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NASCAR-BGN: McLaughlin Loses Chance at Sixth Straight Top-Ten in Richmond

9 June 1998

RICHMOND, VA-- There is just something about Richmond International Raceway that doesn't agree with Goulds Pumps driver Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin has never really had a ton of luck at the .750 mile speedway, even catching on fire there last season. This year, McLaughlin and his veteran racing team were determined to change their luck at Richmond. The team spent 2 days in late May testing at the facility and came away with a feeling of confidence.

All throughout practice and qualifying, McLaughlin had a fast race car, one capable of allowing McLaughlin to record his sixth straight top-ten finish. Everything was going fine for McLaughlin up until the mid-point of the Hardee's 250. With McLaughlin racing hard in 4th place, a steady stream of smoke began to roll out of the back of his #34 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Two laps later, a caution came onto the speedway for an accident and McLaughlin came to pit road for repairs. Upon coming to a stop, a fire began underneath his Chevrolet. The team put the fire out and McLaughlin returned to the track to avoid going a lap down. The same exact events happened on his next visit to pit road and McLaughlin was forced to pull behind the wall for repairs. The team found an oil line that had come off and repaired it, returning McLaughlin to the track 7 laps down to the leaders. McLaughlin continued on with one of the fastest cars, but the damage was done, he finished in 34th place.

"It just wasn't meant to be for the Goulds Pumps team tonight," McLaughlin said. "We had been on a super streak of late and tonight was a setback, we had a super car, but the results don't show that. We will bounce back this weekend in Colorado."

Jeff Burton held of Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Matt Kenseth to claim the victory. McLaughlin now leads Kenseth by 9 points in the season championship.

The Busch Series will race this weekend in Pikes Peak, Colorado on Sunday at 4:00pm EDT. ESPN and MRN will provide live coverage of the event.