By BILL FOLEY
During the off-season Max McLaughlin took a step in creating future racing opportunities for himself as he put more emphasis on his asphalt racing career.
The Heinke-Baldwin Racing elected not to replace the departed driver focusing their efforts solely on teammate Jimmy Phelps.
On Sunday they were reunited for one night at the Heroes Remember 100 at Weedsport on Memorial Day. They both came away with a pretty good night.
The results will show Max finished fourth and Jimmy sixth, but it was a tail of two stories for each of them.
Max qualified quite well and ended up on the front row of his heat alongside Matt Sheppard where the 6H was second and in the draw. Meanwhile, Jimmy had a terrible time trial and his fight to come back took him from sixth in his heat, to winning the “one car qualifies” consi to a 23rd starting spot. However, the best was obviously yet to come with a masterful drive through the field toward the front to finish in sixth.
McLaughlin ran up front the entire event as he followed the eventual leader Erick Rudolph lap after lap. At times he challenged for the lead, but couldn’t get there. He settled for fourth.
As he climbed from the car he told DTD, “It was fun, but it took a little time to get a rhythm going. This was a good car tonight, but I needed more to drive in the black. The top went away and I just didn’t have enough to win, but I gave it everything we had.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy was taking a deep breath at the end of what had been a long day for the promoter-driver.
He said with a smile, “Well at eight o’clock this morning I was emptying trash cans as we had a go-kart event here yesterday.”
In regards to his long night he explained, “We have had stuff we have been wanting to try, but we really haven’t had a chance because of the weather. The car was good in hot laps, but we ended up making changes we regretted and it ended with a bad time trial. I didn’t make up any ground in the heat, but I had a good consi.”
Continuing he said, “The tires were cycling in and out as the track wasn’t consistent for us. I really needed the longer green runs and we were able to run the middle and the top. It took us about five or six laps after the green to get going and we just lost momentum, but I’ll take it.”
It certainly was fun for his fans as after starting 23rd he was 11th at the halfway point and seventh with just 25 laps to go.
For at least one night it was like old times for Jimmy and Max as they put on a good show at their home track.