WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 22, 1998) Mike McLaughlin gets to play "Maverick" in an F-16 fighter jet this week. With the busy week he has ahead of him, he may need the F-16 to save travel time. McLaughlin is the defending champion...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 22, 1998)
Mike McLaughlin gets to play "Maverick" in an F-16 fighter jet this week. With the busy week he has ahead of him, he may need the F-16 to save travel time.
McLaughlin is the defending champion of this week's Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International. The NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division is ready for takeoff again Sunday after a one-week vacation following the Lycos.com 250 at Pikes Peak International Raceway June 14.
In the week leading up to the race, McLaughlin is set to visit his hometown, Waterloo, N.Y., as well as the home of his sponsor (Goulds Pumps), Seneca Falls, N.Y. He will also climb into an F-16 for the ride of his life and appear at a couple of autograph sessions for the race fans of the area.
The week will begin on Monday with McLaughlin joining one of his Team 34 teammates, Mike Cope, driver of the Slim Jim Chevrolet, at flight training school in Syracuse, N.Y., home of the New York National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing.
On Tuesday, McLaughlin will visit two of the Goulds Pumps Plants in Seneca Falls and Auburn, N.Y. McLaughlin will visit with employees, signing autographs and posing for pictures. The Goulds Pumps No. 34 Chevrolet and the race team transporter will be on display at both facilities. Many of these employees are planning on attending the Lysol 200 on Sunday to cheer for McLaughlin and the team.
"I can't wait to see all my friends at the Goulds Pumps plants on Tuesday," McLaughlin said. "I have said it many times before, but, it is so neat to have a sponsor from just down the road where I grew up, it means a lot to me."
Wednesday will mark the official homecoming for McLaughlin when he appears at the annual Waterloo Block Party. McLaughlin will visit with old friends and his Goulds Pumps Racing Transporter and show car will be displayed.
"The Waterloo Block Party is always a special event for me," McLaughlin said. "I always run into people that I haven't seen in years and they are always quick to share some of the stories of the good old days."
On Thursday, McLaughlin will head back to Hancock Field for his flight with the 174th Fighter Wing. Later that evening McLaughlin will appear with many other NASCAR drivers at The NASCAR Night in the Heights in Elmira, N.Y. The drivers will sign autographs and visit with fans from 6 - 8 p.m. A fireworks display will be held following the event.
"The NASCAR Night in the Heights is one of the best events I attend each year, lots of the drivers come up early for the Watkins Glen race just for this event," McLaughlin said.
Come Friday, McLaughlin and the Goulds Pumps Racing Team will turn their attention to the track and repeating their victory from last season. McLaughlin has been hit the last two races with some bad racing luck and hopes to turn things around on his home track.
"We have had top-five race cars the last two races and had some bad things happen, hopefully we can put the Goulds Pumps Chevrolet up front at the end," McLaughlin said.
Source: NASCAR Online