2019 NEWS


In The Blood: Max McLaughlin Turns Heads In First SK Modified Race At Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON - Before Wednesday Max McLaughlin had never been to Thompson Speedway and had never sat behind the wheel of any type of asphalt Modified race car.

Apparently though, finding the way around the high banks of Thompson Speedway in a Modified is just something in the blood for the 19-year old from Mooresville, N.C.

He is after all the son of former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour star and series champion Mike McLaughlin.

Max McLaughlin came out on the losing end of a late race battle with NASCAR Monster Energy Series driver and former Thompson Speedway regular Ryan Preece in the 30-lap SK Modified feature Wednesday at Thompson, but the young driver captured the attention of all on hand in his debut at the track.

A rookie on the K&N Pro Series East, Max McLaughlin was originally just looking for the chance to get some seat time in at Thompson Speedway. The K&N Pro Series East was scheduled to run at Thompson on June 15. The McLaughlin family arranged to have a car prepared by longtime Thompson star Keith Rocco so Max could get some laps in.

On Tuesday it was announced that K&N Pro Series East event at Thompson would be cancelled because of logistical reasons between the track and NASCAR.

“On the way up [Tuesday] we heard that it got cancelled and we just said ‘Hey, let’s go run it anyway.’” Max McLaughlin said. “I’m glad we did it.”

The Rocco prepared car was fast out of the gate for Max McLaughlin, who was second to Preece in practice.

“We were really good,” Max McLaughlin said. “I knew when we were second in practice to Preece that we had a really good race car. We went from 10thto fourth in the heat. I was kind of surprised for my first in a Mod that we were really fast. It kind of suited my driving style really well.”

In the feature Max McLaughlin rocketed from his ninth starting spot, past Preece, past Rocco and found himself battling for the lead 12 laps in. He took over the top spot from Troy Talman on lap 14.

After a spirited 10-lap battle for the lead, Preece was able to overtake Max McLaughlin on lap 27 and race to the win. Max McLaughlin held on for second.

“I just got too free late in the run,” said Max McLaughlin, who is fifth in the K&N Pro Series East standings after five events. “Preece got me in the end. I’m kind of bummed, but I guess if you look at it, for my first start, it wasn’t too bad.

“We were just coming to get laps for the K&N [East Pro Series] race. We were expecting to just come make laps. We weren’t expecting to almost win the damn thing. We were coming to make laps.”

“If I get an opportunity to drive an asphalt Modified again I am definitely going to do it. These things are a blast to drive. I can’t thank Keith Rocco enough for the opportunity to let me drive his race car. He’s a hell of a driver and a hell of a mechanic. He knows how to set these things up.”

Mike McLaughlin raved about the ride Rocco put his son in.

“Keith gave us a better car than he had today,” Mike McLaughlin said of Rocco, who finished third. “A brand new car, brand new engine and it was just a fresh piece. Keith took it out and made sure it was right and Max got in it and we made a few minor adjustments and we were good all day.”

Mike McLaughlin wasn’t surprised to see his son take the track and the ride so quickly.

“Having never seen the track, having never seen one of these race cars, but yet, he’s got a lot of talent,” Mike McLaughlin said. “You always hope for the best. … He was having a ball. He was disappointed at the same time because he wanted to beat him so bad. … He was maybe just trying a little too hard at this point.”

The K&N Pro Series East is never in action on July 20 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Could Max McLaughlin be looking for a Whelen Modified Tour ride for that division’s event the same day in Loudon?

“If somebody wants to put me in I’d be glad to look at the opportunity,” Max McLaughlin said. “I’d love to do it.”



Max McLaughlin Back on Track After Back-to-Back Podium Finishes

All good things take a little time. … Max McLaughlin and the No. 1 Mohawk Northeast team return to action on Saturday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) after a 54-day hiatus since the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) opener at New Smyrna Speedway (NSS). Saturday’s Zombie Auto 150 will be his second-career NKPSE start after an 11th-place finish to start the season. Max McLaughlin has lived that narrative thus far this season, his rookie campaign in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Transitioning from racing on dirt to asphalt with literally no prior experience, McLaughlin’s start to the season has been a bit of a roller coaster.

