By Chris Tilley, Series P.R. Coordinator
WOODSTOCK, GA (May 19, 2015)—Donald McIntosh is looking forward to coming home to tracks that he’s quite familiar with.
The 22-year-old Dawsonville, Ga. driver comes into the final three Old Man’s Garage Spring Nationals Series by Schaeffer’s Oil events not only in the points chase hunt but he also gets to race in his home state of Georgia. The Spring Nationals Series will sanction events at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, Ga. on Friday May 22nd, Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga. on Saturday May 23rd and Rome (Ga.) Speedway on Sunday May 24th.
Not only is McIntosh in a new ride for this year’s Georgia swing, but he’s a former champion at two of the three tracks. He sits just 32 points out of lead in the series standings behind leader Chris Madden and just 18 markers behind Billy Ogle Jr. for second spot heading into this weekend.
McIntosh was the 2013 Dixie and Rome Speedway track champion in the super late model division. The two tracks, which are located just minutes from Atlanta, Ga. are no pushovers when it comes to competition by any means. Georgia greats like Bill Ingram, Wade Knowles, four-time champion Stan Massey, Tony Reaid and Rodney Martin have cut their teeth at Dixie Speedway. Even NASCAR great Bill Elliott, also from Dawsonville, Ga. has turned numerous laps at the track dubbed “The Home of the Champions”.
When a name is added to the track champions list at either Dixie or Rome Speedway, they join an elite list of drivers and by McIntosh’s standards it’s quite an amazing feat. “It was very surreal to be able to come into the super late model and come out ahead, it was really awesome,” stated McIntosh on claiming the track championship at the Swims’ Family-promoted ovals. “We went out at every race, we learned, just doing the best we could and came out on top,” recalled McIntosh.
Before winning the championship at Dixie and Rome Speedways, McIntosh competed in the crate late model division starting with the 2010 season and just a handful of races on his schedule. He continued in the crate class during the 2011 season and finally moved into the super late model division in the 2012 season. McIntosh captured his first win in the super late models during the 2013 season at Dixie Speedway and went on to take the title.
Although McIntosh credits Dixie and Rome as his home tracks, he actually took his first laps in a dirt late model at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, Ga. McIntosh says this is his favorite track. “It’s the first place I raced on dirt, it’s definitely my favorite track and you can always run top to bottom, it’s not lane dominant,” stated McIntosh. “I always enjoy running at Dixie Speedway. It has such a great atmosphere. I started there and learned the dirt and the cars there. I really do enjoy racing there,” McIntosh went on to say.
Before his turn in the dirt late model, McIntosh had a predominant asphalt racing background. In just his first season with the Spring Nationals Series, McIntosh finished third in the final 2014 totals. He’s yet to win a Spring Nationals Series race but since moving to the Blount Motorsports entry last September, the Georgia driver has claimed a couple of big victories. McIntosh took the victory during the Southern Allstar-sanctioned ‘Turkey Gobble’ event at Boyd’s Speedway last November and even claimed the off-season ‘Hangover 40’ event win at 411 Motor Speedway near Seymour, Tenn. on New Year’s Day.
McIntosh has gone through sort of a qualifying slump this season but his performance during competition has backed up the tough preliminary runs. He’s even led the field during a recent World of Outlaws Late Model Series-sanctioned event at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway in April before mechanical problems forced him pit-side. “I’ve made some qualifying mistakes but (Crew Chief) David (Bryant) has made some great changes and got me good enough we can get to the front and pass some cars.”
Blount Motorsports crew chief David Bryant and driver McIntosh have made a good connection during the last six months and McIntosh feels that attributes to the team’s success. “We come from different sides of the spectrum. David has so much experience and I don’t have that kind of background since I came from the asphalt stuff. He’s great to work with and we’ve made some good changes,” said McIntosh. One major change was the chassis brand. During 2013 on the tour, McIntosh piloted his father David’s Club 29 race car but since moving to Blount Motorsports, Donald has made the adjustment to a new chassis as the team runs the Rocket Chassis brand of chassis.
When asked if McIntosh feels he has an advantage on the teams of the tour going into this weekend’s final three Spring Nationals Series point events, his attitude is positive. “We had a good run earlier in the year at Dixie (during the March Southeastern Classic) and I feel we’re better on the short tracks than the longer tracks,” stated the former track champion. McIntosh indeed rallied from his tenth starting spot in the unsanctioned Southeastern Classic at Dixie (Ga.) Speedway to finish behind Ray Cook and eventual winner Jason Hiett during the early March opener.
The Old Man’s Garage Spring Nationals Series’ final three point events will kick off at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, Ga. on Friday Night May 22nd with a 40-lap $4,000-to-win event followed by another $4,000-to-win race on Saturday Night May 23rd at Dixie (Ga.) Speedway and the finale event on Sunday Night May 24 at Rome (Ga.) Speedway paying $6,000-to-win.
For more information on Dixie and Rome Speedway, please log on to www.DixieSpeedway.com .
Further information on the Spring Nationals, Southern Nationals and Southern Nationals Bonus Series can be obtained by calling Promoter Ray Cook at (828) 360-5353 or Series P.R. Coordinator Chris Tilley at (606) 219-1723 or visit the official website located at www.SouthernNationalsSeries.com .
-Jeff Smith, Dixie & Rome Speedway track historian contributed to this article.