDowell grew up in Glendale where he started racing BMX bicycles at the age of three. He’s raced bikes, karts, been an instructor at Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and worked his way up from Nascar’s Craftsman Truck Series. 

“We're a small team here at Leavine Family Racing,” said McDowell. 

“We're a single car team, family operated, sort of underfunded race team, but we've been having great performance, competing in the top 20 a lot of the weekends.” 

McDowell holds the distinction of walking away from one of the most horrific crashes in recent Nascar history. He’s also experienced the thrill of victory, winning last September at Road America on Nascar’s Xfiniti series.

He’s currently 27th in points and hopes to have something on the line when Nascar comes to PIR in November.

"For me, it's kind of privilege to represent Arizona and represent my hometown a couple times a year,” said McDowell, who appears to have a friendly rivalry with fellow Arizona driver Alex Bowman. 

“He’s from Tucson, I don't know if that counts, he's moving into the 88 and I don't know if he's going to take some of my hometown fans. As of right now, I'm the only Arizona native to win a race, but I think Bowman's probably got something coming."

Bowman was featured earlier this month on He won’t be driving this weekend but McDowell will climb in his 95 car and try to make a run at the checkered flag in Bristol, TN. 

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