mckeage sportsmanDan McKeage Ready For Big Weekend

PASS Sportsman, NASCAR Pro Series Both On The Racing Docket

GORHAM, Maine – Two races in two nights, each of which suits Dan McKeage just fine.

The veteran driver from the Naughty 40 Racing stable out of Gorham, Maine, will compete in the PASS Sportsman 75 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine, on Friday, June 28, and then head back to his home track for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Pro Series 100 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine, on Saturday, June 29. McKeage already has a race win in both divisions this season, and he’s happy anytime he sees extra-distance racing pop up on the schedule.

“I think it suits my driving style,” said McKeage, who won the PASS Sportsman 75 at Beech Ridge in May. “I like the longer races. It seems like you get a little bit more time to have a game plan than the Saturday night stuff, which is more driving by the seat of your pants. We usually set up for the longer races, and we always try to have that plan going into each race.”
McKeage is second in the PASS Sportsman standings through the first three races of the season with the No. 40 Top Gun Construction/JP&Family Roofing Chevrolet, and he hasn’t finished outside the Top-5 in any of his three starts. He’s just nine points behind Carey Martin, the Oxford Plains veteran who won the series’ most recent race at Oxford last month.

McKeage is thrilled to be in position to hunt down the championship at this juncture in the season, though he knows that he’s going to have to find a way to knock off Martin in the process.

“You almost have to race to win every week, especially racing against Carey and having as many races at Oxford as we have,” McKeage said. “He’s definitely the one to beat in these cars when we go there. He’s probably got 20-plus years experience at that place. If they’d have had five of our races at (Beech Ridge) this season, he might have been as worried about me as I am worried about him with five races at Oxford.”

On Saturday, McKeage and the Naughty 40 Racing team head to Beech Ridge, where they sit third in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Pro Series standings. With a win earlier this month in the second race of the season, McKeage is just three points out of the lead there.

Though there is no points advantage to be gained in the Pro Series 100 this weekend – all competitors in the division earn 50 points simply for starting the race – the 2010 track champion would like to rebound from a pair of disappointing finishes.

After opening the season with back-to-back podium finishes, McKeage has finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the last two races.

“The last couple of weeks have been dismal, to be honest,” McKeage said. “Ninth and 10th are not where we wanted to be. In the third race in (on June 15), we got bounced around like a pinball and we bent some stuff on the car. We really didn’t find all the issues until this week.

“We made a shock change this week, back to what we started the season on, and I’m pretty optimistic we’re going to have a good race this weekend.”

McKeage won the Pro Series 100 in 2002. At the time, it was his first career win in a Super Late Model/Pro Stock-type car, and it’s one he’d definitely like to win again.

“It pays more than a weekly race, which never hurts,” he said. “There’s a little bit of bragging rights with it, too, and that doesn’t hurt either. If you can win it, it’s good for team morale – especially for us, after not running the way we’ve wanted lately.

“If we can run strong this week, it will let everyone know that we’re back.”