Eddie MacDonald Sets Lofty Goals For Busch North Series Season Starting On Home Turf at Lee Usa Speedway, April 25 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 24, 2004) -- In the contemporary sports world, where celebrity status is conferred at a tender...
Eddie MacDonald Sets Lofty Goals For Busch North Series Season Starting On Home Turf at Lee Usa Speedway, April 25
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 24, 2004) -- In the contemporary sports world, where celebrity status is conferred at a tender age and endorsement contracts are sometimes signed before the uniform gets dirty, it's rare to find a competitor who arrives on the scene unheralded and just keeps getting better until stardom is earned by performance.
Although he won't reach his 24th birthday until midsummer, NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series driver Eddie MacDonald is such a success story. From a modestly-successful rookie season in 2001 he advanced to become an upset race winner in 2002 and a regular contender in 2003, finishing eighth in the final Busch North Series standings. For 2004, the soft-spoken driver from Rowley, Mass. has acquired additional backing for the team he has carefully assembled over the past three years, and has set his sights on championship contention.
MacDonald will begin his quest on Sunday, April 25, on home ground at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. It will kick off the 18th season of Busch North Series competition and mark the ninth straight year the season has opened at Lee USA, which is operated by Eddie's parents, Red and Judy MacDonald.
A key factor in MacDonald's career development came when he teamed with crew chief Chris Raymond for the 2003 season. Raymond had previously turned the wrenches for the now-retired Bryan Wall. For 2004, the team has a new member and a new identity. "Chris Raymond is the car owner, and Greg Horrocks, who was a lottery winner a year or two ago, is going to be backing us. So it's HRM Motorsports, for Horrocks, Raymond, and MacDonald," Eddie explained, noting the team will continue to operate out of Raymond's shop in Winchester, N.H.
MacDonald ran an ex-Bryan Wall Ford part of the 2003 season, mainly on the road courses. This year, the emphasis will definitely be on the blue oval. "Basically we're going to be a Ford team because we've got five motors. We're planning on sticking with Fords, but I've still got all my Chevy stuff which we'll use to test our other cars against," he noted.
One of those Chevrolets will be hard to put out to pasture. It was built by Jason Janvrin for MacDonald's northeastern Massachusetts neighbor, Paul Richardson, who enjoyed his best Busch North season in 2001 and promptly retired. Eddie acquired the car in 2002 and scored his first Busch North victory at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine, then very nearly repeated that win last June with the same machine.
Nevertheless, Eddie sounds like he's ready to leave his faithful short track mount behind if the facts dictate. "We're going to test both at Lee and Beech Ridge," he said, adding "Whichever car goes better, that's what we'll use. We haven't determined for sure yet, but I'm pretty confident we'll go with the Ford."
MacDonald has specific goals for 2004, and he's forthright in describing them. "We're trying to pick up the whole program. We need to focus more on qualifying so we can start closer to the front. We need to get a better grip on Loudon, because we haven't had much luck there in the last couple of years," he began.
"I'd like to win a couple of races and finish in the top five," he continued. "I think with all the changes we've made we can reach those goals. We have a lot more horsepower this year and all the equipment has been updated. And with Greg's support we can get where we need to be."
"We'd like to finish in the top five," he repeated for emphasis, concluding "We've set our goals pretty high and hopefully we can manage to get there."