Michael McDowell will drive the No. 98 Ford for Phil Parsons Racing for the entire 2012 Sprint Cup season, it was announced by Parsons and new partner Mike Curb.
Parsons, the former NASCAR driver and current television commentator on SPEED, merged the assets of his PPR team with Whitney Motorsports during the off-season in an effort to bolster his 2012 Cup effort. Curb, owner of Curb Records, has a long and successful history of team ownership in the NASCAR and open-wheel ranks, among others."Combining our efforts with Whitney Motorsports with the support of Mike Curb and having Michael behind the wheel of the No. 98 Ford means we'll open the season at Daytona better prepared than ever before," Parsons said. "We feel the timing couldn't be better for us to build this program into a proper Sprint Cup Series effort."
The No. 98 Ford will run with Roush Yates Racing power under its hood. The team will be headed by veteran crew chief Gene Nead, who has worked with McDowell in previous Cup and Nationwide series efforts at PPR and Michael Waltrip Racing.
"I'm particularly excited about this program for a number of reasons," Curb said. "The players who have come together to form this latest effort show that it's built to succeed, and I'm glad to be a part of it. Michael is a tremendous driving talent and is a wonderful young man. He has a special interest in our Christian music operation at Curb Records and building partnership opportunities involving that segment of our business. It's truly exciting."
McDowell and Curb already have tasted success on the race track this season as the 28-year-old driver scored a podium finish in last month's 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona, co-driving a Curb Records-sponsored Michael Shank Racing Ford. A second Curb Records-sponsored Michael Shank Racing Ford won the race.
"This is the opportunity I've been looking for – to work with various Christian-music outlets, Mike Curb and Curb Records, and our other partnerships that are taking shape," said McDowell, who has 84 Cup starts to his credit. "This opportunity will allow me to expand my brand and put me in a position to work with the types of companies I've been wanting to work with for a long time. On the racetrack, I'm excited about the chance to have my best NASCAR season ever."