A pair of third-place finishes at South Boston Speedway have stabilized the teeter totter than has been 2019 for the Moorseville, North Carolina native, who now sits sixth in the championship standings, one point behind Chase Cabre for fifth.

“We’ve had a chaotic start to the year,” he said. “To come home with two top three finishes says a lot about these guys. I have no asphalt experience before this year and to jump in the K&N car says a lot about this team for sure. We had a really good car. Feels great to be on the podium after the first two weekends this year.”

The No. 1 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota was up front for 23 laps on Sunday for the second WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100, and showed tons of speed early on. But McLaughlin wishes Mother Nature would’ve stayed away on Saturday night, as his car handled better at night rather than during the day.

“We probably could have stayed out front and had a chance of winning it,” he said. “We were just a little loose on the front side of that run and I was just doing everything I could. Wish I would’ve found the lower line a little sooner, but can’t be upset with two third place finishes. Pretty excited to build on that.”

To open the season at New Smyrna, McLaughlin came home 11th in his first career asphalt start, one that he now laughs at looking back on how new everything was. At Bristol, he nursed his car to a 13th-place result after breaking a shock.

“We’ve had a really slow start to the year,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes, we’ve had things go wrong. But it’s nice to have two podium finishes and we’ll build on it and hopefully well go get a win at Memphis.”

Overall, the transition for the 19-year-old has been a difficult one. Being in the race shop almost every day, as he has been throughout his dirt racing career, has helped accelerate the learning process.

“It’s been pretty crazy honestly,” he said on MRN Coast to Coast. “It’s been more than I thought so far in terms of learning. Obviously everybody thinks it’s going to be easier than it is all the time. I should know that by now in all the different directions I’ve jumped in my career. It’s been a huge learning curve, but luckily we’ve got a lot of good people at Hattori Racing Enterprises that speed up that learning process. I think a lot of things clicked for us this weekend.”

Four races in, four finishes. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself for McLaughlin given his background. “A lot of people think we’re crazy for going right into the K&N Series, but that’s where the opportunity was for me and I was never in the position to go asphalt racing before this,” he said. “I couldn’t ask to be in a better position, really.” McLaughlin and the No. 1 HRE team will look to build upon their podium weekend at Memphis International Raceway on June 1.



MAD MAX" READY FOR FIRST TRIP TO BRISTOL

Return to Action … Max McLaughlin and the No. 1 Mohawk Northeast team return to action on Saturday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) after a 54-day hiatus since the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) opener at New Smyrna Speedway (NSS). Saturday’s Zombie Auto 150 will be his second-career NKPSE start after an 11th-place finish to start the season.

Bristol Debut … Round two of the NKNPSE season marks McLaughlin’s first trip to “The Last Great Colosseum” and just his fourth-career start on pavement. “Mad Max” has made the jump to the NKNPSE after spending the last three years in the Super DirtCar Series and earned two-consecutive Most Popular Driver awards on the tour. BMS will mark the first high-banked asphalt track he has competed on, as his first three asphalt starts came at Caraway Speedway, South Boston Speedway, and NSS.

Shining Bright … “Mad Max” will sport some familiar colors to those that followed his career in the big block modified ranks. His familiar white and florescent red colors with Mohawk Northeast will adorn the No. 1 Toyota Camry on Saturday afternoon.
Specializing in heavy construction and marine construction, as well as tugboat transportation, Mohawk Northeast, Inc. is a Connecticut-based construction company that offers its valued clients cost-effective, efficient solutions founded on engineering expertise. Our turnkey construction services also include facilities maintenance and fabrication and coating.

Chassis Selection … Not only will “Mad Max” have new colors on board at BMS, but he will also have a new chassis. Chassis No. 010 is brand new to HRE’s fleet and will see on-track competition for the first time this weekend. Chassis No. 002 that McLaughlin raced at NSS will serve as the backup.

Tune In … FansChoice.tv will have live coverage of Saturday’s Zombie Auto 150 at 4:00 p.m. ET while NBC Sports Network will air tape delayed coverage on Thursday, April 11that 4:00 p.m. ET. Stay updated with McLaughlin on social media by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.

