The Camping World RV Sales 301 was a special one for Eddie MacDonald, a native of Rowley, Mass., that cut his racing teeth as a youngster at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The six-time Magic Mile K&N Pro Series East and American-Canadian Tour race winner got his first-ever start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on July 13, and it was a certainly a memorable day - on and off the track.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the 34-year-old MacDonald to talk about what it was like to race with the best drivers in NASCAR in front of his home crowd:
What was the overall experience like now that you've had a couple weeks to reflect?
It was absolutely an amazing experience. I never thought I'd ever get the chance to run a Sprint Cup race. And for it to come at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it made it that much more exciting. It's been my favorite track over the years. I've been able to win there in different series, so to be able to run my first Cup race there was just awesome.
Driving the No. 32 for Go FAS Racing sponsored by TryAndrozene.com
I can't thank Archie St. Hillaire for giving me the opportunity and Mike Alden (CEO and President of Blue Vase Marketing) for providing the sponsorship. It was an incredible opportunity and a great experience all around.
Any potential to drive the car again in September?
Honestly, there hasn't been any talk of it yet. It's a little far out for the team to look ahead. We'll just play it by ear and see what happens.
What was the morning of the race like for you?
The anticipation to see how everything was going to play out made me a little anxious. I just wanted to make sure that I showed the appropriate amount of respect to the front-running teams. I didn't want to have any altercations with those guys on the track, and screw up there day - and potentially screw up our day, too. So I had a lot of things going through my head as I prepared, but all in all the day came and went pretty fast.
Battle with Ryan Truex for position in final green-white-checker …
They were telling me to track him down. There was a green-white-checker, so we were able to get the pass on him in the last restart and get that extra point for those guys (Go FAS Racing team), and hopefully that will help them for the rest of the season.
Any moment during the race that sticks out?
I was focused on my own program, but it's kind of bittersweet getting passed by Dale Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson - guys like that. It's definitely exciting just to be out on the track with them. It's always been a lifelong dream to be able to do that. I obviously wish I was rather racing them for position, but the whole thing about the day was just really amazing.
What was it like to come out onto the pre-race stage and hear your name announced in front of nearly 100,000 race fans?
It definitely went by quick, but it was certainly exciting to have family and friends from the area be there on one of the biggest race days of the year in New England. Then to ride around in the back of the truck, waving to fans and see so many familiar faces screaming through the fence. It was a lot of fun.
Is there a moment that sticks out to you from the July race weekend more than any other?
Friday morning; getting into the Cup garage for the first time. To see all the guys you've watched every single weekend, and see the cars rolling around and all the crews working hard. Walking in and knowing that you're going to be in that race for the first time, it was something special. I've been around there forever. I've always been able to get into the infield, from the time I was a little kid. To be able to walk into the Cup garage and know that I would actually be out there and a part of that race. Wow, that really was something, no doubt.