Column: Max McLaughlin Looks To Pick Up Where He Left Off On Super DIRTcar Series
Column By: MICHELINA FRISS / DIRTCAR – WEEDSPORT, NY – Max McLaughlin left the 2022 Super DIRTcar Series season wanting more.
He finished second in the season finale at the World of Outlaws World Finals, knowing he had a car capable of scoring him another win. Now, he’s taking that drive into the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 15-18, as he hunts for more gator trophies with Heinke-Baldwin Racing.
In his fourth race back with HBR last year, the pair found themselves in Victory Lane at Volusia Speedway Park – McLaughlin’s second DIRTcar Nationals victory, but first with HBR.
“That was really cool to get that out of the way so early,” McLaughlin said. “When you can go down to Florida and win right away, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
The Mooresville, NC native has found considerable success at DIRTcar Nationals, winning the coveted Big Gator Championship in 2021 and coming in third in last year’s Big Gator title hunt. With momentum from 2022 behind him, he’ll be poised for another strong run in Barberville, FL to set the tone for the upcoming Super DIRTcar Series championship season.
“It’s such a racy track,” McLaughlin said about Volusia. “It’s just one of my favorite tracks. I’ve always had some success there. It’s always just a good time to go down to Florida in February. You don’t get much racing before late March, in our style of racing. So, whenever we can get in, as soon as we can, we’re going to take advantage of it.”
McLaughlin returned to HBR in 2022, after a couple year absence, and while he’d worked with the team previously, he said there was a bit of a rush to assemble the new team. They found success early at Volusia and won again at Land of Legends Raceway – McLaughlin’s first points-paying Super DIRTcar Series win – but struggled with consistency at times throughout the year.
However, with a third-place run during Super DIRT Week and two top-five finishes to cap off the year at The Dirt Track at Charlotte – placing them fourth in the final points standings – they knew they could go into the off season only having to fine tune to be more prepared for 2023.
“This year is year two, obviously. We’re just more prepared, I feel like,” McLaughlin said. “We’re ready to go out and win races right away. That’s the mindset of everyone here, so everyone is excited. We’re all ready to go and I think it’s going to be a great year for us.”
He was left wanting more at the end of 2022, and still hasn’t forgotten it.
“I guess I’m a sore loser, but I think that’s what keeps you here a long time in this sport,” he said. “It just makes you hungrier to unload at Volusia and go win again.”