Max McLaughlin Quote:


On embarking on his new asphalt career in NKNPSE:

“I’m just ready to get back in the car again. It’s been a long break and we’ve been working hard in the shop getting this car ready to go. It’s great to have Mohawk Northeast on board this weekend. They’ve been a big part of my career in the big block modifieds, so it’s pretty cool to have them with us at Bristol. I’ve never run Bristol before, but there’s a lot of guys in our shop with experience and some knowledge I can lean on. We’ve been running quite a few laps on iRacing to get ready, and have been rewatching the last few races there to get an idea of what we need on Saturday. Hopefully we can unload with the car close and contend for a win this weekend.”



Max McLaughlin lands fulltime NASCAR K&N Series ride for 2019

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) announced today that organization will field a full-time Toyota Camry entry in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with driver Max McLaughlin. Shige Hattori’s history of team ownership is heavily rooted in the K&N Pro Series, and 2019 will mark the organization's return to full-time competition for the first time since 2014. McLaughlin will take the first green flag of the season at New Smyrna Speedway on February 10th in the No. 1 Textron Off Road, Mohawk Northeast Inc. Camry with crew chief Robert Huffman.

The 2019 season will mark McLaughlin’s first full-time season on asphalt. The son of six-time NASCAR XFINITY Series race winner, Mike McLaughlin, spent 2016-2018 competing in the Super DirtCar Series Big Block Modified tour and finished third in the driver point standings last season with eight top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. Not only was “Mad Max” a perennial contender on the tour but he also garnered two-consecutive Most Popular Driver Awards in 2017 and 2018.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for me to further my career,” McLaughlin said. “This will be my first concentrated effort in asphalt racing, and this will be a big change and challenge. I’m definitely looking forward to the variety of racetracks and our expectation is to go win races and be a contender for the championship. This will be a big transition for me, but there are a lot of great people at HRE and I’m confident we’ll be one of the teams to beat throughout the season."

The 18-year old from Mooresville, NC has one NASCAR start to his credit, which came last season in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Eldora Speedway. McLaughlin’s effort in ’19 will include running engines prepared by students from NASCAR Technical Institute’s (NTI) Spec Engine Program. The top students earn their way into NTI’s engine program with academic and attendance excellence and will play a large role in McLaughlin’s 2019 campaign.

HRE’s return to the NKPSE will also feature students from Toyota Technical College in Japan. For the ninth year, HRE will welcome TTC students to the Mooresville, N.C. race shop for a week’s worth of race preparation and instruction at NTI. 

"We’re very excited to get back into the K&N Pro Series full time this season,” Hattori said. “Our team has a lot of history and success in the series. We want to expand our team and offer more opportunities for young drivers and this is a way to do that. I’m happy to have Max join our group. This is a big step for him and our team, and we’re confident he’ll do a great job this season."



MEET MAD MAX

Max McLaughlin’s dream is to follow in his father’s footsteps and the talented teen is well on his way. His Dad, Mike “Magic Shoes” McLaughlin was not only a fan favorite in NASCAR but a talented racer in his own right. “Magic Shoes” won the 1988 NASCAR Modified National title and was elected into the DIRT Hall of Fame in 2013 for his skills as a dirt racer growing up in upstate New York. In 2014 Max began racing in UMP Modified competition, full size cars racing on dirt ovals, producing over 700 horsepower. Needless to say going from a 450 pound kart to a 2450 pound full size race car was a challenge. He won his first career UMP modified event in March of 2015 and following that up with a King of the Carolinas championship at the Carolina Speedway in October.



