Michael McDowell was overjoyed after winning his first NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday at the 63rd annual Daytona 500. Despite the excitement, he made sure to thank God for the victory.
“I just can’t believe it,” McDowell said after the race. “I’ve just got to thank God. So many years just grinding it out and hoping for an opportunity like this. I’m just so thankful – God is good.”
McDowell, 0-for-357 in his 13th season, narrowly dodged a fiery crash to take the lead during the final lap of the race, earning the win and a spot in the playoffs this fall, according to Sports Spectrum.
Following the race, he said experiencing the coveted win was just what he imagined it would be like.
“But whether I win this race or not, it’s not what defines you,” he said. “It’s unbelievable and I’m so thankful, but I’m thankful to have a happy, healthy family and a beautiful wife and a great family. Not everybody makes it to victory lane and for 14 years I didn’t, so just to be here now is just so amazing.”
McDowell, who has been outspoken about his Christian faith, once told CBN during an interview that being a race car driver is simply what he does – it’s not who he is.
“It’s my job, I love it and I pursue it with everything I have because I know that God’s provided it, but at the end of the day it’s just what I do; it’s not who I am. My identity is in Christ. So when people ask me, ‘who am I?’, I’m a follower of Christ, and that’s it!”
And the driver explained more about his faith during a 2019 interview with Sports Spectrum. McDowell said trusting God is most important and he’s committed to sharing the Good News with others.
“I’m passionate about people coming to know Christ,” McDowell said. “Part of that is just a realization that you’re either alive in Christ or you’re dead. There’s no in-between.”
McDowell is focused on trying to win NASCAR’s next scheduled race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona on Feb. 21.