By Bill Sullivan, Racing for the Troops
ELK GROVE, CA – It’s the day every Father that races cannot wait for, when their child straps behind the wheel and follows in their footsteps. For Bobby McMahan, that day has finally come now that young Sean McMahan has made his debut in full sized sprint car racing. In three events, the youngest member of the McMahan wheelmen is showing he has what it takes to run with the best in the sport that has been a form of life for this family for decades.
“I’ve never been so proud and nervous at the same time in my life, I can’t stop shaking, said Bobby McMahan as he watched his 16-year-old son take to the track competitively at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico for the first time two weeks ago. “I always looked forward to when this day came but it’s not easy. I remember how scared I was out there for the first time. He’s doing really good though.”
After racing successfully in outlaw karts, Sean McMahan graduated to the full sized sprint car in style. Behind the wheel of the #26 that has been his father’s number for much of his career. The second generation McMahan is racing under the banner of the Racing for the Troops Sprint Car Team along with his father and Sean Becker. However, he is behind the wheel of a car that is fielded by the McMahan family to begin what looks to be a competitive sprint car racing career.
For his sprint car racing debut, Sean McMahan had the full attention of his father in the pit area. Bobby McMahan is the 2009 Silver Dollar Speedway track champion and chose not to race on this special night to focus on the needs of Sean. In his first ever competition McMahan qualified 17th , finished 6th in his heat race and drove from 18th to 13th in the A-feature.
“My first race was intense,” said the younger McMahan. “I was so excited to finally be in a sprint car, knowing that one day I would be racing against my Dad and my Uncle Paul. The power of these cars is mind blowing. I went from four cylinders to eight. I brought the car home in one piece and made my Dad pretty proud. It meant a lot to me to see all the people coming to our trailer and congratulating me on how well I did. Some even said I’m going to be a contender which means a lot because I want to be someday.”
For his second event, both father and son took to the track at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico on July 3. Sean returned to the seat of the #26 while his father wheeled the Brian Sperry-Racing for the Troops #51 for the night. On this night, Sean finished 7th in his heat race while Bobby took the preliminary win. In the 25-lap feature he ended up 16th overall and Bobby placed in the ninth position.
“I was a little more nervous in my second race because I was racing against my Dad and I didn’t want to make him look bad,” mused McMahan. “Again, I brought the car home in one piece so it was a good night.”
On Juky 4th, both father and son competed on a heat dried race track. Becker returned to the team as well aboard the #51 car while Bobby McMahan moved back into the #26b for the night. At the end of the evening Bobby McMahan fnished in the fourth position, Becker took home fifth and Sean McMahan finished in 17th.
“On Sunday the track was really dry slick until the main and my crew chief, Keith Espindola, said I was the first one to find the rubber,” said Sean McMahan. “I got as high as tenth and Mark Hall pulled a mean slide job and I let my right rear slip over the edge and ended up 17th. It was still a good night.”
“It was exciiteing for all of us to watch Sean in his first few races with the team,” said Bobby McMahan. “He did just like we told him out there and used his head most of the time. He isn’t afraid to use the gas pedal that’s for sure. I really think he is going to do well at this level with time.”
Steve Harris Racing and the Racing for the Troops sprint car team have a number of marketing partners for the 2010 racing season. Proud supporters of the team include World Environmental Energy Incorporated, C & H Service Disabled Veterans Enterprises, Benic Enterprises, Simpson Race Products Butler Built Seats, SS Racing, Art Enterprises, and Redline Oil.
The Racing for the Troops team is proud to honor military veterans and active duty service members. They carry the legacy started by the late Steve Harris by educating the public on the needs of those returning from war and supporting activities which provide resources to America’s active military, veterans and their families. You can learn more about the Racing for the Troops Sprint Car Team including its history and its mission by visiting their website at www.racingforthetroops.com.