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Michael McDowell cleared to race after hospital visit Friday for kidney stone

CONCORD, N.C. - Michael McDowell was cleared from a local hospital and is at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Friday afternoon’s Cup qualifying session after successfully passing a kidney stone.

After experiencing abdominal pain, McDowell went to the infield care center at the track before he was transported to a local hospital Friday morning.

“I woke up this morning, had a little bit of a side, back ache,” McDowell told NBC Sports. “Nothing too big. As the morning went on just started having more and more pain. I was driving my kids to school and broke out into sweats and I’m like ‘Man, what’s going on?’ The pain just kind of steadily got worse and worse and started to move around.

“Wasn’t sure what was going on. I was heading to the track anyways. The garage opened and got in. It got to a point where I was just in bad shape so went to the infield care center. Now, going through the process I had some kidney stones and I was fortunate to pass one. But leading up to it you feel like you’re dying. It was a rough morning to say the least. Obviously, to get back in the race car, couldn’t take anything for pain and all the things that come with it, just throwing up and nauseous and all the things. This morning it felt like I was dying, this afternoon I feel really good and ready to go qualify.”

McDowell, who qualified 22nd, said that he doesn’t expect to have any more kidney stones this weekend.

“I had a scan and ultrasound done and things like that and they didn’t see anything else,” he said. “I should be fine, but you just never know. More than anything I know now. I know the pain and symptoms and feelings are like and now I know I’m not going to die.”

Austin Cindric drove the car for McDowell in Cup practice. Cindric was 24th on the speed chart. He ran 15 laps.

This is the second time this year Cindric has been a relief driver in the Cup Series. At Atlanta, Cindric stepped into Brad Keselowski’s car in a practice session when Keselowski was experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Austin Cindric next to 34 pic

Austin Cindric stands next to the No. 34 car for Front Row Motorsports. He’ll drive in place of Michael McDowell, who was hospitalized Friday after suffering abdominal pain. Photo: Daniel McFadin