Max McLaughlin earned a pair of career-best finishes in the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100’s at South Boston Speedway on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. “Mad Max” delivered a pair of third-place finishes in each race for his first top-five finishes of his young NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (KNPSE) career.
Race 1The second-generation racer turned in his best qualifying effort of the season on Saturday evening and started from the fourth position. The driver of the No. 1 Mohawk Northeast Toyota Camry settled into the fifth position in the early stages and protected his position despite a loose condition on corner exit. McLaughlin held serve through the majority of the event until a caution on lap 98 netted him the fourth position for a green-white-checkered restart. The physicality of short track racing was on full display on the last lap as McLaughlin narrowly avoided the No. 4 car which spun from the third position. “Mad Max” dodged the incident in Turn 2 and came around to collect his career-best NKNPSE finish in the third position.
Race 2McLaughlin was credited with a fifth-place start in the second half of the Twin 100’s doubleheader courtesy of his fastest-lap run in Race 1 but took the green flag in third due to another competitor falling to the tail of the field. The Mooresville, NC native solidified the third spot at the drop of the green flag and moved to second when the race leader was black flagged for jumping the initial start. A caution on lap 14 slowed the field before a thunderstorm postponed the balance of the event to Sunday afternoon after 20 laps were competed.
When Race 2 resumed under sunny skies on Sunday afternoon, McLaughlin hustled his Toyota Camry to the lead on the lap 26 restart via the outside lane to lead his first-career laps in the NKNPSE. McLaughlin held the lead for 23 laps before a loose handling condition relegated him to the third position. The 19-year old put his dirt racing chops to work and quickly switched up his line to find speed throughout the 75-lap run to the checkers, but ran out of time to chase down the two leaders. He took the checkered flag in third to match his career-best from Saturday night and earned his second top-five finish of 2019.
Max McLaughlin Quote:“I think it’s starting to click here. We had a really good car again today. We led a handful of laps and thought we would have had something for the win there but got a little loose on the front side of that run. (I) really found something later in that run and about 20-25 to go we gained a lot of time just moving around on the racetrack. I wish we would have found that earlier, but that’s racing.”
“Thanks to all these guys at HRE that put such a good Camry together this week. Also, to Mohawk Northeast, E-Z-GO, Toyota and Toyota Racing Development. They put a lot into our program and we definitely couldn’t run this well without them. Hopefully we’ll go to Memphis next month and have a shot to win there too.”