BREWERTON, NY

Max McLaughlin from Mooresville, NC came into Friday night, third in points with one feature win plus five top-five and eight top-ten finishes with only four points races left in the 2018 season. The number 13 would be good luck for McLaughlin as that was his starting spot in the 35-lap Tracey Road Equipment DIRTcar Modified feature. There was a red flag on lap 23 and all drivers were okay. On the restart McLaughlin would drive by Larry Wight and into the lead. Once out-front McLaughlin would hold off repeated challenges from Wight for his second win of the year at the ‘D-Shaped Dirt Demon.’ Tim Harris and Roy Bresnahan would lead the Modified field down to the green with Bresnahan grabbing the early advantage in the 35-lap battle. Bresnahan would hold a narrow lead on lap 5 as Andrew Ferguson and Larry Wight battled side-by-side for second and third with Chris Hile and Harris running fourth and fifth. By lap 10 Ferguson and Wight were running side-by-side for the top spot with Bresnahan, Hile and Tim Sears Jr. having their own race for third through fifth. The yellow flag would wave on lap 21 when Sears, who was running second, got hit and spun by a lapped car in turn-one. When the race went back green and the lap counter hit lap 23 the most serious incident of the season happened. On the front straightaway a competitor would turn Tim Kerr sideways as the field started to stack up. Rob Bellinger would get airborne after contacting Katelyn Hile’s front end, launching his car hard into the back end of Tim Sears Jr. Also suffering serious damage was Pat Ward. All drivers were okay, and the five cars involved would not return. When the race went back green, McLaughlin drove around Wight to be scored the new leader. Over the remaining laps Larry Wight would throw everything he had at Max McLaughlin, but McLaughlin was too strong going under starter Dave Farney’s checkers first. Chris Hile, Jimmy Phelps and Chad Phelps finished third through fifth.



MAX MCLAUGHLIN LEADS NEW LAND OF LEGENDS PEPSI MODIFIED GENERATION WITH BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED WIN

Story by Tom Skibinski Canandaigua, NY- (July 7, 2018) The torch was lit when Max McLaughlin made his regular-season debut at Land of Legends Raceway back in May. It came to pass two months later as the 2nd-generation transplant from Mooresville, N.C. matched his father Mike 'Magic Shoes' McLaughlin, dominating the 35-lap Pepsi Big-Block Modified main to register his first career victory at the hallowed Ontario County Fairgrounds half-miler. I “This place is so historic, I've wanted to win here more than any other place in the world because my dad got his first win here,” beamed the choked-up winner after becoming the 101st Big-Block driver to score a feature win at Canandaigua. His father is forever etched in the LOLR record book, taking nine checkered flags in his patented CraZ8 car from 1979-81. “It’s an emotional night, really means a lot.” McLaughlin has had a comfortable grip on the steering wheel for most of his life, piling up wins and point titles since entering the karting ranks at age 11. It didn't hurt that he h grew up in a hotbed of NASCAR racing in North Carolina. A Waterloo, N.Y. native, his father Mike, the 1988 NASCAR Modified National Champion in the #12 Sherwood Racing-Sherri Cup Chevrolet, brought him back up north to CNY in 2016 to race full-time chasing the Super DirtCar Series while gaining valuable seat time on the local circuit. Canandaigua became his new Saturday night hangout when first-year promoter Paul Cole took control to start 2018. “I've been telling people the biggest thing that has helped me the most this year is running Canandaigua,” noted McLaughlin, now 18, who at age 15 became the youngest driver ever to set fast time when he made his Heinke-Baldwin Racing (HBR) qualifying debut at the World Finals in Charlotte in Nov. 2015. In 2016 he signed on full-time with HBR ---with teammates Jimmy Phelps, Peter Britten and Dave Blaney--- and by season's end was honored as DIRTcar Northeast's Big-Block Modified Rookie of the Year. “Its been a real slick race track, have to carry a lot of momentum and these (Big-Blocks) cars are so much about carrying momentum. The best in all of Modified racing has grown up here ... Matt Sheppard has created a lot of his success here and my former teammate Peter (Britten) first broke out as a star while racing here. Its a place where you learn a lot, 'Land of Legends' fits it,” McLaughlin added. 'Mad Max' filed into eighth on the 22-car starting grid, improving two positions when the lone yellow flag flew on lap four for the #16K Bicknell car of Kaitlin Pashina parked on the frontstretch infield. McLaughlin charged into third on the ensuing restart then moved ahead of small-block powered leader Brian Sage on lap 11. The final 32 laps clicked off caution-free with Max in his #6H Teo Pro Car cruising home for a convincing 13-second victory worth $2,000. Sage finished a solid second chased by Lance Dusett, veteran Alan Johnson, Erick Rudolph and Billy Dunn, while Sheppard salvaged a surprising 7th-place after starting 17th in a borrowed ride.



