SWS: Irwindale: Eddy McKean preview

McKean Ready for Irwindale Memories JEROME, Idaho (May 23, 2004) Eddy McKean, the 2002 NASCAR AutoZone Southwest Series champion, is ready for round six of the 14 race NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series schedule to be staged at ...

McKean Ready for Irwindale Memories

JEROME, Idaho (May 23, 2004) Eddy McKean, the 2002 NASCAR AutoZone Southwest Series champion, is ready for round six of the 14 race NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series schedule to be staged at Irwindale (CA) Speedway Saturday, May 29. McKean currently sits third in the championship standings after five events coming off a disappointing outing in the series last event in Stockton, California.

McKean led 54 laps at Stockton, but a suspension part failure sidelined McKean's spectacular run, resulting in a 21st place finish. McKean trials series point leader Craig Raudman by 92 points and knows that a solid finish at Irwindale is crucial for the team.

McKean's best finish at Irwindale came in the fall race last year when he rallied to a fourth place finish after starting 25th. McKean, not know as a strong qualifier on the series short tracks has boosted his efforts by hiring 1990 AutoZone Southwest Series champion Doug George to crew chief the team. George's credentials in the series are second to none. In 100 series starts, George collected nine wins, 54 top ten finishes, and had 71 consecutive starts from 1990 to 1994. He has won on both ovals and the road course at Infineon Raceway.

McKean has quickly become the series master on the one-mile tracks the series visits each year. McKean has finished no worse than third in the series last six trips to Phoenix Int'l(AZ)Raceway including winning the opening round this season. The addition of George to the team has already paid dividends as McKean has scored three top five finishes in the first five races versus just one top five at the same point last season on the short tracks.

"Doug (George) brings a lot of experience to the team," McKean said. "He has been there and is able to make the right calls. We communicate well and he understands what the car needs. His leadership has been instrumental in the improvement of our short track program this year."

George is enjoying the new union. "Eddy is certainly a driven competitor," George said. "He never stops working on the car; we are kind of similar that way. He has a lot of talent behind the wheel and I am glad to be part of the team."

After winning at Phoenix in January, McKean finished sixth at Madera, followed that with fifth and tenth place performances at Mesa Marin and Cajon Speedway respectively. Looking to turn that momentum into a win at Stockton, McKean suffered a DNF after leading 54 laps.

With his focus squarely on the 150-lap race this weekend at Irwindale, McKean and his team look to regain their early season momentum and challenge for his second series title. "Doug has really added a lot in our qualifying program," McKean said. "Qualifying is so important in this series and the closer to the front you start the better. I feel real confident in our package and race setup for Irwindale."

While McKean is intent on a second series championship, he will venture outside the series to compete in both an AutoZone Midwest and Northwest Series event in the next month.

McKean Racing is sponsored by: Magic Valley Pipe & Steel, NAAKE Motorsports, Victory Circle Chassis, and Ironclad Performance Wear.

McKean's career AutoZone Southwest Series stats include: 50 career starts, 4 wins, 18 top five and 28 top ten finishes.

McKean is also a three-time track champion at Magic Valley Speedway in Twins Falls, Idaho and a two-time NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional champion.

-McKean Racing

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Craig Raudman