NEW REFRIGERATOR OR A RACE CAR? MILWAUKEE--- A trip back home to Waterloo, NY always brings back memories for Goulds Pumps driver Mike McLaughlin. With his recent visit back home prior to the Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen one of the more touching...
NEW REFRIGERATOR OR A RACE CAR?
MILWAUKEE--- A trip back home to Waterloo, NY always brings back memories for Goulds Pumps driver Mike McLaughlin. With his recent visit back home prior to the Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen one of the more touching stories was shared among Mike and his friends.
When Mike was just beginning his racing career, there wasn't a lot of excess money lying around the McLaughlin home. Mike and his friends had worked tons of hours on his racecar and stretched their nickels as far as they would go. At the time, McLaughlin knew a wrecked racecar could lead to the end of his racing career.
One Friday night at Rolling Hills Speedway, McLaughlin came into turn three with a car on his outside and a car on his inside. McLaughlin figured one of the other guys would lift in turn four and the race would continue. McLaughlin was wrong, his car never made it back to the start finish line. The car was nearly destroyed and McLaughlin realized his young racing career was probably over.
Later that evening, as McLaughlin sat and looked at the mangled racecar back in his shop, he couldn't believe it was really all over with. Suddenly, his spirits began to change. A cousin, Danny Rosata, walked into the shop and offered to buy new shocks, an uncle came by with an offer to pay for tires. Within a matter of hours, McLaughlin nearly had enough money to rebuild the car.
At the time, McLaughlin's mother was saving for a new refrigerator. She had been saving up for quite a while, but like many mothers, she decided to put her kid's dreams in front of her own and give Mike all the money she had been saved. Suddenly enough money had been raised and McLaughlin started work on rebuilding the car. Mike and his friends worked through the night and all of Saturday and into Saturday night. After 36 straight hours of work, the car was ready to race. On Sunday night the team rolled into Weedsport Speedway with a completely rebuilt car. Although Mike doesn't quite remember where he finished that night, he recalls it being one of his best finishes at the time.
The generosity of Mike's mom put a stalled racing career back on track.
"That was one incredible weekend, I will never forget the roller coaster of emotions we went on," McLaughlin said. "The Sunday night race was a real turning point for my career, from that point on we began to find success."
As Paul Harvey says, now you know the rest of the story.
And by the way, Mike's Mom did a little redecorating on the old refrigerator and it worked for many more years. Mike continued on, as you know, to become one of the top drivers on the NASCAR Busch Series almost 20 years after his career nearly ended.
McLaughlin and his Goulds Pumps Racing Team will take to the track this weekend in the Diehard 250 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Somewhere back in Waterloo, NY a new refrigerator will be keeping the beverages cool as Mike's parents sit down to watch their son take on a field of 42 other race cars.
McLaughlin's Mom, Katie, was recently recognized as one of six Mothers of the Year in the state of NY by the March of Dimes.
McLaughlin has recorded top-ten finishes in 4 of his 5 starts in Milwaukee. In 1996 he finished a close second to Buckshot Jones. McLaughlin also lists 3 top-ten qualifying efforts.
The Goulds Pumps Team will take a brand new racecar to Milwaukee this weekend.
A contest was recently held for Goulds Pumps employees to name the Goulds Pumps Pit Crew. The winning selection was "The Shoe Crew." A play off of Mike's famous nickname, "Magic Shoes."