McLaughlin trades helm for steering wheel at 95
Andrew McLaughlin always wanted to drive a race car.
His father Dave was a prominent racer in the Pro Stock class at Hermon’s Speedway 95 and Andrew would accompany his dad and watch him race.
“Hanging around the track for years” watching his father race gave him the desire to climb into a race car.
The younger McLaughlin was finally able to begin his career this season at age 25 in the Strictly Street class.
And he’s having a blast.
“It’s more fun than I thought it would be,” said McLaughlin. “I like everything about it. I look forward to it all week. It gives me a little relief from work.”
McLaughlin is a lobster fisherman in his native Harrington, a lobster fisherman with a business degree from the University of Maine. He graduated in 2007.
Pursuing a degree and the cost involved with being a stock car racer were two of the reasons he didn’t get an opportunity to begin his career any sooner.
“I was finally financially able to build myself a car this year,” said McLaughlin.
He told his father of his intentions in December and they began building it in January.
“My dad built it from the bottom up and my brother, Eric, and I helped him with it,” said McLaughlin, who is driving a Camaro.
They finished it in June and he already had two wins under his belt.
He has been happy with his season to date and is hoping the wins continue to come.
Stockton Springs’ Duane Seekins, who races in the Late Model and Strictly Street classes, said McLaughlin has a bright future.
“He’s going to be pretty good. He’s still learning,” said Seekins, who has been racing for 34 years and used to race against McLaughlin’s father. “He has a good car there.
“His father was very good and he knows how to set up a car,” added Seekins, who has had a long friendship with Dave McLaughlin.
He also said Andrew McLaughlin is “a very polite kid who seems to have his head on straight.
“And he’s fun to race with,” added Seekins, who has seven Strictly Street wins and one Late Model triumph this season.
Overlock racing with broken arm
Franklin’s Mike Overlock is racing at Speedway 95 in the Super Street class with a broken right arm that is heavily bandaged.
He suffered a broken bone “just below my elbow” while playing basketball three weeks ago.
How does he shift gears?
“Once the race begins, I’m already in third gear and I don’t’ have to shift again,” he said.
His car has just three gears so he only has to shift up through the gears on the pre-race laps.
He admitted it hurts while he’s racing, “but it’s worth it.”
Overlock is having a good year, running a close second in points behind Hermon’s Doug Sinclair.
“I’ll probably fall back [behind Sinclair] in points but I’ll still finish second,” said Overlock, who has an insurmountable lead over third-place Meagan Allen.
Stars of Tomorrow enjoy racing
Speedway 95 co-owners Del Merritt and Alice Baker introduced a Stars of Tomorrow class to their Wacky Wednesday lineup last season and it has continued this year.
The Stars of Tomorrow have actually raced Saturday nights the last two weeks.
The drivers said they are enjoying themselves and are glad Merritt and Baker added the class a year ago.
“I’ve always wanted to race and this gives me more time to race,” said 13-year-old Matthew Kimball of Cornville.
“It’s pretty cool,” said D.C. Alexander of Carmel, who is also 13. “Things have gone better for me this year. I didn’t run well last year. It’s a lot of fun.”
Ryan Modery of Hermon, the points champion a year ago, said he was “pretty excited” when he found out they were going to add the class last year.
“My dad [Scott] bought a car [Chevy Cavalier] for me,” said Ryan.
The younger Modery said the class “gives us good seat time” and he has noticed a difference in the racing this year.
“Last year, we weren’t going very fast. We’re going a lot faster this year,” said Modery.