Jerome, Idaho (January 5, 2003) The anticipation of the upcoming season has race teams feverishly working on new cars and paint schemes. There are sponsorship proposal to review and finalize, and there are schedules to plan. This story is played out all across the country at all levels of motorsports. It is no different for Eddy McKean, the 2002 Featherlite Southwest Series champion, and former two-time NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge regional champion.
McKean will have had less than six weeks to bask in the glow of his first NASCAR Touring championship before the green flag waves on the 2003 racing season at Phoenix Int'l Raceway the first weekend of February. That suits McKean just fine. He has had a busy "off-season" making plans that he hopes will lead to continued advancement through NASCAR's ladder system.
McKean will return to defend his 2002 Featherlite Southwest Series championship and looks to continue where he left off. He has his sights set squarely on a win in the season opener at Phoenix Int'l Raceway, a track where he has two runner-up finishes in the last four races at the Desert Jewell. "I really want to win at Phoenix," McKean said. "It is an important track with a lot of history. To win there you have to be the best."
"Anything is possible in this sport," McKean said. "With the desire, skill, and resources you can compete at any level." With that in mind, McKean plans to test the waters of the NASCAR Busch Series this season. During the past month he purchased Jeff Burton's Busch car and will rent engines from Roush Racing in an attempt to step up. McKean is also looking for new marketing partners that share his vision and who are looking for a vehicle into motorsports. "We have a lot to offer a company," McKean said. "We have won races and championships, we have a successful team, and a proven track record."
"We plan on running the Busch races at Vegas and Phoenix this year," McKean stated. "Depending on how we do we may run Charlotte and Atlanta. There are only so many opportunities in your life and right now it is my time to race. Let's see what we can do."
To bolster his team, McKean has made several changes during the off-season. The first was to move his operation back to Idaho from Bakersfield, Calif. in an effort to be more hands on. He has also landed the services of veteran NASCAR Winston West Series mechanic Robert Dixon who has worked for Bill MacAnally the past several seasons. Dixon will assume Crew Chief responsibilities for McKean Racing.
"Robert brings a lot of "big car" experience," McKean said. "He worked with us last year when we ran a MacAnally car in two Winston West shows. His experience will compliment the team and will greatly aid our Tour program."
McKean still has a lot to prove in the Featherlite Southwest Series and plans to make that his priority. "No one really had a great year last season," McKean stated. "The measure of this series is winning and running in the top-five every race. Winning is really the goal this year."
In the history of the Featherlite Southwest Series, only Ron Hornaday Jr. has been able to when back-to-back titles (92 & 93) and only Hornaday and Steve Portenga have won multiple championships with two apiece. The odds makers may favor Kanke, Raudman, or Lamar in 2003, but the champion driver from Jerome, Idaho will have something to say about that.