By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
2018 marks the debut of another second-generation driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Max McLaughlin, the son of “Magic Shoes” Mike McLaughlin will make his Truck Series debut for Niece Motorsports. The younger McLaughlin will make four starts with the team.
In 2017, McLaughlin finished ninth in the points standings in the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series. He was also voted the most-popular driver in the series. McLaughlin earn victories at Fulton and Brewerton Speedways. He also won on the big stage at Super DIRT Week, taking home the trophy in the Triple 30 Feature. McLaughlin ultimately set five fast times, breaking four track records in the process.
“Max is a great talent, and we are looking forward to working with him this season,” said team owner Al Niece. “We are in a great position to help develop young talent as we continue to grow our program. Our hope is that we can move into 2019 on a fulltime basis with Max.”
McLaughlin will join Austin Wayne Self and Justin Fontaine at Niece Motorsports. Self is in just his second full season while Fontaine is competing for Rookie of the Year honors. Although Niece Motorsports is composed of mainly young talent, the team is aligned with GMS Racing.
“Aligning with Niece Motorsports is a great opportunity for me,” said Max. “I’m excited to work with the team and to get some experience behind the wheel of these trucks. Hopefully we can have some strong runs this year and can put together something for next year, too. I’ve been spending time in the shop with the crew, learning as much as I can. I’m just really trying to make the most of this great opportunity. I will be running fulltime in Big Block Modifieds for HBR team owner Al Heinke, and remain focused on the 2018 championship. It’s going to be a busy year, but I am very excited for all the opportunities I have been given.”
In 25 starts, Niece Motorsports has just seven finishes inside the top-15. Cody Efaw, the current General Manager of Niece Motorsports, was the crew chief in 22 of those starts, and all seven top-15s.
“There is a lot of excitement surrounding Max, and we are excited to be a part of it,” said Efaw. “We hope to get him as much seat time as possible this season, which should put us in a great position next year.”
McLaughlin’s crew chief, sponsor, number, and race schedule will be announced later.