MAX MCLAUGHLIN RECORDS ANOTHER SECOND AT BRETT HEARN’S BIG SHOW X AT ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY

Malta, NY- (June 26, 2018) Mad Max McLaughlin came up just one short again to Stewart Friesen at Brett Hearn’s Big Show X at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. McLaughlin finished a close second to Friesen at the Super DirtCar Series event at Brewerton on May 29th and followed it up with another second-place finish on Tuesday evening. For his runner-up result McLaughlin is now a guaranteed starter at the 47th annual NAPA Super DIRT Week. “Third Series race of the year and my second, second place finish to Stewart Friesen,” said the 18-year old NC racer. “I have to keep running all the races. The more you run the better you get. Our cars are really close right now. My teammate Jimmy Phelps is really fast. It’s tough to beat Sheppard and Friesen any time. Those two are at the top of our sport. A second to him is a win to most.” McLaughlin lined up in eighth and chose a steady pace throughout the first half of the one-hundred lap feature. By lap 75 he was challenging for a podium finish when disaster struck for race leader Matt Shepard getting involved in a yellow with a lapped car. On the two-to-go restart McLaughlin showed his power and sped past his teammate Jimmy Phelps in a side-by-side battle for second place. “What a race lamented,” Max. “It feels great to be competitive at every race. I am so proud of my team…earning a guaranteed spot at Super DIRT week is so cool. I just want to keep up this pace the entire season. Can’t thank HBR and our marketing partners for everything they do.”



MAX MCLAUGHLIN RECORDS STRONG 2ND AT THE HEROES REMEMBERED 100 AT WEEDSPORT SPEEDWAY

WEEDSPORT, NY - May 28, 2018 – Can a race that is lead flag to flag be exciting? You bet it can. Folks will be talking about this one for a long time. Full-time NASCAR Craftsman Series Truck driver Stewart Friesen needed every ounce of talent, determination, and equipment he had to hold off the 18-year-old HBR driver Max McLaughlin. The pair diced and dueled through lapped traffic for the better part of the 100 lap Feature. McLaughlin closed in for the kill multiple times, but Friesen stayed slippery and managed to gap 6h again and again. All the effort was worth it as Stewart Friesen becomes the first guaranteed starter for this year’s NAPA Super DIRT Week. Friesen started on the pole and lead every lap but it was by no means an easy task. The Halmar 44 stretched a lead in the first third of the race but then Mike Mahaney in the no. 88 Buzzchew Chevy brought out the race’s only caution flag after getting crossed up in turn 2. Friesen then had to balance managing his equipment with racing through lapped traffic and holding off McLaughlin. “I was trying at the beginning to save my stuff but pushing hard enough when I needed to. That top line that I was living on in 3 and 4 started going away. I just couldn’t hit a really good rhythm into 3 but once I found that launch pad on the bottom of 2 I was able to get into 3 and the lapped cars just kept coming back to me. The lapped cars hurt until I caught them. Then once I got into lapped traffic I kind of liked it because I could fill some holes and at least try to stay side by side a break a run if someone was coming. It’s tough without knowing where he was coming. He’s (Max McLaughlin) is a great kid and an even better driver. The improvement he’s made driving these cars over the last three years has been crazy.” Second-place finisher and crowd pleaser Mad Max McLaughlin showed great pace all day. He was second quickest in his qualifying group during Time Trials, which placed him on the outside pole for Heat Race 4. When the green dropped on the Heat, pole sitter Larry Wight shot into the lead using the sparse moisture on the low line as the track had begun to dry out and get slick. McLaughlin however had other ideas. He went straight up to the wall and was able to carry a lot of momentum around the top of the track. After overtaking Wight, McLaughlin used both top and bottom lines to old off the Gypsum Express 99L until the checkered flag. In the Dig Safely NY redraw, McLaughlin drew 6th with some heavy hitters starting in front of him. He couldn’t hide his excitement in Victory Lane despite falling one position short of winning: “We had a great car. The track was a blast. I’ve been here a few years, and this was the best race I’ve seen at Weedsport. This is was best track condition I’ve ever seen. They made a lot of changes over the winter and it really showed tonight. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a race car but coming in second really sucks. 18 years old. 2 years on the series. To be in second place and racing for the win is pretty damn cool.” After a disappointing DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, the HBR team had been left with some big questions but on Memorial Day, both HBR cars finished on the podium. McLaughlin had this to say about the race: “We were really good on the long run. On the top side Stew got the jump on the start. It took me a lap to get my grove back. There is a ton of grip off two and I could get a good run into three. This TEO chassis is awesome, you know this is the best we’ve been in a long time. It’s a great way to start off the Series points racing.” McLaughlin is looking forward to the next Super DIRTcar Series race, which is scheduled for Friday, June 15 at Brewerton Speedway. “I got a win there (at Brewerton) late last year. We were really good at the end of the year. We’ve been trying everything this year before the Series starts. We’ve been throwing everything at the car to get it work when it’s slick like it was tonight.”



