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2020 NASCAR team reviews: Front Row Motorsports

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

With the 2020 NASCAR season officially over, it’s time to take a look back at how each team performed over the course of the season. We started our team reviews with JTG-Daugherty Racing and now it’s time to take a look back at Front Row Motorsports’ season.

Front Row Motorsports

Drivers

Michael McDowell

Four top 10s, 23rd in the points standings

John Hunter Nemechek

Three top 10s, 27th in the points standings

Entering 2020, seven of McDowell’s eight career top-10 finishes came at either Daytona or Talladega. He diversified that top-10 portfolio in 2020.

McDowell recorded top 10s at Pocono, Indianapolis, the Daytona road course and Bristol this season. That 10th at Bristol was the first time that he had ever finished in the top 10 at a short track. And that 10th at Daytona was his first road course top 10.

His 23rd-place finish in the points standings was a career best and a four-spot improvement from 2019. That’s attributable to his ability to finish races and stay on the lead lap. McDowell tied his career low with just two DNFs in 2020 and finished on the lead lap 23 times. He had 19 combined lead-lap finishes over the past two seasons.

McDowell’s average finish was also a career high. He had an average finishing position of 20.9; an improvement of 1.3 over his previous career-best in 22.2.

Nemechek showed more glimpses of speed than McDowell did in 2020. He also wrecked more cars. That can happen when you’re a rookie.

Nemechek crashed out of five races in an 11-race span over the summer. And he dropped five places in the standings as a result. Before he crashed at Kentucky and finished 36th, Nemechek was 22nd in the standings.

Two of his three top-10 finishes came at Talladega. The other came in the first Darlington race when he finished ninth. He promptly followed that up days later with a crash on lap four and a crash on lap 12 in the Darlington encore.

The 2020 season also was a one-and-done for Nemechek at Front Row. He announced earlier in the week that he wouldn’t be returning to the team in 2021. No replacement driver has been announced, though it reasons that his successor will be a driver that brings some sponsorship money to the team.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - JULY 15: Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, races John H. Nemechek, driver of the #38 YANMAR Ford, during the NASCAR Cup Series All-Open at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 15, 2020 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Front Row Motorsports cut back to two cars in 2020 and its results improved. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Grade: B

It feels like mission accomplished for Front Row in 2020. The team had two cars in 2018 and David Ragan was 25th in the standings while McDowell was 26th. It expanded to three in 2019 and slipped backwards. McDowell was 27th, Ragan was 30th and Matt Tifft would have bumped Ragan down a spot had he been able to run the full season.

The team ditched the third car in the offseason and the results got back to those 2018 levels. Expect more of the same in 2021.

– – – – – – –

Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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