By: Dick Casey
Eddie MacDonald, driver of the #71 Grimm Construction Chevy in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the #17 EXIT Realty/Hancock Electric Chevy in the American Canadian Tour, had to survive an ill-handling car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and an intentional, devastating wreck at the hands of another driver at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, July 18, 2016.
The three-time K&N winner at the “Magic Mile” could not find the handle on the Grimm Racing Chevy beginning with Friday’s practice despite numerous changes to the car. The K&N series participates in the July Sprint Cup weekend in the United Services 70 with Eddie Mac usually a contender for the win. The Rowley, Mass. veteran battled the ill-handling car during practice on Friday and throughout the race on Saturday to finish 26th.
“The car was just so loose I could not get it to turn in the corner,” said Eddie Mac. “Of course we couldn’t make any adjustments since it was an impound race and to make matters worse we had to start in the rear of the 29 car field because we missed qualifying due to a timing mistake. When the green flag waved we were hoping for an early caution but it did not come until lap 33.”
The team made adjustments and Eddie Mac received the “lucky dog” for the lap 36 restart but the car did not respond as Eddie Mac fell off the lead lap and the decision to park the car was make on lap 47 with the disappointed driver saying, “I feel terrible for our performance. We love coming to Loudon and always feel like we have a chance to compete for the win. We have so many family members and fans here we really want to put on a good show. It is an awful experience to be out there and know you are not competitive.”
As soon as Eddie Mac climbed out of the car he headed to an awaiting helicopter to fly to Seekonk Speedway to race in the American Canadian Tour 150. ACT officials gave Eddie Mac a provisional starting position since his NHMS commitment would not allow him to participate in the heat race for position. The team is competing for the championship and in second place so a good finish was definitely needed. The Freddie Peterson owned ride would have to start tail in the 30 car field provided Eddie Mac made it to the track on time. The helicopter landed with time to spare as Eddie Mac strapped in for the 150 lap event.
When the green flag waved Eddie Mac wasted little time charging through traffic and into the top ten with fifty laps to go. With nine laps to go the caution flag waved to set up a dash to the finish with Eddie Mac riding in the third position behind the leader Brad Babb and Scott Payea. Payea challenged Babb on the outside and with two laps to go Babb moved up the track to block Payea’s run. In doing so, the bottom was left open as Eddie Mac filled the position to make it three wide. What happened next set off a series of events that demolished a racecar and could have seriously injured Eddie Mac.
Babb turned down on Eddie Mac causing a crash allowing Payea to get the lead. Babb then deliberately slammed into the back of Eddie Mac’s car lifting it off the ground and driving it and Eddie Mac hard into the outside wall. Babb has admitted publically he did it intentionally and appears to be quite pleased with himself for this cowardly act. He also stated that Eddie Mac will not win another race again that he (Babb) is in. This is a threat not to be taken lightly when dealing with 3500 pound cars travelling at a high rate of speed and a driver pledging to stop Eddie Mac from winning. If this happened action on the street the driver would be arrested. Hopefully the ACT officials will look at the video that shows the attack quite clearly and administer the justice this cowardly act deserves. This is too good of a series to allow this barbaric behavior to put lives in danger. A clear message must be sent to Babb.
Eddie Mac did not suffer serious injury but the damage to the car is severe. Instead of celebrating a positive outcome, Eddie Mac finished 16th because of the boorish behavior of Babb.
White Mountain Motorsports Park will host ACT’s Showdown in the Mountains on Saturday, July23.