Spring (By Tyson Graves)
Over the past few seasons open wheel modified fans have come to know the name Mike McKinney. The Plainfield, IL driver has had a lot of success on dirt tracks in the Midwest and came up just short of winning the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals in 2019. But in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic many racers seasons were delayed. This led to the rise of the ever-growing popular online racing game called iRacing. This was new to some but not to the young man from Plainfield, IL.
We learned over the past couple years that Mike has been an online racer for years and his online racing had even contributed to new friendships. Mike met Kyle Larson online nearly ten years ago racing. When Kyle came to the famed Fairbury Speedway for the 2018 World of Outlaw Sprint Car event Larson leaned on McKinney to give him some pointers on how to get around the fast bullring dubbed “America’s Dirt Track.”
All this set the stage for McKinney to take his skills to online racing in the spring of 2020 when all the racetracks were shut down. Even though it was online racing it whet the appetite for those craving to race. Fans even begin to enjoy watching the stars of racing compete and many events became nationally televised. Mike during one of the early races proved his skill and won an event for all the nation to see. Mike immediately became a household name as he ran up front in many other national televised races.
After racing got back underway McKinney showed he was not just good behind the computer but could also win behind the wheel of his Elite Chassis. Mike won a couple Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals events including the opener at Brownstown Speedway. Mike also won several FALS Cup races at Fairbury Speedway and dominated weekly at Farmer City Raceway winning ten feature events. But winning on National TV will be one of the moments in 2020 that all the McKinney fans will remember.
Photo: Dylan Graves