July 7, 2008
With all the concerns about oil prices and the credit crisis
recently, there has been a lot written about the growing gulf
between “the haves” and “have nots” in this country.
In racing, much of this attention has been focused on Camping World
East. This series, the current iteration of the old Busch North
circuit, seems to have morphed from a exciting regional series led
by local heroes into a development playground for well-funded
At New Hampshire’s June weekend, the East Series pit was a picture
of motorsports opulence. DEI fielded three cars; Richard Childress
Racing was represented by Austin Dillon; Marc Davis was driving for
Joe Gibbs; Jamie Hayes was in the Hendrick/Schrader car – and on and
on. Certainly the legacy of the old Busch North cars, typically run
out of a one-car garage attached to someone’s house in the
Northeast, seemed long gone.
But, at the start of the Heluva Good 125, a white #71 broke ranks,
going three deep in a gutsy move before blending back into the pack
coming out of turn two. It was Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., in
an unsponsored entry fielded by Rob Grimm. He was out to make a
Eddie has done that before. If New England were to list its top
gassers these days, he would surely be among them. He’s always been
fast at New Hampshire, apparently not feeling obligated to lift for
that first turn.
MacDonald continued a defiant march to the front of the 125-miler.
And stunningly, he won it, after a heart-stopping duel with Trevor
Bayne in a DEI Chevrolet. Everyone in the place was watching,
Needless to say, after the race MacDonald’s car spent quite a bit of
time in tech. Some heavy-duty dudes dropped by to talk to Eddie –
and to try to find out what kind of incredible setup he and crew
chief Rollie LaChance had put in that car. Visitors included Michael
Waltrip and Ray Evernham.
Little did anyone know what had been going on earlier that week. As
so many huge haulers were towing all their cars, personnel, and kit
up to the race from Mooresville, Eddie MacDonald was alone in a
corner of his dad’s unpretentious trucking garage in Newbury, Mass.
He spent two days on his left front spring alone, laboriously
getting maximum travel before coil bind. He was using the equivalent
of an expensive pull-down rig, but this one he had fabricated
himself – rather precariously, with poles and come-alongs.
It was by far the biggest victory yet for MacDonald and LaChance.
They won this one for the home team.
In this case, the home team is every struggling, underfunded race
team in America.
© 2008 Lew
Boyd, Coastal 181