Stunning debut for McKeefery in NASCAR Camping World Series West Ran as high as fifth before settling for solid 11th place showing Martin McKeefery, the 21 year-old standout from Milpitas, Calif., made the most of his NASCAR Camping World Series...
Stunning debut for McKeefery in NASCAR Camping World Series West
Ran as high as fifth before settling for solid 11th place showing
Martin McKeefery, the 21 year-old standout from Milpitas, Calif., made the most of his NASCAR Camping World Series West debut, finishing 11th on Saturday in Roseville, Calif. He ran as high as fifth in the Toyota / NAPA Autocare 150 at All American Speedway.
McKeefery, the 2007 Western States Super Modified champion, was making his first career start in the Milpitas Health & Fitness Chevrolet for Dick Midgley Racing.
When firing up for the first practice, the team discovered engine trouble and made an emergency engine change. With zero laps of practice, McKeefery timed in just half a second off of pole position, and raced forward from 20th on the grid.
"I was pretty stoked after qualifying," McKeefery said. "I gave the crew a speech after the race thanking them. They put in a lot of hours and I felt confident in their work. They were thrilled to have made the change and run this well."
McKeefery navigated traffic like a veteran in race conditions, handling the nuances of competing on the series smallest track. He also adapted quickly to the challenging double-file restarts with the 650 horsepower, 3400 pound cars.
McKeefery described the restarts as being very similar to those in his Legends days.
By lap 46 he had moved up to 15th on the track. Using the help from his spotter Reinie Naeb, he narrowly avoided a multi-car crash on lap 52.
McKeefery kept digging forward, moving up to 11th by lap 79 to join a six car battle for seventh.
With 25 laps to go McKeefery suddenly found himself sixth after great racing and perseverance.
"I looked at the scoreboard and it said the 88 was in fifth," McKeefery said. "I then realized he was right in front of me on the track."
A green-white-checkered finish was slated to wrap up the 150 lap race, and McKeefery launched forward and into the fifth position before contact from another racer sent him spinning on the final lap.
He was officially scored as the first car down a lap, in a very outstanding 11th place finish.
"I have never moved my arms that much in a race," McKeefery said, describing the intensity of the race. "The car wasn't great, because we didn't get to practice. I think with the setup right I could repeat this run."
McKeefery will now set his sights on the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series West campaign, with more news to be announced soon.