Max McLaughlin Claims First Career Victory at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Not bad for a first timer.

After setting quick time in practice and earning his second career pole, Max McLaughlin led every lap before Mother Nature forced the premature ending of the Great Outdoors RV Superstore 100 at Watkins Glen International, declaring the driver of the No. 1 the winner.

“It’s awesome. I can’t believe it–I’ve never even raced on a road course before,” he said in disbelief. “We come here, fastest in practice–sweep the weekend. It’s beyond words, man. My dad won here, it’s always been my favorite track as a kid. To get my first NASCAR win here. This is priceless. Coming to 10 to go or whatever, I had tears in my eyes, ‘oh my god, this ain’t really happening, is it?’ […] I love this place, really looking forward to getting back here soon.”

With weather in the area, what would be the final restart was a bit hairy for McLaughlin. He briefly lost the lead to Tanner Gray, but quickly regained it before a lightning strike delayed the event.

Then, the rain began to fall. After about 30 minutes, NASCAR deployed the track drying team in an attempt to go back racing. But shortly thereafter, the rain picked back up, forcing NASCAR to call the event six laps before it’s full distance.

The win was Hattori Racing Enterprises’ second consecutive in the event, as Brett Moffitt earned the checkered flag last season in this very car. The year prior, Ryan Truex led 26 laps from the pole before being sidelined due to an accident.

Two-time winner in 2019 Chase Cabre, championship points leader Sam Mayer, Ty Gibbs and Ruben Garcia Jr. rounded out the top five, with Dylan Murry, Spencer Davis, Dale Quarterley, Derek Kraus and Colin Garrett completing the top 10.

The Great Outdoors RV Superstore 100 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, August 7 at 6 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series East event, the Bush’s Beans 150, will take place in two weeks on Thursday, August 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mayer won earlier this season at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

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OBSERVATIONS: Twin 100s Race 2 at South Boston

Even with the weekend extending longer than planned, it was certainly worth the wait for the fans as they got a pair of stellar Twin 100s at South Boston Speedway this past weekend.

Just like the first edition, the second would feature the great short track racing that fans have grown to love and begin chanting “More Short Tracks” for. Derek Kraus would make his way up to second, before tracking down Max McLaughlin for the lead. With a little bump to the bumper, and nudge to the door, he made his way before driving off into the sunset. Of course, that wasn’t before McLaughlin was able to give him a quick tap to return the favor.

Just like Tanner Gray the night before, Kraus perfected the move in that moment as he got the position without wrecking his competitor. It also marks his second win of the season after his victory at New Smyrna Speedway to open the season. As we said then, it’s just Kraus doing what he does best as a past series champion.

Gray arguably had the quickest car in the field as evident by the scoring monitor and Saturday night’s victory. However, initially jumping the start put him behind early. The youngster still deserves to be applauded as he fought back for a fourth-place finish.

The big loser in the race being postponed was Nick Sanchez. After struggling early on night one, his team made a pit stop to make adjustments so they could improve the handling of the car. It worked, as well as handing him the pole as the first-place starter for the second event is determined by fastest lap put down in the first. However, with clear skies and the sun shining, it appeared that he lost the handle and it showed as he faded back in the field.

Between the pair of events, the Saturday night edition was more thrilling with closer racing throughout the field, and Gray’s move on Mayer being the icing on the cake. That said, the second race was still fun to watch for the fans with classic short track racing.



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