Ford Authority

Michael McDowell Explains Decision To Ditch NASCAR Ford Team

2021 Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell shook the stock car racing world when he announced that he would split up with his NASCAR Ford team, Front Row Motorsport (FRM), at the end of the 2024 racing season. While he didn’t immediately disclose his plans for 2025, there wasn’t much time to speculate. He dropped the news that he would be joining Spire Motorsports, a Chevy allied team, just a few hours later. The decision to break up with The Blue Oval wasn’t an easy one for McDowell, though, according to a recent report from

McDowell’s new contract, which puts him behind the wheel of the No. 71 NASCAR Chevy Camaro ZL1 next season, secures his future for a few years to come. The multiyear agreement with Spire was a major factor as he was weighing his options, which unfortunately meant turning his back on FRM and the relationships he’d built there.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to continue to build and be in the Cup Series for many years to come,” McDowell said. “It wasn’t easy. I mean, I love everybody at Front Row. I feel like it’s family. So making any decision like this wasn’t easy.”

He added, “But I think I came to the realization when I felt like I poured everything into this program that I’m currently in, and there wasn’t anything beyond the year in front of me. So at that point, I had to make a tough decision that I’m not going to chance it, I’m going to go ahead and do the hard thing and move on.”

In short, McDowell doesn’t seem sure about FRM’s future beyond next year and joined Spire to lock down his future in the Cup Series, as he’s not ready to hang up his helmet quite yet. At this time, FRM hasn’t announced who will take over the No. 34 NASCAR Ford Mustang Dark Horse in place of McDowell – or if it will even continue to field a car after he leaves.

We’ll have more racing news soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford racing newsNASCAR news, and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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  1. CWJ

    Front Row….has been rising …not falling….just first of year they got tier 1 status at Ford Performance. good sponsorhip……one of my favorite teams


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