Daytona 500 Champ Michael McDowell Lives In The Match Lane

February 18, 2022


Michael McDowell is the person to beat this Sunday on the Nice American Race. In 2021, the NASCAR Cup Series veteran turned the 63rd winner of the Daytona 500, driving his No. 34 Ford Mustang for Entrance Row Sports activities.

Along with exhilarating competitors behind the wheel, the 37-year-old understands that failing to arrange is like getting ready to fail, so forward of this 12 months’s Daytona 500, M&F sat down with the champion and Celsius athlete to learn how he trains for all times within the quick lane.

Daytona have to be fairly the adrenaline rush?

It’s insane. I’ve by no means been a fighter pilot, however that’s what I evaluate it to. You keep laser centered on the duty, and also you don’t actually have an entire lot of additional capability to be eager about anything, you’re simply fixated on what it’s important to do within the automotive — actually to remain alive, proper? I imply, it’s simply loopy. You’re three, 4 [cars deep], 200 miles an hour, inches aside, and also you’re making decisive and calculated strikes with solely a matter of inches away from catastrophe. You simply stay so intense and so focused that even when the race is over, it’s arduous to unwind since you’re simply in that mode of combat or flight for therefore lengthy.

How do you are feeling about returning to Daytona, to defend your championship?

This 12 months it’s been superior. I feel it’s enjoyable, , to go there this weekend and be the reigning champion. Coming again to a spot that was actually particular for us final 12 months. There’ll be numerous buzz, numerous hype, and numerous enjoyable. So, I’m simply taking it in and having fun with it. I’m additionally realizing that we now have the chance to do it once more and to go back-to-back. We’re at all times grateful for the outcomes and the accomplishments that we’ve achieved, however we’re at all times in search of the following one, too. So, no higher technique to kick off the season than to try to go back-to-back at Daytona.

Has racing at all times been your sport of alternative?

I raced BMX bikes rising up, so yeah, I’ve at all times been racing one thing.

You spend time in areas with sizzling climates. Does that make it easier to to arrange for driving 500 miles on a moist course?

Residing in North Carolina now, and being from Phoenix, are like utterly completely different heats. In Phoenix, you have got that dry-hot, 125 levels — not that a lot enjoyable. So, they’re each sizzling. I discover the East Coast is nearer to what it’s like contained in the racecar. The warmth contained in the automotive has that “arduous to breathe” type of warmth to it, whereas within the desert, it’s identical to, you may’t contact something.

It feels like there’s no substitute for acclimatizing to the precise warmth contained in the automotive?

You’ll be able to practice within the offseason all you need, however nothing trains you for the race car just like the race automotive itself. Simply the [race] period and all these issues. These first 5 races [in the winter months] are fairly gentle temperatures, so it’s straightforward to get again within the swing after which then as you get into the late spring and early summer season, all of it begins to ramp up. It will get fairly troublesome, so the warmer it’s, the more durable it’s for positive. Truthfully, not turning on air-con once I get in your automotive is one thing that I do. I simply actually sweat it out to get used to the warmth.

Do you practice bodily within the warmth, too?

I try to get out in the course of the hottest a part of the day. So, most individuals get up and do their exercise within the morning, or they do it within the night after work. I attempt to do mine at midday, , within the summertime, within the hottest a part of the day. Whether or not that’s cardio or biking or operating … simply making an attempt to be in, , high-intensity situations whereas it’s sizzling. The sauna, steam room, all these issues assist.

How do you gasoline your physique?

These lengthy period races are over 4 hours. So, you’ve bought to gasoline your physique nicely, and it’s important to perceive your physique to know what your physique must maintain power for that lengthy.

For me, it’s simply discovering natural meals, nothing processed. It’s been a little bit of a trial-and-error course of … as a result of , you don’t wish to go into the race so loaded up that you feel slow and lethargic. However, you additionally must have sufficient meals … so at the same time as loopy as sounds, simply having the best physique fats proportion and never being too lean for me is a large factor. Once I get too lean, I’m good for about two and a half hours however the final hour and a half, I’m actually struggling.

Nascar driver Michael McDowell drinking a can of soda wearing his race car uniform and walking on the track
Entrance row motor sports activities

How usually do you’re employed out?

You understand, I wakened this morning and took the youngsters to high school, had a Celsius on the way in which to the fitness center. My spouse and I did a type of cross coaching session, bootcamp fashion, for velocity, agility… type of fast-paced stuff. At present was squats, leap squats, deadlifts, hamstring curls, leaping lunges, reverse lunges. Two or three days out of the week it is going to be one thing like that. After which for the opposite two or three days, I’ll both cycle or run exterior.

Do you discover that coaching along with your spouse lets you keep accountable?

Jami is beast mode. She’s extremely aggressive, and tremendous Match. So, she retains me motivated, for positive.

Racing requires such quick cognitive abilities. Do you do any sort of reactive drills?

We do completely different coaching all year long and within the offseason. We’ll do hand-eye coordination coaching and simulation. If you’ve so long as I’ve carried out it, and also you’ve seen numerous completely different conditions, you simply depend on intestine, and it’s normally the most effective choose of what you want to do. However staying sharp and staying centered is a large a part of our sport, for positive. If you keep sharp, you keep centered and also you keep wholesome. You’re ready to attract again on these experiences in half the response time, and have that hand-eye coordination and be capable to course of issues at a faster fee. So, I feel it’s a mixture of coaching and expertise.

The type of coaching that you just do is placing your self in these sorts of depressing conditions, whether or not it’s coaching whereas fasting, , doubling exercise durations and issues like that, wherein you simply actually really feel such as you don’t have any extra power to go, and also you’ve simply bought to have the ability to discover that additional gear.

Psychological toughness have to be non-negotiable when you’re within the midst of an extended race?

I’m astonished with simply how arduous you may push by issues. So, I really feel like for me, so long as I don’t ever get to the purpose the place I am going off [mentally], and it’s sizzling, and even eager about being drained; I’m high-quality, I can push by it. However as quickly as you begin eager about these issues, you’ve already misplaced the battle. So, it’s simply conserving in the best mind set and conserving your mind fixated on the best stuff.

Nascar driver Michael McDowell drinking a can of Celsius next to his race car
Entrance row motor sports activities

Do you are taking Celsius with you into the automotive?

I drink it earlier than the race, and that simply actually helps with getting the readability and focus, and power, that you want to get going and to be sharper… to be able to go. I exploit it the identical approach as I might as a pre-workout.

So how do you settle down in your downtime?

For me, it’s looking. It’s the other of what I do for a residing. Like, you’ve bought to be nonetheless and quiet and you’ll’t transfer quick. I feel that’s why I do it a lot, as a result of it’s actually stress-free.

Observe Michael McDowell Here!





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