MAX MCLAUGHLIN TO MAKE ASPHALT DEBUT AT CARAWAY SPEEDWAY

Mandee Pauch Relations – March 2, 2018 – The young gun out of Mooresville, NC, Max McLaughlin, will be making his asphalt debut with the Woodman Racing Chevrolet team at Caraway Speedway for the RGS Products 125. “I’ve never raced asphalt before,” added McLaughlin, who is a regular on the Super DIRTcar Series. “I was at Caraway a few years ago to watch a buddy of mine race but I’ve never raced there myself.” Thankful for his opportunity to drive for the Woodman team, McLaughlin has had his nose to the grindstone studying for this marquee event. “I’ve been watching a lot of tapes,” he said. “It’s a national race for those guys so it’s not like it’s just a regular show. Some of the best in super late model racing will be there, so to beat some of those guys, you know you’re doing something right. There’s a lot of talent in that series.” Several big name drivers have caught their big break running the Pro All Star Series; McLaughlin is looking optimistic going into his first race at Caraway. “You see drivers like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliot come back and race super late models often and the regulars run right with them. The only way you will get better is if you run with the best. I’m looking forward to making my move to asphalt, I think it’ll be good for me.” McLaughlin feels this race will be beneficial for him to get dialed in for the Camping World Truck Series races he will be competing in with Niece Motorsports this season. “Driving on asphalt as much as I can will help me get ready for my Camping World Truck Series debut,” noted McLaughlin. “I’m thankful for this opportunity Mr. Woodman has given me. I’m looking forward to working with his team.” The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models. McLaughlin’s asphalt debut will take place with the PASS Series in the Woodman Racing Chevrolet No.4 at Caraway Speedway on Sunday, March 11th.



MAX WINS THE BIGGEST RACE OF HIS MODIFIED CAREER WINNING A TRIPLE 30 AT OSWEGO AT SUPER DIRTWEEK

During the second of three qualifying races, Max McLaughlin picked up where he left off earlier in the day by topping the speed charts in the only practice session for the NAPA Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds. The win didn’t come easy as the young 17-year-old from Mooresville, NC started in the third position. In the opening laps, Mad Max worked his way by Dom Buffalino for the runner-up spot and set his sights on Hellertown, PA’s Rick Laubach. While the top-two of Laubach and McLaughlin were battling it out, Justin Haers and Mike Mahaney were in their own battle for third place. Haers running the low line got a little too low as he clipped the inside jersey barrier and flattened his right front tire. Still driving on the flat tire, Haers only relinquished one spot to Mahaney as the both came home third and fourth. Back out in front of the field, Laubach and McLaughlin started to pick their way through traffic in the final laps. As the two headed into Turn 1, McLaughlin threw his No. 6h to the outside and made it stick, giving him the run off two into the lead as they rocketed down the backstretch with four laps to go. 2016 NAPA Super DIRT Week Futures winner, McLaughlin would check out from the rest of the field and pick up his third Big-Block Modified victory of the season and his second career victory at Oswego Speedway. “Victory Lane two years in a row, this one is a hell of a lot better than the Futures race,” said Max McLaughlin. “This means a lot. I can’t thank Al Heinke enough for putting me in this racecar. He believed in me and saw something in me. He’s let me drive this car this year, and we’ve had a great year with three wins and we’re gunning for more. [Confidence] is huge. This is closest to the racetrack that we’re going to have for Sunday — black and slick as can be. We didn’t start on the pole; we had to work our way forward and got the lead with five to go by making a move around the outside. I saw lap traffic stacking up, and [Laubach] just waited, and just I made a move.”



