Eddie MacDonald drove the #71 Chevy to Victory Lane in Saturday's K&N Series East Pitt Lite 125
Eddie MacDonald won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, PittLite 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway last Saturday in the #71 Grimm Construction/National MS Society Chevrolet.
The victory was MacDonald’s 7th career win in the NASCAR touring series and 4th since joining the Rob Grimm owned team based in Waymart.
The victory also ended a 53 race winless streak. Grimm Racing’s previous win was on September 18, 2009, in the Heluva Good! 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
That 2009 fall victory was the 3rd out of 4 races at the New England track when they swept the June and September races in '08.
In NKNPSE competition, MacDonald has compiled 7 wins, 2 poles, 32 top five and 84 top 10 finishes in 175 starts.
He has recorded 3 top-fives in the final driver point standings and picked up the 2nd place trophy, a career high, in '09. Through 13 seasons, MacDonald has finished 8 times in the top 10 driver standings.
In the NKNPSE, Grimm Racing is an independent, one car team which is a rarity in the touring series.
The series is dominated by teams supported by higher funded Cup and Nationwide teams and owners who find the series as the perfect place to develop new drivers for the future.
These teams have manufacturer ties, team alliances, and corporate sponsorship.
Yet, the small, underfunded team with limited resources from Waymart has been able to hold its ground.
Since Robert Grimm Racing LLC was formed in 2008 with driver Eddie MacDonald and crew chief Rollie Lachance, the team has finished in the final top 10 driver and owner point standings 6 times in 6 years and accumulated four victories.
It’s what makes the accomplishments of this team so special.
Mike Twist, a former Northeastern Editor for speed51.com, summed up the significance of the win on Saturday evening by tweeting, “Just when it feels like racing is all about money, one of the true short trackers and his hard working team wins at Bristol. Congrats to Eddie MacDonald and the #71 team. You guys got to victory lane at one of the toughest tracks in the world because of hard work and talent.”
The Race Cars
Back in 2012, Bristol Motor Speedway hosted their first NKNPSE race.]
Grimm Racing took one of the newest cars in their stable to the 0.533 mile concrete oval.
The car, which was nicknamed “Reed”, crashed hard in Turn 1 on Lap 117. Eddie MacDonald wasn’t hurt, but the car was a pile of twisted metal.
The car was a “write-off.”
It was stripped of any useable parts and taken to the junkyard on a roll back for recycling.
It was a tough start on a tough oval.
The winning car on Saturday evening has a story too.
It was the first completely new race car built from the ground up by Eddie, Rollie, and the team.
A Hess chassis was purchased in North Carolina in the winter of 2013. The debut was in September 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The car nicknamed “Hess 1” was off to a great start.
MacDonald raced his way into the lead, but two laps later, the car blew a right front tire and hit the first turn wall with a heavy blow.
The hard hit destroyed the right front and bent the right rail to some degree.
It looked as though “Hess 1” would have a similar fate as “Reed.”
The battered car was transported to NC for an evaluation, and it was determined that it could be straighten and made race worthy once again.
The car was used in both races during the Florida swing back in February at New Smyrna Speedway and Daytona. At Daytona it showed it still had potential after climbing into the top 10 before the brakes gave out only a handful of laps before the end.
For the next race at Bristol, the rest is history as they say.
The once race leading car, which ended up at battered mess at NH, carried Eddie MacDonald, Rob Grimm, and the Grimm Racing team to an extremely satisfying win at Bristol.
Grimm Racing wants to recognize their sponsors Grimm Construction, Waymart Building Center, Schroth Racing, Stilo, HMS Motorsports, Kustom Vinyl, Peterson Auto Body, and R.B. Fries GMC.”
Also, Grimm Racing carries logos to provide awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New Path Adventures, and Racing With Jesus.
Family at Bristol
The Bristol Motor Speedway is no stranger to the Grimm family.
On a trip back home from a race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1998, Charles Grimm Sr. and family stopped by Bristol Motor Speedway to have a look.
Not only did they look, but also were so impressed with the facility that they applied for season tickets in a grandstand that hadn’t even been built yet.
“We bought tickets on the spot for the Pearson Grandstand,” said Chuck Grimm. “It wasn’t completed until we came back the next year. We have been season ticket holders for the past 15 years.”
Grimm talked about his reaction watching the race from the grandstand and a car owned by his son with the logo of a company that he founded in 1975 prominently displayed on the hood of the car.
“It was picture perfect,” said Grimm. “The green-white-checkered finish was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Eddie just went into that first corner side by side and he took off.”
“This is so special,” said Rob Grimm.
“And of all places… Bristol. It’s such a tough place. It’s on every racers top 10 places that they want to win at whether it’s in Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or any division.
“March is National MS Education and Awareness Month,” said Rob Grimm.
“It was nice to have them on the car to show our support.”
Rob and Karla Grimm’s daughter Megan Spaulding was diagnosed with MS just over a year ago. Megan will have a team, M.S. Warriors, at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter Walk 2014 at Pocono Raceway on May 4.
Rob Grimm may be listed as car owner of the #71, but it goes beyond being about him. The team is about family and people. He also knows there is a higher power that makes it all possible.
His happiness is for his family, the team members that work so hard all year long, the sponsors that make it possible, and the race fans that follow the team.