“High Atop the Rock” July 31st; Story/Photos by Rocky Ragusa

Speed Week
By Rocky Ragusa

Following a season long battle for the 2018 UMP DIRTcar Modified Championship, Mike McKinney contemplated his approach to the next year. Although finishing second in the national points and the Summit Modified Equipment series. The eight year wheelman put together a remarkable season. McKinney raced in 60 features, taking the checkered flag 20 times, and traveled in six states. For the most part, McKinney and his father, David were the team. Traveling the highways and backways, plus the abuse of man and equipment, takes its toll. Along with a golden opportunity, the plans were set.

“I really got burnt out and the point chasing made it not fun,” said McKinney.

Plans call for the #96 Elite Modified to focus to the big money races, hit a new track, or just spend time with family and friends. “It has been nice to take a weekend off. I can put my attention to the other things in life, besides racing, and have fun doing other things,” McKinney said.

McKinney’s opportunity came during the winter months. A native of Plainfield, the 26 year old packed his bags and made the move to Indianapolis. Working for Bell Helmet at the Indy Pro Shop, McKinney works as the Technical Support Manager and Racing Services. “I always wanted to work in the motorsports industry,” said McKinney. “I get to meet a lot of great people and make connections. Weather that leads to something in racing or career, working for Bell has been the best decision I have made. With my work schedule, I get to travel to Indy Car, NASCAR, and Sprint Car races. We like to see our customers and make sure they are satisfied with the product.”

With his work schedule and the interest in life’s big picture, McKinney has been satisfied with his year. Working with a new car and advanced setups, has been a challenge. “We only have 20 nights in. We are learning some advanced setups that has gone, good and bad. We might have had around 40 races in last year, “said McKinney.” When we are at the track, racing is on our mind. We aren’t going to beat ourselves up if something didn’t work that night. The desire to win and be one of the best or try to be, will never go away.”

Friday racing

Farmer City Raceway The Midwest Stock Car series hosted the ‘What up Dog” 40. Many of the regions best Street Stock racers will be on hand with $1000 going to the winner. Late Models, Pro Late Models, and Modified classes are in action. Hot laps will start at 6:30 and racing at 7:30.

Grundy County The track will host the Frank Welch Memorial as Late Models will have twin 25 lap races. A 33 lap Street Stock race will serve as the co featured event. Pure Stock, Mid-Am, and Super Cups classes will complete the program. Racing at 8. Late Model point leader, Eddie Hoffman continued his winnings ways by taking the feature win last week.

Kankakee and Lincoln Speedway will return on August 9 with full programs.

Saturday Racing

Fairbury Speedway FALS Cup weekly racing returns with racing in five divisions. In addition to track points, drivers will also be competing for a pressure washer, courtesy of Rural Route Repair, in the Alkota “Keep it Clean” series. The evening begins with hot laps at 5:45, followed by time trials (6:15), and racing at 7.

Alkota “Keep it Clean” series

1. Nick Seplak 63

2. Ryan Unzicker 59

3. Mike McKinney 59

4. Jeffrey Ledford 56

5. Tommy Duncan 56

Peoria Speedway All adults will be admitted for $10 this week. Five classes will be racing on the ¼, high banked dirt track. New times are hot laps at 6 with racing to start at 6:30.

Macon Speedway racing will return on Aug. 10.