McLAUGHLIN: Winning Daytona drives dream

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Editor's note: After turning the 10th-fastest lap during Busch testing at Daytona a little over a week ago, driver 's team closed its doors. But McLaughlin's dream of returning to Daytona to race continues. For more on the story and how fans, friends and total strangers are helping McLaughlin, Everybody out there has dreams of winning. That's why we race. We all want to win. Unfortunately there's only one winner per week, and there are only a handful that win through the course of a season. Dreams put me into the sport. I love it, and I never dreamed of making it this far in my career. I've had a lot of good opportunities. I love the series, and Daytona is like the Mack Daddy. That's the one to win. I've always had that dream of winning Daytona, and I'm this close. I'm not going to stop now.

Fans power the dream

The fan support is kind of overwhelming really. To be honest with you, I didn't think I had that kind of following. My wife, Katie, has done a tremendous job helping out. On the financial end of it, we're putting in what we can do. There's been an overwhelming amount of support from friends and people who I don't even know. It's wild. The other thing that I didn't understand was there are so many people out there in my situation, but I guess the chain of events leading up to this point led to the support that I've gotten. The fan's momentum is going to help get me to Daytona, that's for sure. I'm just trying to assemble a group of guys to go down and get the job done. We tested decent, and right now, we're just trying to cover all of our bases as far as prepping the car and getting the engine program ready. Robert Yates is going to supply the engines. We've got to round up a crew to pit the car so there are a lot variables -- a lot of things that we need to address -- and that's what we're doing right now.

Friends give team hope

Jay Robinson has bought everything that we need, including the cars. They need work. I've hired some guys for the next two weeks. When they're not working on the Daytona car, I'm going to have them prepa car for Rockingham and do whatever we can do in case we do have sponsorship to continue past Daytona. If we don't, we've just helped out Jay, who has been more than good to us in trying to put together this opportunity to go to Daytona. Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for my 1987 Featherlite Modified Tour championship, has given $10,000 to our team. He has been an awesome friend for a lot of years. He would have made it to Winston Cup without me. I just may have coaxed him to come down to Charlotte when he did. That kid has got an incredible amount of ability. He's the man right now, and he always will be in my book. I just want to thank everyone for their support. We're going to Daytona. I just can't thank the people like Zippy and the fans enough.

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