PHOTO: Eddie MacDonald has been a successful racer in New England for over a decade. That success may lead to new options for him in 2012. (Alan Ward photo)
— by T.J. Ingerson
ROWLEY, Mass. — There’s no question that Eddie MacDonald is one of the top New England racers of his era. He is a back-to-back TD Bank 250 champion and a six-time race winner on the NASCAR K&N East (formally the Busch North, Busch East, and Camping World East) Series. He has won three times at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the East series and is a two-time winner of the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire. He finished runner-up to Ryan Truex in the 2009 Camping World East Series standings by a slim 34-point margin and has been a mainstay in the series since joining in 2001, even as the K&N Pro Series East has moved away from its original New England origins.
MacDonald, however, may be looking to do something a bit different in 2012.
MacDonald confirmed to Vermont Motorsports Magazine that his Grimm Racing team is looking to compete in a few selected ARCA and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races during the upcoming 2012 racing season.
“We’re looking into possibly running Pocono in the ARCA Series,” MacDonald said. “Our car owner, Robert Grimm, lives about 45 minutes from there and wants to find a way to get into that race. But, we really don’t have any set plans right now. We’re waiting for K&N Pro Series East schedule to come out.”
ARCA, short for Automobile Racing Club of America, will race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., twice in 2012 in support of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, first on June 9 and then again on August 4. MacDonald noted, however, that the first Pocono date conflicts with a scheduled K&N Pro Series race at Gresham Motorsports Park.
“It kind of makes things difficult,” said MacDonald. “We have to figure out what we really want to do. We have to figure out if we’re going to go full time in the K&N Series or pick and choose our races. We’re still not sure. We’d like to run some ACT races, some ARCA, some [NASCAR Camping World] Truck races, some K&N races. We just have to come up with a schedule that works for us.”
MacDonald explained that their current fleet of K&N Pro Series cars could be converted to ARCA series cars, noting some the major differences are with the engines, body modifications, and suspension. MacDonald said that the team still has a NASCAR Camping World Series Truck and a specific opportunity may be available for that race vehicle.
“I like to try anything,” MacDonald said. “Pocono would be kind of neat and be a good opportunity. Who knows, if we seem to adapt to that track well we may try to run the [NASCAR] Truck race there for the second race weekend. But, honestly, we have no idea yet. All of our options are just being talked about to just get an idea.”
MacDonald said a big part of their decision would depend on the support their current crew members, stating that they have to plan around their work schedules beforehand. But, a potential decision maker for MacDonald could be the loss of the second K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for 2012. MacDonald, who has three victories at the track and nine-straight top ten finishes dating back to 2007, is disappointed with that race loss at a track he really likes.
“It’s really disappointing,” MacDonald said. “We’ve had some really good success there. It’s funny, because it seems like any track we can win a race at, the next year the race seems to be taken away, like Stafford, Thompson, and Beech Ridge. It’s probably just a coincidence. Hopefully, they can maintain one [at New Hampshire], but it’s still a disappointment.”
The addition of Rockingham Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., may also help MacDonald and Grimm Racing make a decision. MacDonald said he is highly interested in the K&N Pro Series East season finale there in 2012, noting his team has done historically well at the larger tracks the East Series visits.
But there is one sure thing about MacDonald. He’ll be a potential winner where ever he races.