Max McLaughlin equaled his season-best finish with a fourth-place result at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday evening. “Mad Max” posted back-to-back top five finishes for the first time in seven starts this season and set a new personal best finish at WWTR in the shadow of St. Louis’ Gateway Arch.
The driver of the No. 1 Gates Hydraulics, NAPA Belts and Hoses Toyota Camry posted the sixth-fastest lap in the short practice session in the afternoon and lined up 15th by virtue of car owner points. “Mad Max” began the evening by immediately advancing into the top 10 on the opening lap. Despite a tight handling condition on both ends of WWTR’s 1.25-mile egg shaped layout, McLaughlin held the seventh position when the first competition caution flew on lap 41.
McLaughlin continued to battle the tight balance in the second segment, but still maintained a top 10 position and ran eighth at the second competition caution on lap 81. On the ensuing lap 84 restart, McLaughlin took advantage of the top lane to advance to sixth and grabbed the fifth position on lap 103. Two cautions in the final 15 laps bunched the field up for a six-lap dash to the checkered flag when McLaughlin lined up sixth on lap 115. Once again, “Mad Max” ripped the outside lane to grab position in the top five and advanced to fourth at the checkered flag. The result is McLaughlin’s fifth straight top-10 finish and his first set of back-to-back top five finishes in the ARCA Menards Series this season.
Max McLaughlin Quote:“We started 15th and finished fourth, a good top-five for us. I can’t thank everyone from Gates Hydraulics, Napa Belts and Hoses, Toyota, TRD, and all these Hattori Racing guys enough. It’s great to have back-to-back top-five’s for us. Gateway is an awesome racetrack and had a lot of fun moving around today to try and find some speed each run. We started off too tight but the guys made some good adjustments and we got better versus the field and were able to take advantage of the outside lane on the last restart. I’m proud of all these guys and it’s nice to get some results to show off their effort.”