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Michael McGuire, 16, started from the pole and fought his way back near the front after being spun.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
That’s racing, boy.
Growing up in a family full of racers, Michael McGuire undoubtedly first heard those words when he was still in diapers.
On Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, the 16-year-old Vinton leadfoot discovered the true meaning of the words.
After starting on the pole and leading the first 29 laps of NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East season opener, McGuire got spun by a slower car driven by Enrique Contreras III and had to settle for a fourth-place finish in the 125-lap event on the .533-mile, high-banked oval.
Despite posting his highest finish ever in only his fourth career K&N start, the William Byrd High School sophomore couldn’t help but wonder what could have been.
“It’s really disappointing,” said McGuire, whose finish marked his fourth top-10 showing in as many races on NASCAR’s tour for young guns. “I really don’t know what happened. Supposedly, the caution came out and a lapped car that I had just gotten around didn’t know the caution came out.
“I was exiting Turn 2 and the next thing I know I was turned around and headed right towards the inside wall. I really don’t know what was going through his head. Apparently, his spotter didn’t tell him that the caution came out and he stayed on the throttle.
“It’s tough luck, but that stuff is just going to happen in racing, and I’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt and move on to the next one.”
The mishap forced McGuire to start at the rear of the 36-car field on the ensuing restart. He roared back through the field to take fourth, 2.5 seconds behind winner Dylan Kwasniewski, 17, of Las Vegas .
“Honestly, I thought we had the car to beat,” McGuire said. “We had a really fast piece and our guys did a tremendous job. Now, we just have to move on to Richmond [April 25].
“It’s really disheartening but there’s nothing we can do about it. I guess it’s just tough luck. I feel like we did a great job coming back from rear to get to fourth place.”
No kidding. It was an attention-grabbing week for the youngster and his family’s backyard racing team. McGuire, who finished eighth last year at Bristol, won the pole with an event-record 120.694 mph on Thursday and his picture was all over the K&N Series’ website.
“We won a practice, we got to start on the pole and finished in the top five,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. It’s kinda moved up our expectation level from being in the top 10 to being in the top five and competing for a win. It was great to actually be in contention for a win.”
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