Eddie MacDonald won the Helluva Good Fall 125 after a one-day rain delay at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on a last lap pass to clinch both races at the "Magic Mile" this season. As in the June race, the NEMO/Grimm-sponsored Chevy was the dominant car from the green flag in the NASCAR Camping World Series East event. Pit strategy played an important role in winning the event, while some of the lead cars gambled and lost.
MacDonald started third after qualifying last Thursday with a time of 30.190 seconds (126.161 mph) and wasted little time taking the lead on the first lap on the Saturday morning start. A planned early pit stop for gas on a lap 18 caution gave up the lead, but the Rowley driver surged to regain the top spot on lap 38.
"This win is huge for us and the reason is the car was so good right away. After our practice session, we were ninth fastest, but crew chief Rollie LaChance made the right changes and we qualified well," said a very pleased driver in victory lane. "The car was so fast and handled great in the turns, I was able to work my way back through the field."
MacDonald easily maintained a three- to four-car length lead on the No. 1 car of Trevor Bayne with the No. 55 of Brad Leighton closing then eventually taking the lead on lap 77. Slipping back to third, MacDonald got his wish on caution lap 91.
"I was worried because halfway through, I started getting real tight, then I lost the lead to Leighton," MacDonald said. "I was hoping Rollie was going to call me in for tires and fuel, When he did, I was worried then because we were a good ways back with not many laps to go. It was a little tight at the end but it really helped us run on the outside. Then it got really good the last 10 laps, and I could get on the throttle and get a good run down the straight. I was able to pick the cars off one at a time. If we didn't take tires, we were probably a third-place car. The tires made all the difference"
On lap 97, MacDonald ran 15th and by lap 113 moved into fifth place. With seven laps to go, the No. 44 hit the wall, the No. 55 ran out of gas, and the No. 4 of Ricky Carmichael went to the pits, leaving MacDonald to chase down the No. 35 of Steve Park for the win. With the white flag waving, MacDonald powered by the No. 35 to take the checkers for the second win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
A jubilant driver said afterward, "This win is just as good as the first one here in June. The first one was awesome because it was our first here and then to come back and do it again means a whole lot to this team. It has really helped us in the points because we had a couple of bad runs with blown engines. Today, everything worked in our favor. Hopefully we can go to Dover next weekend and do it again."
A smiling LaChance said in Victory Lane, "I was really happy with the car right off the bat. We peaked again too, early and I was praying for a caution earlier because I wanted to take tires on. We were just trying to peak again but the tires weren't the greatest so Eddie had to make up the difference, and he did."
Rob Grimm, owner of Grimm Construction Racing team said of the win, "Unbelievable. It really is to win two in a row at Loudon. This is our biggest event, and to win it twice is huge. Rollie called the shots, taking tires at the right time, and Eddie gets up on the wheel and gets the job done. You can't ask for anything better than to get it on the last lap and the fans got a good show. We have had a couple of tough weeks so we are looking forward to Dover and Stafford. They have been good tracks for us."
New England Mechanical Overlay sponsor Ron Bennett shared his feelings saying, "Huge, huge, absolutely huge, I am very happy for Eddie, his family and the crew. I don't even know what to say. I am very happy. To do it on the last lap was incredible. He looked good early then went back a little, but he did it."