BUSCH: Darlington St. Patrick's Day - memories for McLaughlin

DARLINGTON, SC - (March 12, 2001) -- St. Patrick's Day brings back many memories for the driver of the ...

DARLINGTON, SC - (March 12, 2001) -- St. Patrick's Day brings back many memories for the driver of the # 20 Joe Gibbs Racing unsponsored Pontiac, Mike McLaughlin. Growing up as the son of Tom McLaughlin in Waterloo, NY made the holiday extra special. Tom passed away last year on September 1st but McLaughlin will be aiming to honor his memory in Saturday's SunCom 200 at Darlington Raceway.

"St. Patrick's Day was always a big holiday in our family," McLaughlin said. "My Dad looked forward all year to celebrating with his friends and family. It was his favorite day of the year, all his buddies would be dressed in green, and Dad would lead all in singing Irish songs."

When McLaughlin noticed that the 2001 NASCAR Busch Grand National schedule included a race on St. Patricks's Day, the date was circled on his calendar. McLaughlin knew that a win on St. Patrick's Day would be a great way to pay respect to the man that helped get his racing career started in Upstate New York.

"Saturday will be a special day, knowing how my Dad celebrated the holiday and his Irish Heritage, I can't think of a better race to win than the Darlington race Saturday," McLaughlin said. "With the hard work my guys are doing right now, I know I have a chance to raise a toast for my Father on Saturday."

McLaughlin currently stands in 7th place in the Busch Grand National point standings after finishes of 6th, 14th, 9th and 11th to start the season. The pairing of the veteran driver and Joe Gibbs Racing has proven to be an early season success. The team continues to search for a primary sponsor for the car.

"I hope we can attract a sponsor soon, the team is running great and I believe we have an exciting package to offer a sponsor," McLaughlin said. "This team is ready to win and hopefully we can visit victory lane on St. Patrick's Day in Darlington."


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Drivers Mike McLaughlin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing