NEW HAMPSHIRE RACE ENDS EARLY FOR McLAUGHLIN LOUDON, NH - "New Hampshire International Speedway." Just the mention of those four words brings excitement to the eyes of Goulds Pumps driver Mike McLaughlin. This 1-mile flat racetrack has been...
NEW HAMPSHIRE RACE ENDS EARLY FOR McLAUGHLIN
LOUDON, NH - "New Hampshire International Speedway." Just the mention of those four words brings excitement to the eyes of Goulds Pumps driver Mike McLaughlin. This 1-mile flat racetrack has been the sight of some of McLaughlin's best racing memories. After three straight weeks of bad racing luck, McLaughlin was looking to bank on his past success here and record a top finish. Unfortunately for McLaughlin, it wasn't to be, his day ended on lap 97 with a wrecked car turn three.
After struggling in qualifying, McLaughlin was forced to take a provisional starting spot, 37th. Instead of feeling down, the team went to work and made some changes to the chassis of the #34 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet. Those changes were obvious as McLaughlin recorded the fastest speed in the happy hour practice session. McLaughlin left the track Friday night with excitement back in his eyes. McLaughlin knew his work was cut out for him, but he also knew he had a car capable of passing 36 cars and winning the race.
As race morning arrived, McLaughlin began the day with a visit to the Goulds Pumps hospitality tent. After meeting with nearly 500 Goulds Pumps customers, it was time to attend the driver's meeting and make final preparations for the race. McLaughlin made his way to his Chevrolet and took one look at the 36 cars ahead of his.
"It's not going to be easy, but I'm ready to get to work," McLaughlin commented.
At the drop of the green flag, McLaughlin didn't waste any time, passing 3 cars in the first five laps. The passing continued as McLaughlin worked his way into the top-twenty by lap 75 of 200. Without the benefit of a caution period, the racing continued with leader Jeff Green pacing the field. Finally the caution everyone was looking for occurred on lap 97. Unfortunately McLaughlin was the reason for the caution as he got together with Geoffrey Bodine in turn three. The damage to both cars was heavy and McLaughlin's day was over. McLaughlin was credited with a 40th place finish.
"We had one of the best cars on the track today, but you can't win the race if you don't finish it first," McLaughlin said. "I made a mistake and our day is over. I thought for a while this was going to be the race we returned to Victory Lane with, but it wasn't to be. Let's go to Richmond and see what we can do."
Elton Sawyer edged Jeff Green to win his second career Busch Grand National race. Jeff Purvis, Randy Lajoie and Casey Atwood rounded out the top-five positions. McLaughlin now stands in 7th place in the point standings, tied with Jeff Purvis.
The teams now head to Richmond International Raceway for the Hardee's 250 on Friday Night at 7:30pm. ESPN2 and MRN will provide live coverage of the event.
NOTE Mike McLaughlin's mom, Katie made the trip down from Waterloo, NY to watch her son race on Mother's Day weekend.