Week 26 GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings: McDowell wins at Indy Road Course, MTJ holds at P1

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
3 min readAug 14, 2023

13 August 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — It was a strong showing for Michael McDowell and Front Row Motorsports at the Brickyard, qualifying his №34 Ford Mustang P4 on Saturday and holding off Chase Elliott (№9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Chevrolet) for the win Sunday at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Michael McDowell, driver of the №34 Horizon Hobby Ford, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. (Image Credit: Meg Oliphant — Getty Images)

GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings
Top 3 rankings unchanged, McDowell and Reddick make big jumps up! Truex, Byron and Hamlin remain P1-P3. Kyle Larson, who finished 8th, moves up to P4 in the rankings. It was another very busy weekend for Larson who qualified his NASCAR Cup car on Saturday, flew to Iowa and won the Knoxville Nationals World of Outlaws sprint car race in Iowa on Saturday night, then winged he way back to Indy for the Sunday morning unveiling of his McLaren IndyCar for the 2024 Indy 500.

Falling in the rankings was Joey Logano and Kyle Busch (both fell 2 spots), as did Ty Gibbs who fell below the NASCAR Playoffs cut line, now at P18. With 2 races remaining in the regular season (Watkins Glen and Daytona) points and/or wins will make or break the hopes of Wallace, Suarez, Gibbs, Bowman, Elliott, and Allmendinger who are.

Winner Quotes:
“My family comes to the races we think we can win,” said McDowell, who shared hugs with his wife and children after climbing from his Ford. “We thought we could win this one.”

“I was really trying to pace myself,” McDowell said. “I figured there would be a late-race caution, and I didn’t want to burn my stuff up. I was just trying to maintain that gap.

“Then when I got into traffic, (Elliott) started closing, I had to push it, but I just can’t believe it.”

Michael McDowell celebrates in Victory Lane following his NASCAR Cup Series win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. (Image Credit: Alejandro Alvarez — NASCAR Studios)

“Winning the Daytona 500 was one of the coolest moments you could ever have,” said McDowell, one of the most accomplished road racers in the Cup Series. “But going to Victory Lane without your family, that was tough.

“So we cherry-pick. We come to the races we think we can win… Just so proud… You know, I thought we could point our way in (to the playoffs), but after the car that we had yesterday in practice, I thought, man, we’ve got a good shot at winning if we could just get track position and maintain it.”

Michael McDowell kisses the bricks following his NASCAR Cup Series win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. (Image Credit: Sean Gardner — Getty Images)

Up Next:
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL (Sunday August 20, 3pm ET)
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (Saturday August 26, 7pm ET)

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association