Max McLaughlin returned to competition for the first time in over four months at Toledo Speedway on Saturday evening, but finished 12th after a mechanical issue ended his outing after 126 of 204 laps.
“Mad Max” posted the sixth-quickest lap in qualifying on Saturday afternoon and looked to extend his streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes on tracks less than one mile. The loose handling condition that McLaughlin fought in the afternoon practice session persisted once the green flag flew and hampered the progress of the No. 1 Mohawk Northeast Toyota Camry. McLaughlin received two right side tires and adjustments on the lap 76 competition caution and returned to the racetrack inside the top 10.
A flat tire on lap 84 caused McLaughlin to bring out the caution but managed to avoid contact. Despite a fresh left rear tire, the Mohawk Northeast Camry suffered suspension issues as a result and was forced to retire 78 laps from the finish.
Max McLaughlin Quote:“That’s a disappointing end to the day for sure. We were really looking forward to coming here with our Mohawk Northeast Camry. With how competitive we were at New Smryna, we were expecting to be a little better and just fought loose all day long. The left rear went down a little before halfway and we had an issue that pretty much ended our day. Definitely not what we wanted, but thanks to all the guys at HRE and everyone from Mohawk Northeast, Toyota, and TRD. We’ll go home, get to work, and come back in better shape.”