BUSCH: Consistency Pays off for McLaughlin

Steady effort gives McLaughlin points lead MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (July 13, 1998) Consistency remained the name of the game for Mike McLaughlin and the Goulds Pumps racing team Saturday night in the Myrtle Beach 250 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. In...

Steady effort gives McLaughlin points lead

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (July 13, 1998) Consistency remained the name of the game for Mike McLaughlin and the Goulds Pumps racing team Saturday night in the Myrtle Beach 250 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. In another chapter in a season built on consistency, hard work and commitment, the team worked through the 90-degree afternoon heat preparing for the evening's race on the tricky .538-mile oval track, located just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. The efforts paid off early, as McLaughlin qualified in the 14th position. And more importantly, they paid off late, with a top-five finish that vaulted the man known as "Magic Shoes" back into the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division points lead. McLaughlin came home third in the race, moving him three points up on Matt Kenseth. McLaughlin, who has six top-10 starts on the year, was a little disappointed in the starting spot, but knew in the back of his mind that the car had a lot more speed in it. Following a three-hour break between Bud Pole Qualifying and the race, McLaughlin climbed into the No. 34 Chevrolet and focused on the battle ahead. With two mandatory pit stops set by NASCAR at laps 80 and 160, pit strategy would not be an issue, and every position would have to be battled for on the race track. Throughout the first 80 laps, McLaughlin moved up through the field, carefully passing slower competitors and protecting his car for the finish. The team made a few chassis adjustments during the pit stop on lap 80 and McLaughlin returned to the track even faster. The next 80 laps went much the same as the first, McLaughin would pick and choose his spots to pass, all the while being protective of his car and staying out of trouble. The final pit stop on lap 160 saw the Goulds Pumps pit crew make a few more adjustments for the final 90 laps of racing. McLaughlin again moved forward, working his way into the third position. He gave it his all over the last few laps, but came up short to winner Randy Lajoie and Team 34 teammate David Green. Combined with Matt Kenseth's eighth-place finish, McLaughlin reclaimed the series points lead, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. just 12 points off the pace. LaJoie, the two-time defending series champion, remains in fourth, 290 points out of the lead. "We gave it a strong run here tonight. I didn't quite have the car capable of winning, but we are real pleased with third place tonight," McLaughlin said. "The crew made some great adjustments on the two pit stops and the car responded. I'm worn out right now, it was hot out there tonight." The NASCAR Busch Series will head to California Speedway for racing action on Sunday. ESPN and MRN will provide live coverage at 4 p.m. EDT. McLaughlin finished ninth in the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race at the track last season. Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Randy Lajoie , Mike McLaughlin , David Green