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DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 14: Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) | Getty Images
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 14: Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Michael McDowell wants to return to Front Row Motorsports

For the first time in his 14 years of racing in NASCAR’s top-tier Cup Series, Michael McDowell has legitimate leverage for an upcoming contract negotiation. But don’t count on him using any of it.

“I’m planning to be at Front Row as long as they’ll have me,” McDowell said. “I enjoy what we’re doing. It’s fun to be a part of something and build something. I have a tremendous amount of freedom at Front Row to be a part of those things … a lot more of the inner working.”

The autonomy he enjoys is on par with what elite drivers for bigger organizations receive; for another program, he’d have few opportunities for such input.

Additionally, McDowell insists he won’t demand an increase in base pay, despite his open-market value, strictly an on-track worth, improving by 121 percent over his preseason valuation.

“I’m really happy being at Front Row,” McDowell said. “I don’t have any desires to do anything else.”

See more at Forbes.