This Week in Ford Racing October 12, 2004 NASCAR Busch Series Mike McLaughlin took over driving duties on the No. 25 Ford five races ago on a week-to-week basis, but his solid performance on the track has allowed him to continue the task as...
This Week in Ford Racing
October 12, 2004
NASCAR Busch Series
Mike McLaughlin took over driving duties on the No. 25 Ford five races ago on a week-to-week basis, but his solid performance on the track has allowed him to continue the task as the team's primary driver. With only one finish outside the top 12 in that span, including a second-place finish at Dover, McLaughlin has kept Team Rensi in the top 10 in the owner point standings, currently seventh-place and within striking distance of the top five. As the Busch Series returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend, McLaughlin, a former winner at the track, spoke about his current situation and his plans for the future.
MIKE MCLAUGHLIN -25-Team Marines Ford Taurus
ARE YOU VIEWING YOUR ROLE WITH THE NO. 25 TEAM AS A TRYOUT FOR NEXT SEASON?
"We haven't talked at all about next year. Our main focus has been doing the best we can each week. It started as a week-to-week opportunity and we're looking at finishing out the year. That's just a pretty cool opportunity in itself. It's been a good feeling to get behind the wheel of a car that's competitive and that's why I'm back "
WITH SILLY SEASON ALREADY STARTING IN THE BUSCH SERIES, WILL YOU LOOK AT OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEXT YEAR?
"In a competitive situation, yes. I enjoy it when I can go out and feel I've got a shot at getting the job done and the 25 has given me that opportunity, therefore, I'm having fun. That's what it's all about."
HAROLD HOLLY HAS BEEN CREDITED WITH A LOT OF THE SUCCESS AT TEAM RENSI, YET HE IS SLATED TO MOVE ON AT THE END OF THE YEAR. HOW IMPORTANT IS HE TO THE SUCCESS THAT TEAM?
"Harold definitely is a key there. As far as what will happen next year, I'm not really sure. I know he's definitely leaving, and as far as who goes with him and who doesn't, I don't know. I think he will always be there when needed, somebody to rely on. I know Harold and Sam and Ed Rensi and Gary Weisbaum are all good friends and I think that connection will always be there."
DO YOU FEEL THE ORGANIZATION HAS A STRONG ENOUGH FOUNDATION THAT HAROLD CAN BE REPLACED?
"I think so. I think there's a heck of a foundation there with the people and the people that Harold has worked with and what he's built there. If they can get somebody that thinks along his lines, it could make a good situation."
YOU ARE CURRENTLY 46TH IN THE DRIVER POINT STANDINGS, BUT YOUR TEAM IS SEVENTH IN OWNER POINTS. AS A DRIVER, DO YOU FOCUS ON THE OWNER POINT STANDINGS?
"I personally haven't even looked at the points, driver or owner. I just try to do the best I can for them, but I know they're looking for the owner points and that's something for the end of the year. I just try to best I can and the points will take care of themselves. That's the way I always looked at the points system. We'll head to Charlotte this week and I know Harold will have a good piece for us and we'll see if we can pull off another good finish."
YOU WON THE FALL RACE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN 1998, BUT THIS WILL BE THE FIRST BUSCH SERIES RACE THAT YOU WILL HAVE RUN THERE UNDER THE LIGHTS. HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE TO GET THE CAR SET UP FOR A NIGHTTIME EVENT?
"It's going to be a challenge, but I like Charlotte. I've had a fair amount of success there and I enjoy racing there, so I'm definitely looking forward to Charlotte. Harold was there last year when it was a night race, and I trust him to put a good setup under the car. I just have enough faith in Harold to trust him. I tell him what I'm feeling and I let him make the changes. I haven't been in a car on a weekly basis for a while, and some of the springs they're running I would never have even thought about putting in there. I don't even want to know. I just tell what it's feeling like and he fixes it."