Canuck wants to bring NASCAR title home

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:05 PM ET

RICHMOND, Va. -- Randy MacDonald does not want to be the answer to a trivia question, as in: Name the lone Canadian team owner in any of NASCAR's three top series.

In fact, MacDonald has owned teams in both the NASCAR Campers World Truck series and the Nationwide Series and his No. 81 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge has raced in just about every NNS event for the past three seasons.

But he would rather be known as the Canadian who could bring a championship home.

MacDonald grew up in Oshawa in the shadow of General Motors' massive automotive manufacturing complex and dreamed of the day he could drive one of those cars himself. And once he got that illusive licence, he moved to his next dream: Being a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver.

"My dad insisted I get an education," he said. "So off I went to the University of Waterloo."

There MacDonald earned a degree in mechanical engineering, but the moment school was out he was at Mosport Speedway, or Peterborough Speedway every weekend living the dream.

"My dad was a businessman who let me dream," he said. "Most kids follow their dads into the family business; my dad followed me into the racing business."

The whole family moved south to North Carolina in the 1980s so Randy could be closer to the stock car racing business.

"A few years in, my dream of being a Sprint Cup driver died," MacDonald said. "But my passion for the sport did not."

Again with his father by his side, MacDonald started his own race team, first in the former Craftsman Truck Series.

The team operated on a shoe-string budget but it earned a reputation of being a good place to learn racing.

"But the expense versus the return in the truck series was just not a good business model," MacDonald said.

He almost gave up, even starting up his own used car sales business at one point. But the racing bug still had a bite for the competitor in him.

So he invested just about everything he had into the Nationwide No. 81 team.

His reputation as a good teacher allowed him to put together a team that mixed raw rookies who were looking to get a start and veterans looking to stay in racing.

"We can't compete budget-wise with the big guns of NASCAR like Rick Hendrick, Roger Penske or Joe Gibbs," he said.

However he keeps above water -- barely -- he says.

What he isn't is a start-and-parker, those team owners who are interested more in a cheque than actual racing.

"I still have a passion for the sport, I couldn't see myself doing that," he said.

MacDonald is encouraged by seeing some Canadian corporations -- like Canadian Tire -- getting into sponsoring racing as they are doing with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

"Hey, maybe they could give me a call," he said.

More than 30 years after it began MacDonald still holds on to his dream.

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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