MAX MCLAUGHLIN... THE FUTURE ON THE DIRT TRACK

In the small of Town of Mooresville, NC, a population of just 35,300 (2014), is where a young man named Max McLaughlin grew up. The son of former NASCAR racer Mike McLaughlin, Max was exposed to the world of racing since birth, but had no real interest in racing except for some teething steps at the age of 3 in the box stock class at the Millbridge Speedway. Max would, also on occasion, drive his go-kart around his parents’ yard. “We were pushing Max towards baseball and football in his younger years and, in seventh grade, Max was pitching fast balls at 76mph,” said Katie McLaughlin, Max’s mom. It wasn’t until he was 11, when Max discovered his passion for racing. Max, after being introduced to Karting by one of his friends, began racing at the Millbridge Speedway in the box stock class and in just two short years, Max was the 2013 East Coast Nationals winner along with the Mini Outlaw regional winner. He also captured the 125cc Millbridge Speedway Champion title. In 2014, Max moved up to the UMP Modifieds driving for Mooresville, NC. Nick Hoffman, the car’s owner, Mike McLaughlin and Max campaigned the car along side the Hoffman’s team throughout the 2014-racing season. They also campaigned Max’s Mini Outlaw Kart at Millbridge Speedway. It was quite a learning experience going from a 450lb Outlaw Kart to a full-sized race machine. That season, Max managed to capture three fifth-place finishes out of 13 Modified races that year. He also placed eighth in the King of the Carolinas second-night feature one of the most prestigious races in the south. He would also finished second in point at the Millbridge Speedway’s Outlaw standings with four victory’s that year. It was a transitional year for Max who quickly pointed out that “if not for the Hoffman family allowing us to use of their second car, it would not have been impossible for us to campaign a Modified due to the sheer costs alone. The 2015 season was the big breakthrough year for Max. Doing double duty once again, running the Outlaw Mini Sprint racecar along with the UMP Modified. Early in the season Max got his first win racing the Modified in March, followed by winning at the “King of the Caroline’s” at Carolina Speedway in October. But it was the Outlaw sprint series statistics that were staggering with 14 wins, 23 top-five and 21 first place-qualifying positions in 35 races that year. People were noticing the sheer talent Max had wheeling a race machine around the track, no more so than Heinke-Baldwin Racing HBR Racing. It didn’t take long for before HBR Racing schedule Max to race at Weedsport, for earlier in the year, unfortunately, this race was rained out. In November, at the World Finals in Charlotte, NC, HBR Racing invited Max to race one of their cars. Max jumped at the chance, setting the Super DirtCar Series pole position raceway fastest time for the Saturday’s race, becoming the youngest driver in the 44-year history of Super DirtCar Series, to win the Fast Time Award. Max would finish the week with a 20th place finish quit an achievement for this 15-year-old-first-time racer in the Big Block Modified. For 2016, Max was signed by Heinke-Baldwin Racing to drive the #6 car in the Super DirtCar Series. Being Max’s rookie year. Mike McLaughlin laid out achievable goals with Max and the HBR Team. As a learning year for Max, he achieved much of the goals laid out by Mike the team and received the 2016 Rookie of the Year award. He also captured the Futures Big Block Modified feature race at Super Dirt Week. Max capped the season off finishing 13th in the Super DirtCar Series points. Later At the Eastern Motorsport Press Association awards, Max was presented the Young Gun award for his outstanding rookie season. It was definitely a banner year for learning and the HBR team allowed Max to take the car and learn taking some lumps and lessons in his own way. For 2017, the season started off well with a new Teo race car under Max’s control and some great results at the opening event at Volusia Speedway, picking up a third and fourth place finish at the two feature races over the week. It was also revealed that Matt Hearn, one of the top representatives at Teo Pro Car, would be Max’s crew chief. This will allow Mike McLaughlin to help his son with driving strategies for this season.



