Chad McCumbee hopes he can get the 2017 season started on the right note, with a victory for either he or teammate Sam Yarbrough in Saturday’s Icebreaker 125 at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
McCumbee, 32, from Supply, North Carolina is a three-time ARCA Racing Series winner and has been competing semi-regularly in Late Model Stock Car racing – predominantly at Myrtle Beach Speedway as well as in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour. He will be competing in Saturday’s Icebreaker, but he says the unpredictability of the track makes it hard to set expectations.
“You never know what this place is going to give you,” McCumbee said. “We had a pretty good day yesterday. Trying a lot of different things to start the year here. Trying to get a little different feel for everything and keep developing what we’ve done here at Chad McCumbee Racing. Really don’t know what to expect, trying not to have too many expectations each time you come to this racetrack.
“We do hope to run really well at our home racetrack and between the two of us, hopefully one of us will be up front at the end.”
McCumbee has become a fixture in sports car racing, but his passion for Late Model Stock Car racing brings him to the tracks frequently.
“It’s a lot of fun,” McCumbee stated. “I’ve been fortunate to ride for Mazda factory now for the last five or six years running sports cars and had a lot of success. Circle track racing is what I know and what I grew up doing and I’ve been very foruntate and blessed to make it as far as I did in circle track racing. To come back and be able to enjoy it, have fun and run at running these Late Models and Supers this year. That’s kind of my break.”
McCumbee was once a rising star in the NASCAR ranks, competing for Petty Enterprises prior to the team being bought out by the Evernham team prior to the 2009 season. That left McCumbee, who had already had success in ARCA, without a ride. However, he was able to keep racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the ARCA Racing Series before ultimately making the move to sports car racing.
“You know, it was a tough situation,” McCumbee explained. “At the end of the day, all you can look at is you can never take away that we did get to that point. It was a unique scenario that happened and we were set to go in 2009 full time. Then, the company sold and me and Labonte were sitting there with nothing. I was fortunate to make friends along the way, keep rides and stay in the Truck Series. It was by choice that I decided to go sports car racing.”
Now, at 32-years-old, McCumbee is climbing the ranks in sports car racing with the hopes of ultimately competing in a Daytona Prototype car in the WeatherTech Sports Car championship. However, he still plans to have fun in Late Models as well.
“Being involved in Mazda, that’s been a great relationship,” McCumbee remarked. “I feel like, now, from a professional side, see how far I can make it up the sports car ladder. That prototype is the next prize that I’m looking at is how can we get there in the WeatherTech series and have some success with those guys.
“All the way through my career, the best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present so that’s what we’re going to try to do and go for another Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series championship this year and see how many Late Model races we can win also.”
The Icebreaker 125 will kick off the 2017 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car season on Saturday afternoon, with the green flag flying around 4pm.