Unbuckled: Getting to Know Eddie MacDonald
Driver of the #17MA Hancock Electric Chevrolet Impala
Hometown: Rowley, MA
2015 Season: Won Bond Auto ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
What are your favorite off-season hobbies?
I like going to Boston Bruins games and that sort of thing. I keep pretty busy with snowplowing and other things in the offseason; mostly I just relax a little bit and work on the race cars for the upcoming season.
What do you do for work?
I work on the K&N Pro Series cars for Grimm Racing. I do that year-round, along with snowplowing for the state of Massachusetts. Last year plowing was pretty busy, but not so much this year.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?
It had always been a dream of mine to race in the Sprint Cup Series, so it was pretty exciting to do that (in 2014 and 2015). That and just being able to race as long as I have – it’s been fun.
What are your racing plans for 2016?
We haven’t really set anything in stone. We’re still trying to figure out schedules and everything – seeing what we can do and what we have sponsorship for. We kind of know our K&N Series schedule. We’re going to do five K&N races – Bristol, New Hampshire, Stafford, Iowa, and Dover. We’re trying to figure out how we can do as many ACT races as we can. There’s a couple races that are close to us, and then there’s Seekonk, which is on the same day as the New Hampshire K&N race. So we’re trying to figure out how to manage all of that and how to get the right sponsors to be able to afford to do all these races that we want to do. We also may possibly run two or three PASS races, hopefully with the Oxford 250 being one of them.
What race(s) are you most looking forward to in 2016?
I really enjoy doing the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire. The opener at Lee is always one of my favorites. I enjoy what ACT races we do, and also Bristol and Dover with the K&N series. Those are two highlights for me – I really enjoy going to both places.
What was the highlight of the 2015 season for you?
New Smyrna was so much fun. We had a great time – the whole trip was just a lot of fun. It was nice to be able to go down to Florida in February and get to do some racing. We were fortunate enough to have a really great car down there, and I was just lucky to have such a great team behind me to be able to have that much fun down there and win those races. I also really want to thank every team owner that I drove for in 2015 – Archie St. Hilaire with the Cup Series, Rob Grimm (K&N), Freddie Peterson (ACT), and Dave Lemieux (PASS). They gave me some great opportunities.
How did you get started in racing?
I was brought up around race tracks. My father (Red) always had Supermodifieds, so we’d travel all over the place – mostly Lee USA Speedway and Star Speedway and Oswego. Then he purchased Lee when when I was pretty young – I want to say 6 or 7 years old. So every Friday night for so many years, I just sat at the race track. , and I always wanted to get into it. When I was 15, I spent my first year running select races – about half a season – in the Hobby Stocks. The next year I went full-time in the division.
You’ve had a lot of wins in your career. Are there any that were particularly meaningful to you?
Any race that I’ve been able to win at Loudon was huge, just because I’ve been going to Loudon since it opened. I went from parking cars next door in my father’s parking lot to being able to win races there; that’s always been a lot of fun. The Milk Bowl was a race that I never even thought we’d have a chance to win, so to be able to go up there and win that race (in 2014) was a great experience. The Oxford 250s stand out as well. Those are races that you never forget – there are a lot of great memories.
Do you have anyone that you consider a hero or try to emulate?
Since I was really young, I’ve always been a really huge fan of Jeff Gordon – mainly because, when he was 16, he came to Lee Speedway and drove my father’s Supermodified. He came up there with no crew – just him and, I believe it was Andy Graves, came up and worked on the car and raced it. I want to say that, in the next couple years, he was in the Busch South Series with the Baby Ruth car. It was really exciting to see somebody that young go from local racing right up into the big ranks and be one of the best NASCAR drivers there ever was.
Tell me about your family?
Both my mother (Judy) and my father help me out tremendously in all my racing and everything I do. I’m lucky to have them behind me. Great parents always steer you in the right direction. My sister was also a big part of my racing when we were younger – she’d always go out there and try to get sponsors for me, and she traveled with us to every race. It was great to have everyone involved. She kind of went on to her own family; she still comes to the track though. It was great to have the whole family involved, and we had a lot of fun along the way.
Who is your biggest supporter at the track?
Definitely my father. He wants you to lead every lap and win every race that you’re in, and if not, he’s asking why. But it’s awesome to have him at as many races as he gets to go to. Hopefully he’s got some more time this year and will be able to make it to more races, have some more fun, and hopefully see a few more wins.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
That’s a tough one – I’m never good at these type of questions. I guess one thing is that I played hockey all through high school.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?
My father lives for racing, so definitely him, but also Rob Grimm out of Pennsylvania. He’s really put a lot into my racing career over the last 8 or 10 years. He’s really been behind me in everything that I’ve done, and it’s really been huge to me to be able to keep racing the way that I have been. It’s been great – his whole family has been like a second family to me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Just to keep racing, have fun, and do it as long as you can – because somebody it will all be gone, and you won’t be able to go back and race anymore.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I really don’t know. Hopefully I’ll still be able to race, and just try to be successful at whatever I put my mind to. I haven’t really figured out what the future is going to be yet, but we’ll just keep racing as much as we can and try to win races.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I’d definitely be racing a lot more. I’d probably have a lot of different teams – it’d be nice to run competitively at the Sprint Cup level – just run all the big races around. I think that would be a lot of fun.