(May 16, 2017) Speedway 660 has had its fair share of characters over the past 24 years. The late “Smokin” Joe Albert was quite the boy and was loved by race fans near and far. Today there are still a lot of drivers down at the track who love to have fun and entertain the fans. In this week’s Conversation we catch up with Kyle MacKinnon, one of our most exciting drivers.
A Conversation with Kyle MacKinnon
Wade: Hey Kyle welcome back to Speedway 660. It’s been a long winter but I know you have been working hard on your little Sharp Shooter to make another championship run in 2017.
Kyle: Well Wade it was a very long and cold winter with lots of snow. But we spent a lot of time on the car and tore it all apart and gave it the once over. When we were satisfied with the mechanical side of things we hung a new body on it and did a fancy paint job. I think we’re ready, but we’ll only find out for sure when we go racin this weekend. Knock on wood we are going to shoot for back to back championships. But it won’t be easy because the competition is pretty stiff at 660.If you like your racing three-wide, then you’ll love the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters. That’s Kyle, with the fancy green wheels, making a masterful move!
Wade: How did you first get interested in racing, who were your favourite drivers when you were a kid and how did you end up getting into this sport?
Kyle: When I was young there was only one racer in my books and that was my Dad. He raced a lot when I was a kid and was a big influence on me and still is to this day! So that’s where she all started and that’s how I grew to love the smell of tires and race fuel.Marshall Goodwin was an awesome driver “back-in-the-day.” Kyle grew up cheering for his father and thanks his Dad for inspiring his passion for racing.
Wade: They call you the “Lincoln Outlaw”. How did you come by that handle and what do you think of it?
Kyle: A bunch of us from Lincoln started talking about going racing and the next thing you know we all started working together and our little crew built six cars. We had a good time in the garage and at the track and someone labelled us the Lincoln Outlaws. For me the wins, DQs and a championship made the name stick. My Mom liked the name so much that she named her harness racing horse the Lincoln Outlaw after me. At first I didn’t know what to make of the name, but it really started to grow on me and now that’s what they call me and that’s who I am.We call him “The Lincoln Outlaw”, but Kyle loves winning races and making friends with fans of all ages. Who knows, Kyle’s little friend just might become race car driver someday.
Wade: You really had to run hard to win the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter championship in 2016. How did it feel to win it all and how hard will it be to repeat?
Kyle: It sure was a long, hard battle. But as my buddy Luc Maclaughlin said “You don’t have to finish first every week to take home the championship, just be consistent.” So when I won that Sharp Shooter championship last year, I was beside myself happy. This year I’m thinking it will be harder to take home the title because we’ve got some new competition and some of the veteran guys want that championship pretty bad. We’ll go out, race hard, have some fun and see what happens. Kyle’s hard work paid off with the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter championship in 2016. This year he’ll try to become the first Sharp Shooter to win back-to-back titles.
Wade: People love Pro Stock, Sportsman and Street Stock, which have been running at 660 since 1994. But lots of folks love the little Sharp Shooters which started racing here in 2010. What is it about your division that gets the fans and drivers so excited?
Kyle: It has to be the excitement of these little cars going that fast and making moves that you don’t see in other classes. When was the last time you watched Pro Stocks go three wide into the corner? For us, that’s where the fun begins. As a Sharp Shooter driver you don’t have to spend all your money on a race car. It’s a very affordable class that let’s you hop into racing and get out there in front of the great Speedway 660 fans.Here’s a neat shot from July of 2015. Kyle is in the thick of things, kicking up a little dust and trading a little paint with his Sharp Shooter buddies!
Wade: You are one of the biggest promoters of Speedway 660 and stock car racing. I know you are always encouraging people to come out and see the races. Why have you taken on the role of ambassador for 660?
Kyle: Racing is what I do. I may not be the best driver out there, but my heart is in this sport. In my mind if we put on a good show, people in the stands are going to get excited and tell their friends and bring more fans out to the track. Without you fans we have no sport. I remember traveling with Dad and the stands were always full. Drivers, sponsors, track owners and promoters all need to work together to bring the fans out. Once someone comes to see us, I know they’ll be back for more. Long live short track racing!Kyle respects and appreciates our fans. He knows his job is to race hard and entertain the great folks who come through the gates every week at Speedway 660.
Wade: I know you have thought about moving up to Street Stock. Is that something we might see happen in the future?
Kyle: LOL I have dreams Wade. I really wanted to jump up to Street Stock this year but it costs a lot more money than the Sharp Shooters. We are hoping to maybe have a car ready later this season, let’s say on a weekend that’s very busy and has lots of speed! But for now we’re going to jump into our little Sharp Shooter this weekend and get after it!Kyle hopes to someday get out there to mix it up with the DMR Auto Sales Street Stock drivers. But right now he’s content to chase another Sharp Shooter title.
Wade: Fans want to know what drivers do away from the track. So tell us a little bit about yourself, what you work at and what you like to do when you aren’t building, fixing or driving a race car?
Kyle: I’m a mechanic so I’m always wrenching on cars at Lincoln Auto. We do good work, at a reasonable rate and treat our customers like family. This winter I decided to change it up a bit and help the Crocker boys (Matt and Tyler) with some snowmobile racing. I just couldn’t stay away from racing. I’m just your average Kyle and like to work hard, play a little and relax every once in awhile.
Wade: One more thing Kyle. The late “Smokin Joe” Albert was a fan favourite and had the best beard in racin. Now you’ve got the best beard in racing and have also become a big fan favourite. I know all of your fans hope you have another great season, so good luck out there!
Kyle: If I could become half the driver old Joe was, I’d be a happy man. He was one of my heroes. You say I’ve got the best beard in racin, well it won’t get cut off anytime soon because Smokin Joe once told me that he only trimmed his beard when it got in the way of the steering wheel. “Smokin” Joe Albert is the Most Popular Driver of all time at Speedway 660. Kyle really looked up to Joe and appreciates what he meant to our sport.
Wade: A driver needs lots of support to go racing. Who helps you out?
Kyle: I’d really like to thank my sponsors: New Beginning Vape Studio; TWD Freight Handlers; Capital City Auto Parts; Jared Hill at Jimmy Gilberts; Papa Georgios and; Old Saltys. My girlfriend Leigh is very supportive and that means a lot to me. When things get a little hot down at the track, she’s pretty good at telling me to calm down. My Mom and Dad (Barb and Marshall Goodwin) help me stay in a race car. And of course my dog Clutch who stays home alone, all day, every race day. Thank all you fans for coming out and watching us fools go round and round in circles. Hope to see ya all there this weekend.