When Eddie MacDonald left Speedway 51 (formerly Riverside Speedway) after an American-Canadian Tour event in June, he left upset. He had never been to the track before and his team worked hard all day long to give the Rowley, Massachusetts driver a car capable of winning during their first visit.
MacDonald ended up with a car capable of winning and he drove his red No. 17 straight to victory lane. A few hours later, he would leave disappointed when his win was taken away after being penalized for a spring rubber violation in post-race technical inspection.
When MacDonald and his team headed back to the Groveton, New Hampshire track this past Saturday for the annual Fall Brawl 150 Late Model event, he had redemption on his mind. It may have not been an ACT event, but in his mind winning was the only option.
MacDonald would start third and battle at the front of the field for the majority of the race before taking the lead for the first time on lap 46, according to Vermont Motorsports Magazine. He then held off Luke Shannon on a restart with 13 laps to go to claim the Fall Brawl win, his first official win at Speedway 51.
“It was great to go there and be fast again,” MacDonald told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It was good racing all the way through I think. It’s great anytime you can get a win, especially coming off of the win at Thunder Road. It was great to go up there and get that win beating all of those guys that run up there every week. It was great racing with Luke Shannon and Brad Babb. It was a lot of fun.”
During the June ACT event held at the track, MacDonald and his team hit on a setup and found a lot of speed on the high-banked quarter-mile oval. When the team won the 52nd Annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (VT), MacDonald said he used nearly the same baseline setup that he used at Speedway 51 earlier in the year.
The team used that same baseline setup to score another win on Saturday.
“We basically kind of had a good baseline setup from when we were there in June and basically went back with the exact same thing,” said MacDonald. “We just tuned on it for this weekend. We had to change a few things on it from when we were there earlier in the year, but we got the car going really well. The guys made adjustments all day in practice trying to find that happy medium where the car would turn quick through the center and have enough forward drive because the track was so cold.”
MacDonald ends his 2014 Late Model season with three wins in some of the Northeast regions biggest events. In addition to his Fall Brawl win this weekend, he also took home the top prize in the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road and the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway (NH).
“We were definitely very pleased with how this year went, especially with the new car,” MacDonald said. “We had struggled with this car for a year and a half, or maybe even two years, so for it to finally come around is good. We feel like we can be competitive pretty much everywhere we go right now. Hopefully that continues and we’d like to get it a little better at a few tracks. Maybe that will be next year’s challenge.”
As far as his plans for 2015, MacDonald hasn’t decided on anything at this point. He plans to continue competing in ACT events and will return to NASCAR K&N Pro Series East action. He’s also excited about the recent announcement made by ACT and PASS North officials that the two series will work together in some capacity in 2015.
At this point, MacDonald plans on waiting for a few schedules to be released before deciding how much he’ll be competing on each series next season.
“We haven’t really figured that out,” said MacDonald of his 2015 plans. “We usually don’t figure things out until we’re completely done for that season. We are going to try to come up with a plan and schedule that works best for us. We just have to kind of wait until we see some schedules. It’s definitely exciting news that it’s all coming together.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: T.J. Ingerson/Vermont Motorsports Magazine