by Kari Shear-Carlson / Sept 3, 2015 - If you ask Griffin McGrath of Cedar Rapids, IA how his season’s been going, chances are you might get a little sideways glance and some laughter with a comment such as, “What season?” McGrath, a Friday night regular at Hawkeye Downs Speedway, has not had the most favorable of seasons. As racing goes, you win some, you lose some, and sometimes you have to rebuild them. So maybe if you ask him, he’ll tell you how much fun he’s been having away from the race track.
But this Saturday, Sept 5th, Griffin McGrath will return to his home track for the ARCA Midwest Tour presented by Scag Power Equipment’s Coors Light Summer Shootout presented by McGrath Powersports and Liz Girl Logistics, along with drivers spanning from six other states.
McGrath has been racing at Hawkeye Downs Speedway since 2003. He started in a hobby stock and admittedly wasn’t sure what he got into. “We had no idea what we were doing.” But they must have figured it out, because he has accumulated an estimated 25 or more late model victories at the track, and in 2007, the team started traveling to various late model events around the Midwest.
McGrath raced two full season with the Midwest Tour in 2010 and 2011, and since has joined the Tour for occasional events. He holds the Midwest Tour track record at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA and last year, McGrath finished second to Erik Jones in the Midwest Tour event at the Milwaukee Mile. He wasn’t just going up against the best of the ARCA Midwest Tour, but some of the best in the country. There is one Midwest Tour event McGrath never misses…Oktoberfest at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Last year he finished third. “I ended up finishing behind Travis (Sauter) and Dan (Fredrickson)…some of the best.”
So needless to say, when Griffin McGrath races in an ARCA Midwest Tour event, he’s a strong contender for the win. This Saturday night, the best of the best will be rolling onto his home turf. As far as holding any advantages over them, McGrath sees it both ways.
“I do and I don’t think we have any advantages. We know what will be fast here and no one has raced a super late on the track since the Tour was here last year. We’ve only practiced one time since then. But for some reason, at a track you race at all the time, you seem to get bad habits. Hawkeye Downs can cause this,’ said McGrath.
McGrath noted that the goal for his team is to maintain speed for 100 laps. He admits the Tour guys have that advantage because they race 100 lap events a couple times a month. “They are just more in tune. They know what the tire’s been doing, etc. But I do believe we stack up very well,” he added.
Regardless of the season, or lack of season he has had, and whether he has any advantages or disadvantages, Griffin summed up his thoughts going into this Saturday night’s event in one word, “Excited!”
Griffin could not do what he is doing without the incredible support of all of his sponsors, Rinderknecht, McGrath Powersports, McGrath Hawkeye Harley-Davidson, McGrathauto.com, KGYM, CRBT, and a special thanks to crew chief, Rusty Shadden.
The ARCA Midwest Tour will be joined by the Mid-American Stock Car Series and Legends cars. Spectator gates open at 5:00pm. Qualifying will get started at 5:45pm. Opening ceremonies for the full night of racing will begin at 6:45pm with racing to follow at 7:00pm.
For more event details, log on to arcamidwesttour.com
Be sure to follow the ARCA Midwest Tour on Facebook (/midwesttour) and Twitter (@midwesttour).
To learn more about the Automobile Racing Club of America Midwest Tour, log on to arcamidwesttour.com. The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedway.