With the countdown for the second running of the New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway down to six days, teams all over the Northeast region are preparing their cars for competition at “The Magic Mile.” This includes one of the winningest drivers in NHMS history, Eddie MacDonald, with the Massachusetts driver set to defend his win in the 50-lap Granite State Pro Stock Series feature.
In fact, when we spoke with MacDonald around lunchtime Monday, he was hard at work on the Dave Lemieux-owned Pro Stock. It should be no surprise that MacDonald is sticking with the same setup that won the event last year, as well as a Pro All Stars Series event in 2015. But there will be a big change under the hood, which will impact the No. 17 squad.
“We’re working on it right now trying to get it all ready to go. We’ll be going there with what we’ve had in the past and see how that works with a little different engine package,” MacDonald said. “Everyone has to run the crate motors this year. We don’t know what it’s going to do for us, hopefully it won’t change things too much. Put in the same setup, go up there and have some fun.”
While crate engines are the engine of choice for Pro Stock and Super Late Model teams in New England, MacDonald and a few other select teams have access to more powerful open engines, which he has utilized at NHMS in Pro Stock competition.
With tighter engine guidelines, MacDonald knows that the competition will be tough this year, especially with the pre-race entries nearing the 30 count, a count which includes a lot of proven winners from both inside and outside the GSPSS.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge, there’s a lot of good guys and everyone gets better every year,” MacDonald stated. “It should be a good race. It won’t be easy to win, but we’re looking forward to it to see if we can get EXIT Realty, Grimm Construction, and Dave Lemieux another win up there.”
MacDonald is more than up for the challenge, especially given his 10 overall wins at Loudon in the cars of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, ACT Late Models, and Pro Stocks of both PASS and GSPSS.
Interestingly, Eddie Mac’s success did not come over night, as it took seven years before getting to victory lane in the K&N Pro Series in the summer of 2008.
“We didn’t run there as much. We just ran with the K&N Series, but once I got teamed up with everyone on the car now, we’ve been able to have some success there. It’s been a lot of fun and I’d like to keep it going. I always love racing Loudon. I’ve been going there since I was a kid and wanting to race there. It’s a dream to be able to win there and win so many times.”
Ten years from his first Magic Mile triumph, MacDonald has the chance to make another milestone, breaking a tie for second on the all-time wins list at NHMS with the late Ted Christopher, if he can get number 11 on Sunday afternoon.
“That would be great. I’d love to get that win. But we also want to keep having fun while striving for success.”
Of course, MacDonald is also eyeing the $5,000 prize being offered by the GSPSS for first place in the 50-lap feature, a step up from one year ago. It’s just one piece of what Eddie Mac believes is shaping into an even more spectacular race than a year ago.
“It’s great that the Granite State Pro Stock Series has a nice $5,000 payday, they and everyone running the event have done a great job with this race, promoting it and everything. Hopefully we get a lot of fans to show up and support this event.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: John A. Miller Photography