McLAUGHLIN HEADS HOME FOR RACING ACTION WATKINS GLEN, NY - There's no place like home! Those words ring true for the driver of the Goulds Pumps Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Mike McLaughlin this week. The likeable driver from Waterloo, NY will head...
McLAUGHLIN HEADS HOME FOR RACING ACTION
WATKINS GLEN, NY - There's no place like home! Those words ring true for the driver of the Goulds Pumps Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Mike McLaughlin this week. The likeable driver from Waterloo, NY will head to his "home" track of Watkins Glen International looking for his first victory of the year and second career win at the famed road course. After a half-season of disappointments and bad racing luck, McLaughlin couldn't be more excited about going home to New York for the Lysol 200 on Sunday.
"Words can't even describe the feeling I get inside when the Busch Series heads to Watkins Glen," McLaughlin said. "I get to see so my parents and all my old friends the entire week. It's great to get to stay at home for a few days with my parents and go visit all the guys that helped me in my racing career."
McLaughlin also has other incentives for performing well at Watkins Glen. His primary sponsor, Goulds Pumps is located just up the road in Seneca Falls, NY. In addition to Goulds Pumps, the major associate sponsor, Little Trees is located in Watertown, NY. McLaughlin knows Victory Lane could be a wild place if he is able to win his second race at the track.
"I remember when we won here in 1997, Victory Lane was wild," McLaughlin said. "Goulds Pumps was just an associate sponsor then, but it seemed like the whole company made it to Victory Lane to celebrate with us. Now with Little Trees too and all my friends and family, I don't know if Victory Lane will hold us all. We might just have to move it down into turn one and have a great big party if we win!"
In addition to his family and his sponsors, there is one more big reason for McLaughlin's excitement about Watkins Glen. His team owners, Frank Cicci and Scott Welliver are from nearby Elmira, NY.
"Frank and Scott are overdue for a win this season and I can't think of a better place to win than Watkins Glen for those guys," McLaughlin said. "Those guys will have a lot of their friends at the track and I know a win would be an awesome feeling for them."
With all things considered, McLaughlin knows this will be an important weekend of racing. The team participated in a tire test for Goodyear a few weeks ago and had a chance to shake down the road course car. McLaughlin even had a chance to throw on rain tires and take a few laps during a rain shower.
The rain tires were pretty neat, our lap times were about 6 seconds slower, but the car handled well," McLaughlin said. "I don't know if I want to race in a very hard rain, but a fine mist would be a neat experience for all of us."
McLaughlin and the rest of the NASCAR Busch Series drivers will take to the track on Friday for practice leading up to the Lysol 200 on Sunday at 12 noon. A word of advice for the Watkins Glen security staff, look out if the #34 car pulls into Victory Lane, it's going to be hard to keep everyone away from the celebration.
McLaughlin and wife Katie have been in New York since June 16th visiting family and friends. The couple rode Mike's Harley Davidson up from Charlotte. Mike has been spending his days working on the restoration of his first ever racecar. Just last year, Mike was able to locate the car in a field, all covered with weeds and brush. With the help of his old friends, Mike is nearly finished with the complete restoration of the car.
Ø Mike will visit Goulds Pumps plants in upstate NY on Tuesday with wife Katie and the Goulds Pumps transporter and show car. Mike will also participate in the weekly NASCAR teleconference at 2:30pm.
Ø On Wednesday Mike will be the guest of honor at the annual Waterloo, NY Block party. The Goulds Pumps transporter and showcar will appear in downtown Waterloo with Mike.
Ø Thursday afternoon Mike will appear at the Elmira NASCAR Night in the Heights celebration.
Ø King of Road Racing? Mike McLaughlin has the best record among Busch regulars on the Watkins Glen road course. The last 4 years have seen Mike finish 4th, 3rd, 1st, and 2nd.