McLaughlin Will Race This Weekend in California

Waterloo Native Mike McLaughlin will again this weekend drive the #25 Team Marines Ford in the Target House 300 at the California Speedway. Team co-owner Gary Weisbaum tells fingerlakes1.com that Mike will drive the Rensi Motorsports Ford Saturday afternoon at the 2-mile superspeedway. McLaughlin drove the car last week at Bristol and finished the race in 12th place. Bristol Motor Speedway is a tough high-banked, half-mile racetrack that is known for chewing up racecars and spitting them back out. Accidents happen in milliseconds and normally the cars getting damaged are not the ones that created the accidents. Friday night in the Food City 250 NASCAR Busch race, those accidents continued and one car receiving serious damage was the Team Marines Ford driven by Mike “Magic Shoes” McLaughlin. McLaughlin, a Waterloo, NY native and the fifth all-time leading money winner in the Busch Series, was named to drive the # 25 Team Marines Ford on Wednesday afternoon. Just 24 hours later, McLaughlin was turning laps in the 15-second range at Bristol and recording the eighth fastest time in the qualifying session. McLaughlin’s time was identical to the times of Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch. NASCAR broke the ties by team owner point standings, placing McLaughlin in the tenth starting spot. From the drop of the green flag on Friday night, McLaughlin worked his way forward in the 43-car field. The Team Marines Ford was a little loose on handling and crew chief Harold Holly made the needed adjustments on the first pit stop of the night. Just a few laps later on lap 81, Robby Gordon wrecked on the backstretch, forcing cars to make evasive moves to miss the spinning Gordon. McLaughlin collided with Mike Bliss and ended up with a severely damaged right front of the Ford Taurus. Holly and company made repairs and taped the Team Marines Ford back together so that McLaughlin could continue to the race. The damage dropped McLaughlin back to the 31st position, but McLaughlin and the team refused to give up. One by one, McLaughlin passed cars while fighting the chassis damage, the car was loose from the incident, but McLaughlin went back to his many years of experience on the dirt tracks of the Northeast, and held onto the Team Marines Ford. By lap 225 of 250, McLaughlin had found the 15th position and was aiming for a top-10 finish. A few untimely cautions kept McLaughlin from moving into tenth, and he settled for 12th position at the checkered flag. “The Team Marines Ford was really strong before we damaged the front end,” McLaughlin said. “In talking to Harold after the race, we both felt like we had an easy top-five finish without that accident, but this is Bristol and you never know what will happen here. It was really an honor tonight to drive the Team Marines Ford and represent all the Marines that are out there right now working to keep us safe. I appreciate everyone at Team Rensi Motorsports for giving me this opportunity.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Food City 250 after starting from the pole position. Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-three finishers. With the 12th place finish, Team Rensi Motorsports stands solidly in the ninth position in the NASCAR Team Owner’s Points race. The team is less than 180 points from fourth. The NASCAR Busch Series next heads to California Speedway for the Target House 300 on Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm EDT. NBC will provide live coverage of the Labor Day weekend race.

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