Max McLaughlin Wins First Summer Nationals Race at Adams County

Tyler Carr Photo

Max McLaughlin began his new career as a full-time Late Model racer this year, and only five starts into his first venture out on the Hell Tour, he’s got his first career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win.

McLaughlin, 24, of Mooresville, NC, took the lead from polesitter Daryn Klein on Lap 6 and led the rest of the way to bank the $5,000 grand prize. Using the high side of the 1/4-mile oval for most of the race, McLaughlin held off a charge from 2010 Summer Nationals champion Jason Feger in the final laps to secure the win Wednesday night at Adams County (IL) Speedway.

“I’m just new to this stuff,” McLaughlin said. “It takes something else to find what you like and [G.R. Smith] has been super supportive and has been awesome being patient with me in my learning curve. It takes time and you gotta figure out what you like.”

McLaughlin started fourth on the grid and immediately chose to ride the outside of the track, and it paid off as he took second place on the first lap. He then battled side-by-side with early leader Klein – McLaughlin on the outside as Klein stuck to the bottom groove.

McLaughlin (22) driving to the outside of Klein (10) (Tyler Carr Photo)

“I had to try to figure out where to carry good momentum,” McLaughlin said. “I was able to sneak by Klein there in the middle.”

With momentum around the outside, McLaughlin drove by Klein to take the lead on Lap 5. Behind him, however, was Feger, who began to close-in as the halfway point neared. Much like McLaughlin, Feger rode the outside of the track to get by Klein for second and then started to make his chase after McLaughlin.

With two laps-to-go, Feger got to McLaughlin’s right rear and nearly pulled even with him down the backstretch. Despite Feger’s best effort, McLaughlin held off the defending DIRTcar Late Model national champion and got back out in front of him to secure his first Hell Tour win.

McLaughlin (22) holding off Feger (25) with two laps to go (Tyler Carr Photo)

“This car has been really good and we tried some new stuff tonight and obviously it worked pretty good,” McLaughlin said. “I didn’t know where to really run in (Turns) 1 and 2 and Feger was getting me pretty good and I saw him peaking his nose. Hats off to him for racing me clean.

“We had the best car. It’s just tough when you get to the lead, you don’t know where to run and it makes it tricky.”

Now, McLaughlin and the Team 22 Inc. team will make the eight-plus-hour drive south to Summertown, TN, for the next World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series race at ThunderHill Raceway Park on Thursday, where his chase for the Rookie of the Year title continues.

“Hopefully we can carry the momentum into the World of Outlaws weekend,” McLaughlin said.


The DIRTcar Summer Nationals next head for Spoon River Speedway on Thursday, June 20.

Tickets will be on sale at the gate or catch all the action on DIRTVision.

ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 22*-Max McLaughlin[4]; 2. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 3. 15-Clayton Stuckey[8]; 4. 10K-Daryn Klein[1]; 5. 22R-Will Roland[7]; 6. 29-Spencer Diercks[5]; 7. 1-Tyler Erb[14]; 8. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[9]; 9. 8-Dillon McCowan[12]; 10. 25W-Allen Weisser[11]; 11. 38J-Jake Little[15]; 12. 1ST-Justin Reed[13]; 13. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[16]; 14. 33F-Rickey Frankel[17]; 15. 58-Tyler Clem[18]; 16. 14JR-Trey Mills[19]; 17. 26M-Bob Gardner[20]; 18. 30-Mark Voigt[22]; 19. 33-Kye Blight[10]; 20. 11-Darin Weisinger Jr[21]; 21. 51-Matt Furman[6]; 22. 10-Garrett Smith[2]