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Eddie Survives Fall Brawl at Speedway 51
The annual Fall Brawl at Speedway 51 in Groveton, N.H. certainly lived up to its title in the 151 lap event on Saturday, October 24 yet Eddie MacDonald survived the wreck-fest to post an incredible second place finish to bring to a close his late model 2015 racing season. Fifteen caution flags and three red flags plagued the event with two of the red flags thrown before a single lap could be completed.

"It was fun but it was crazy out there," said Eddie Mac while examining the damage to the once pristine Freddie Peterson owned Chevy. "This finish is so satisfying because of all the work the crew had to do on the car to get it race ready after it got whacked pretty good in the qualifying race. Then we got whacked again before we even ran a full lap to start the race. I really have to give credit to Rollie (LaChance), the crew, and Freddie (Peterson) for the tremendous effort. Everyone jumped in to help and I am thankful. We are lucky to have such a dedicated group of people."

Eddie Mac's trouble began while starting tenth in the fourth of four qualifying heats when the 01 car smashed into the right side of the #17 causing extensive damage to the fender, door, and knocking out the toe. Eddie Mac was able to finish fourth to qualify for the race and returned to the pits with lots of work to do. The team jumped into action and car owner Freddie Peterson showed his body work skills as he pounded out the heavily damaged door panel while Eddie Mac and the crew used the porta power to straighten the bent door bars. With the car reassembled, the crew reset the toe well before the feature was scheduled to begin.

When the green flag waved the 29 cars wasted little time as the front of the pack crashed hard into the turn three wall before completing the first lap while Eddie Mac escaped the melee from his 16th starting position. The first red flag stopped the field while the clean-up crew did their work. The second attempt to start the race ended with the same result with the leaders again crashing hard into the turn three wall to bring out another red flag. This time Eddie Mac suffered significant damage as the car following him did not lift and drove the Hancock Electric/Exit Realty Chevy hard into the pile of cars causing left side damage. When the yellow flag flew, the Rowley, Mass. veteran knew the toe had been knocked out again. Crew Chief made a strategic call to bring the car to the pits while clean-up continued to reset the toe. Eddie returned to the track without losing a lap to restart in the 23rd position.

"It was a great call by Rollie and I was able to hang back a little to check things out and the car ran good," said Eddie Mac. "I just barely missed a couple of more wrecks. I had to watch way ahead to have a chance of missing the wrecks. It looked like a pinball game sometimes with cars going everywhere. I did tell Rollie that the linkage was probably damaged in the earlier wreck because it kept jumping out of gear. Turns out after the race we found out the engine mounts were bent. We just hung in there and the car just kept getting better in spite of all the damage."

After a few more cautions, the #17 rode in the 13th place on lap 20 and into tenth on caution lap 29. Eddie Mac started moving to the front in earnest and held the seventh spot at halfway flag of the 151 lap event. A series of curious waved off restarts around lap 100 created a lot of beating and banging on the track while The Outlaw moved into contention. On lap 125 Eddie Mac ran third and hot on the heels of the #91 (Laperle) and chasing the #5 (Therrian) leader. After a big front stretch wreck on lap 138 and another puzzling waved off restart, Eddie Mac was able to make the pass on the #91 on lap 143 but could not catch the #5.
"With about 20 laps to go the car really started getting tight because I had a right rear tire going down," said Eddie Mac. "At that point I was just trying to finish the race and take the second place run. After all we had been through it would have been a shame to spin out with a flat tire before the end of the race. It was a rough race and the car is trashed but we had a great finish to close out the season."

"This team is special and I can't thank enough the crew and everyone who helps out to make us successful," said Eddie Mac. "Sheila and Freddie Peterson (Peterson's Auto Body in Peabody) are great owners and many thanks to Bobby Wood for all his support. Scott and Kenny Thompson (Hancock Electric in Quincy) have been fantastic sponsors for many years and we couldn't do this without them. Derek Beatrice from Exit Realty came on board last year and we thank him. Our K&N team owner Rob Grimm greatly supports our Late Model racing and I appreciate the support of Stilo, Schroth Racing, and HMS Motorsports. We are lucky to have so much support from our families and friends. Hopefully we will continue our efforts to win races next season. Thanks again and have a great holiday season."
Photos by
Richard Casey

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