Eddie MacDonald battled his racecar and a caution filled race to post a determined tenth place finish in the ACT opener at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road on Sunday, May 6. After a two week delay, the 33rd year for the American Canadian Tour took the green flag in the 20th Community Bank 150 only to wait out a two hour rain delay after completing only two laps of the 150 lap feature.
Eddie Mac’s season opener appeared headed in the right direction after posting top five practice times on Saturday, then repeated top five times on Sunday. However, when the green flag waved for his qualifying heat, the EXIT Realty/Hancock Electric Chevy changed dramatically. The veteran racer started sixth but was unable to transfer after scoring a sixth place finish, then had to make the race after posting a second place run in the “consi.”
“It was a mystery to all of us when the car just did not respond the way it had since the first practice on Saturday,” said Eddie Mac. “After the last practice on Sunday morning we were happy with the car and didn’t make one adjustment, so to go out there and have it react that way was a total surprise. We made some changes afterward but when we started the race it was the same.”
Eddie Mac started 18th in the 30 car field then just missed a big wreck on lap two. The threatening skies finally gave way to a steady rain that sent the ACT cars to the pits for a two hour delay. Eddie Mac and crew chief Rollie LaChance strategized and formulated a plan when racing resumed and pitted on caution lap 34 for right side tires and wedge adjustments.
However, the Freddie Peterson owned Chevy struggled and returned to the pits on caution lap 75 restarting in the 19th position. Before a lap could be completed a huge pile up ensnared Eddie Mac’s car causing front end damage and knocking out the toe. The crew responded with efficient effort to fix the toe on the next four cautions, the last one on lap 112. Finally the car responded as Eddie Mac began his move to the front on the outside.
“All race long the car did not like the outside so I had to drive the bottom,” said Eddie Mac. “ I decided to move to the outside after the last pit stop and suddenly it started to go. It was very racy and I was able to start passing cars. I only wish it could have happened sooner because I think I could have finished a lot better. I have to give special thanks to the crew. They worked their butts off making all the changes over the last half of the race. Rollie and I really appreciate everything they did. They were asked to do a lot and each guy responded and they are responsible for me being able to get to tenth. I know it is not the finish we wanted, but it was because of the crew we were able to finish as well as we did.”
Eddie Mac will take the green flag next Saturday, May 12 in the ACT Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway.