Joined: 04 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 7:23 pm Post subject: NASCAR's XM NATION
|Posted on Sat, Feb. 01, 2003
Fans help fuel McLaughlin's dream, team
By JIM UTTER
It started with a news report by XM Satellite Radio's NASCAR reporter, Claire B. Lang.
It's now become a mission.
Following Lang's airing of an interview with Mike and Katie McLaughlin on Tuesday in which the couple discussed the folding of McLaughlin's new NASCAR Busch series team, Angela's Motorsports, due to financial problems with the owner, Lang's weekday listeners responded in force.
Nicknamed the "XM Nation," fans have swamped XM's call-in lines and flooded the office with email filled with pledges to help fund McLaughlin's dream of winning the Busch series opener at Daytona.
The response traveled to new heights Friday, when Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for 2002 Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, donated $10,000 to getting McLaughlin's team to Daytona.
"If it wasn't for Mike McLaughlin I would never have had the chance to win the championship here in Winston Cup," Zipadelli said on the air Friday. "He's like a brother to me and anything we can do to help out, we're gonna.
"There's a lot of people that have worked hard to get where they are at, but I don't believe there's anybody that's wanted it any more or worked any harder than Mike has."
The team McLaughlin and crew chief Harold Holly had assembled was impressive and their car performed well at the preseason test last month at Daytona.
"This has been a very tough week for all of us involved with the team, but I am not going to let this defeat me," McLaughlin said.
"I have to follow my heart and do everything possible to win the Koolerz 300. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to chase my dream."
The campaign to get the team to Daytona for the season opener has been dubbed "Hopes and Dreams 2003."
It began with listeners on XM Radio pledging their support. Now, two additional avenues have been established should fans or other interested parties wish to donate money to the effort.
McLaughlin has secured the use of the car he tested with in Daytona and will be joined in Daytona by many of the team members from his former team.
Jay Robinson Racing will be listed as the owner of the No. 39 Ford. Earlier this week, Robinson purchased the assets of McLaughlin's former team.
Donations may be mailed to the Mike McLaughlin Fan Club, P.O. Box 45, Waterloo, NY 13165; or secure donations may be made on-line by visiting www.paypal.com and sending the donation to firstname.lastname@example.org.