MCLAUGHLIN BREAKS EVEN IN LAS VEGAS, FINISHES 19TH LAS VEGAS -- In a town where success is measured by how much you won or lost, breaking even isn't all that bad sometimes. For Goulds Pumps driver, Mike McLaughlin, a 19th place finish wasn't...
MCLAUGHLIN BREAKS EVEN IN LAS VEGAS, FINISHES 19TH
LAS VEGAS -- In a town where success is measured by how much you won or lost, breaking even isn't all that bad sometimes. For Goulds Pumps driver, Mike McLaughlin, a 19th place finish wasn't what he had in mind, but unlike some of his competitors it sure beats losing. The finish places McLaughlin in 5th in the NASCAR Busch Grand National points race, 3rd among full-time Busch Series competitors.
For many fans and competitors, The Sam's Town 300 felt like a Winston Cup race at times with 19 Winston Cup drivers stepping down to the Busch Series to compete. McLaughlin's 19th place finish was the 7th highest finish among Busch Series competitors.
The racing weekend began with practice and qualifying action on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday. Mark Martin claimed the pole position and Goulds Pumps driver Mike McLaughlin drove to the 19th starting spot. Following a happy hour session of practice under the lights, the team was now ready for action. Crew chief Jay Smith and McLaughlin gathered their thoughts Friday night and made the final adjustments to the #34 Chevrolet Monte Carlo on Saturday morning. While the team made those final adjustments, McLaughlin made his way to visit with over 450 Goulds Pumps guests in the hospitality village.
Following a quick lunch. McLaughlin made his way to the car for the start of the race. As the Sam's Town 300 began, McLaughlin managed to move up a couple of spots, while avoiding three early accidents. Following the accidents, the drivers settled in for a long green flag race to the checkered flag. Depending on what line McLaughlin chose to run over the last half of the race, his car was either tight or loose, slowing his speeds down. The team made adjustments to the car during their green flag pit stops and McLaughlin continued on. As the race came to an end, McLaughlin waged a spirited 20-lap battle with Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader for the 18th position. On the final lap, Schrader found himself on top and McLaughlin settled for 19th.
"It was just one of those days, where you would like your car to handle better, but you realize the finish could have been worse," McLaughlin said. "We picked up some points on some of our competitors and lost a few to others. This Las Vegas track hasn't been our best track in the past, I am ready to move on to Atlanta next week and put the Goulds Pumps Chevrolet in Victory Lane."
Mark Martin led a Winston Cup sweep of the top-five positions to pick up the win. Joe Nemechek and Jeff Burton rounded out the top-three. The Busch Grand National Series will head to Atlanta for The Yellow Freight 300 this Saturday at 1:00pm EST. Performance Racing Network and ESPN will provide live coverage of the 4th race of the 1999 season.