Chad McCumbee kicked off the Late Model Stock Car season on February 6 with a win in the Icebreaker at Florence Motor Speedway. While McCumbee personally will have a limited schedule in Late Model Stock competition in 2021, it was a strong start to the season for McCumbee Elliott Racing.
McCumbee won the first edition of the Icebreaker since its move from Myrtle Beach Speedway to Florence Motor Speedway, taking the win over the likes of Josh Berry, Bobby McCarty and Ryan Millington. McCumbee discussed the win on Speed51’s “The Bullring” Wednesday.
“It’s certainly a good way to start the year,” said McCumbee. “With Myrtle Beach Speedway closing down and no longer being a part of our weekly program in 2020, we’ve ventured out to some CARS events to try to collect some information. We hadn’t toured for some quite time, gathering that information at different race tracks to understand what we needed as we moved around.”
For McCumbee, the renewed focus on traveling and touring was an asset as the team transitioned from racing at Myrtle Beach to Florence.
“Myrtle Beach was so unique, and that didn’t translate to other places. We got a tremendous amount of notes now and took some time over the offseason to dissect that. We went to Florence what we thought would be good, and it was.
“It’s like a mini–Myrtle Beach. It’s got a lot more characteristics to it that we see when we go to other venues. It’s abrasive on tires, but nearly as much as Myrtle Beach. With being a little bit shorter, it brings some things out of the car you weren’t looking for at Myrtle Beach. It’s not quite as close to the ocean, but that salt air seems to do something to the race tracks that works well for us.”
McCumbee’s personal Late Model Stock schedule will be limited in 2021, thanks in part to his commitments in the sports car racing world. However, he still hopes to compete as often as his schedule allows, and the McCumbee Ellliott Racing team will stay busy with drivers Sam Yarbrough and Matt Cox.
“We haven’t made any set plans. The tentative plan was to race when I could, run Sam Yarbrough full-time in the CARS Tour this year and Matt Cox full-time at Florence for the championship there.
“There will be cars that are running full-time at McCumbee Elliott, and I’ll plug in and run some special events, maybe some CARS Tour events and special events at Florence. It’s still TBD, but it really just depends on how the road course schedule works out.”
The story of how McCumbee became involved in road course racing is an interesting one, especially considering the success he now enjoys as both a racer and team owner.
“I think I was running ARCA at the time and dabbling in some Xfinity cars. The sponsor I had in 2012 for the team in circle-track racing had decided they were going to take everything and go sports car racing and asked if I’d go to Daytona and run the Grand Am car.
“In January 2012, I turned down into the infield at Daytona on purpose for the first time. I was trying to figure out how to do these throttle blips, how this manual gearbox worked. I didn’t know this fifth and sixth gear existed.”
“Now, I own a Mazda team trying to support some up-and-coming drivers in the sports car arena. I still drive for Ford in their GT4 program in the IMSA series. It’s been awesome.”
Fans who missed McCumbee’s interview can click here to watch a replay of Wednesday’s episode of “The Bullring.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Florence Motor Speedway