MAX WINS THE BIGGEST RACE OF HIS MODIFIED CAREER WINNING A TRIPLE 30 AT OSWEGO AT SUPER DIRTWEEK

During the second of three qualifying races, Max McLaughlin picked up where he left off earlier in the day by topping the speed charts in the only practice session for the NAPA Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds. The win didn’t come easy as the young 17-year-old from Mooresville, NC started in the third position. In the opening laps, Mad Max worked his way by Dom Buffalino for the runner-up spot and set his sights on Hellertown, PA’s Rick Laubach. While the top-two of Laubach and McLaughlin were battling it out, Justin Haers and Mike Mahaney were in their own battle for third place. Haers running the low line got a little too low as he clipped the inside jersey barrier and flattened his right front tire. Still driving on the flat tire, Haers only relinquished one spot to Mahaney as the both came home third and fourth. Back out in front of the field, Laubach and McLaughlin started to pick their way through traffic in the final laps. As the two headed into Turn 1, McLaughlin threw his No. 6h to the outside and made it stick, giving him the run off two into the lead as they rocketed down the backstretch with four laps to go. 2016 NAPA Super DIRT Week Futures winner, McLaughlin would check out from the rest of the field and pick up his third Big-Block Modified victory of the season and his second career victory at Oswego Speedway. “Victory Lane two years in a row, this one is a hell of a lot better than the Futures race,” said Max McLaughlin. “This means a lot. I can’t thank Al Heinke enough for putting me in this racecar. He believed in me and saw something in me. He’s let me drive this car this year, and we’ve had a great year with three wins and we’re gunning for more. [Confidence] is huge. This is closest to the racetrack that we’re going to have for Sunday — black and slick as can be. We didn’t start on the pole; we had to work our way forward and got the lead with five to go by making a move around the outside. I saw lap traffic stacking up, and [Laubach] just waited, and just I made a move.”



MAX MCLAUGHLIN TO MAKE TRUCK DEBUT WITH NIECE MOTORSPORTS BY SETH EGGERT, STAFF WRITER, MOTORSPORTS TRIBUNE

2018 marks the debut of another second-generation driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Max McLaughlin, the son of “Magic Shoes” Mike McLaughlin will make his Truck Series debut for Niece Motorsports. The younger McLaughlin will make four starts with the team. In 2017, McLaughlin finished ninth in the points standings in the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series. He was also voted the most-popular driver in the series. McLaughlin earn victories at Fulton and Brewerton Speedways. He also won on the big stage at Super DIRT Week, taking home the trophy in the Triple 30 Feature. McLaughlin ultimately set five fast times, breaking four track records in the process. “Max is a great talent, and we are looking forward to working with him this season,” said team owner Al Niece. “We are in a great position to help develop young talent as we continue to grow our program. Our hope is that we can move into 2019 on a fulltime basis with Max.” McLaughlin will join Austin Wayne Self and Justin Fontaine at Niece Motorsports. Self is in just his second full season while Fontaine is competing for Rookie of the Year honors. Although Niece Motorsports is composed of mainly young talent, the team is aligned with GMS Racing. “Aligning with Niece Motorsports is a great opportunity for me,” said Max. “I’m excited to work with the team and to get some experience behind the wheel of these trucks. Hopefully we can have some strong runs this year and can put together something for next year, too. I’ve been spending time in the shop with the crew, learning as much as I can. I’m just really trying to make the most of this great opportunity. I will be running fulltime in Big Block Modifieds for HBR team owner Al Heinke, and remain focused on the 2018 championship. It’s going to be a busy year, but I am very excited for all the opportunities I have been given.” In 25 starts, Niece Motorsports has just seven finishes inside the top-15. Cody Efaw, the current General Manager of Niece Motorsports, was the crew chief in 22 of those starts, and all seven top-15s. “There is a lot of excitement surrounding Max, and we are excited to be a part of it,” said Efaw. “We hope to get him as much seat time as possible this season, which should put us in a great position next year.” McLaughlin’s crew chief, sponsor, number, and race schedule will be announced later.

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