Story by: Langley Austin ~langley@RACE22.com
Photo by: Joey Mills
Rougemont, NC ~ Some say that winning your first race is the hardest part, but that wasn’t the case for 12-year old, Michael McGuire as he returned to Orange County Speedway in an attempt to get his second straight win in Limited Late Models.
McGuire qualified third for the 50-lap race on the lightning fast 3/8 mile track, but under track rules the top six are inverted and then they draw a pill for starting position and as luck would have it the youngster drew number six. That gave the third generation racer from Vinton, VA the sixth starting position and put him behind some of the top Limited Late Model drivers in the country for his fourth race at the track.
His third effort at the track last weekend resulted in his first victory in front of a crowd of the top Late Model Stock Car drivers as the UARA-STARS Series, a series the youngster hopes to compete in this season for a race or two to prepare for an all-out assault next season for the Rookie of the Year award. This week he would have his work cut out for him, but after running some fast speeds in both practices and qualifying third, he and his team were confident that they could come through the field.
Many drivers have claimed Orange County Speedway is a tough place to pass, but McGuire made it look easy as he powered through the field quickly disposing of the five cars in front of him. On lap 20 he made his move past the leader and looked to be unstoppable, but a trio of late cautions would slow the field. McGuire looked more like a veteran than a rookie running only his fourth race in Limited Late Model division on a track that he had never seen before this season.
McGuire, who started in go-karts, then progressed to a four-cylinder division at Franklin County Speedway in Callaway, VA and dominated before making the move to Late Models this season. His season started off with a victory at Franklin County in a Crate Late Model before the youngster moved to Orange County’s Limited division where he had two third place finishes before winning the last two races. McGuire also led laps last week at Franklin County Speedway in a special Late Model Stock Car race before encountering mechanical problems.
McGuire’s journey will continue this week as the team ventures out to new ground again as they plan to head to Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, VA to compete in the Late Model Stock Car division. McGuire will first go to test on the 3/8 mile track and if the test goes well he intends on competing there this Saturday, June 20th.
McGuire has certainly proved that he’s up to the task of moving around and competing at different tracks and that will certainly help him with his aspirations of running in the UARA-STARS Series for 2009. He’s also shown that he can win anywhere and as he continues to move around to more tracks the competitions only going to stiffer, but that means the youngster will only get better!