McLAUGHLIN AND TEAM DRIVE TO SIXTH PLACE AT THE ROCK ROCKINGHAM, NC ---- Mike McLaughlin and his Goulds Pumps Racing Team continued their drive towards a championship this weekend at the North Carolina Speedway. Following a disappointing last...
McLAUGHLIN AND TEAM DRIVE TO SIXTH PLACE AT THE ROCK
ROCKINGHAM, NC ---- Mike McLaughlin and his Goulds Pumps Racing Team continued their drive towards a championship this weekend at the North Carolina Speedway. Following a disappointing last lap accident in the season opener last week, McLaughlin and the team were determined to have a solid race this weekend in the Alltel 200.
Following a day of rain showers that wiped out qualifying on Friday, McLaughlin was awarded the 3rd place starting spot based on the Goulds Pumps Team's finish in the 1998 team owner point standings. The great starting spot allowed McLaughlin the advantage of starting his car up front and not having to race past slower cars. Saturday arrived with a bright sunny day and cool temperatures, great racing conditions. The Goulds Pumps Team made their final preparations for the Alltel 200 and rolled their car onto the starting grid.
As the race began, McLaughlin held his own and quickly moved into second position behind Matt Kenseth. Following two early cautions, the fields settled in for some great green-flag racing. Caution-free racing continued, forcing green-flag pit stops. New crew chief, Jay Smith made the call for McLaughlin to pit on lap 84 of 197. The team performed a solid pit stop, sending McLaughlin back into the race. McLaughlin left a little something behind in the pits, as a fire occurred with some excess fuel, burning across the pavement in the Goulds Pumps Team pits. The fire was quickly extinguished and attention was turned back onto the track.
After 33 more laps of green-flag racing, another caution came out for a multi car accident. McLaughlin and the rest of the field came to pit road for new tires and fuel. The Goulds Pumps Team continued their string of solid pit stops, returning McLaughlin to the field in 4th place. McLaughlin raced hard for the second part of the race, before losing a little horsepower over the last 10 laps and dropping from 4th to 6th position at the finish. The 6th place finish moved McLaughlin to 4th in the Busch Grand National Point Standings.
"The team did a great job this weekend, with limited time for practice due to the rain," McLaughlin said. "We lost a little power over the last few laps and couldn't hold onto fourth, but overall it was a great afternoon for our team."
Winston Cup Mark Martin stepped down in class to claim the victory, with his teammate Jeff Burton claiming second and Matt Kenseth third. The Bush Series will take this week off before heading to Las Vegas Speedway for racing action on March 6th. ESPN2 and MRN will provide live coverage of the event.
BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL POINTS 1 Randy Lajoie 345 2 Matt Kenseth 335 3 Jeff Burton 318 4 Mike McLaughlin 268 5 Casey Atwood 267