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Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

Local racer making his mark

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Mack shoots for Top 5 finish in Mid-America

BENTON -- Local Dirt Late Model racer Joey Mack entered the 2002 racing season with one goal in mind: winning Rookie of the Year honors in the Mid-America Racing Series. Mission accomplished.

Last year the Benton racer took the series by storm, finishing eighth in overall points with two Top 5 and seven Top 10 finishes. It was the best performance by a rookie in the history of the four-year series.

"We were very pleased," said Mack. "We raced with the best Dirt Late Model racers in a 10-state area. Just to be able to race against those guys is a blessing in itself, much less winning the Rookie of the Year title."

Mack edged out hot prospect Dewaine Hottinger for the rookie title, racing in 28 of 32 events scheduled for eight different states.

"We didn't always have the fastest car, but we were always in the race," said Mack. "We knew that was going to be what it took to win. You've got to make the race before you can get any points for being in them."

The Mid-America Racing Series will open the 2003 season on April 11 at Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark. Entering his second full season in the series, Mack is looking for bigger and better things this year...like a Top 5 finish.

So what will it take to accomplish this new goal?

"More than what we've got," said Mack. "We're short a motor. Right now we've got a primary car and a secondary car. We would like to have another car that's just as good as our primary. Our biggest goal right now is to get two identical pieces of equipment."

Mack's primary car is a Ford Mustang. His backup is a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His equipment may be lacking, but thanks to great help, Mack has gotten the most out of what he's got.

His pit was named Pit Crew of the Year on the MARS series last season.

"We have a new car that we picked up two weeks ago, and we're putting it together right now," said crew chief and Joey's brother Andy Mack. "Mechanically, we're pretty sound right now. We're running a little short on money to finish up, but we're going to have a really good car for this upcoming year."

Other members of Mack's pit crew include father David Mack, Dietrich Bollinger, Brian Gilpin, David Gilpin and Howie Bollinger.

"We've really learned a bunch (from a technology standpoint)," said Andy Mack. "We've got some buddies out in North Carolina that have been helping us quite a bit. We've got lots of info on aerodynamics and suspension. We should have a really good car, and Joey always does a good job driving it. We should be in really good shape."

Current sponsors include High's Gift Shop in Commerce, Boomland, Brock Milam Masonry, GRT Race Cars, Kuntz & Company Racing Engines and JFR Graphics.

"We've learned more about racing on the road than we've ever learned racing around here," said Mack. "Not that we don't like coming home to race, but you definitely learn more racing against the best. That's the only way you get better. We would like to win at least one race and finish Top 5."