Drag Racer Doing it for Dad

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DANVILLE -- A local drag racer won a September race at the Numidia Dragway, qualifying him for a national race in California. His career is reaching new heights in memory of his dad, whose car he races in.

"I was in the final of the biggest race of my life and I just couldn't stop smiling," said Mike Mackey of Paxinos.

That smile on Mackey's face has been a permanent fixture of late. The drag racer from Northumberland County recently took first place in Division 1 of the NHRA Sportsman Class Summit Series. The biggest win of his career now qualifies him for November's NHRA finals in California.

"I go from screaming and celebrating to crying in the car, to having a panic attack and trying to get my helmet off and I couldn't breathe," said Mackey. "I just couldn't wait to see everybody to celebrate when I got to the finish line."

"When the win light came on, I jumped on Krystal Dunn and hugged her to death. And just knowing everybody was there with us: our friends, our family. It just was mayhem," said Heidi Mackey, Mike's wife.

Mike Mackey says the best part of the story is that he's reached the highlight of his career in the car this his father Bob left for him after he passed away about five years ago.

"Every race I run, every win is for him. I get very emotional, so it's a very hard thing for me to talk about. He gave me the ability and helped me build my cars and make all this happen. Without him, I wouldn't have any of it."

"Bob was a big part of Mike's life for so long and when we lost him, it was sudden. Every round, every race is in honor of him and in memory of him. Every race he wins, he puts on the window, 'Thanks Dad.'"

And if Bob Mackey could have been there to see Mike win the race, he says his dad would have been ecstatic.

"My dad would be nuts. He wouldn't be able to stop smiling right now. He would have the biggest smile on his face. That's what he was known for and he would just be so excited and proud of me."

Mackey's friends, family, and the 1969 Dodge Dart will be flying out to California for the finals. And while his father is flying high above, maybe he will be able to reunite briefly with his beloved car as it's in the air.


  • banananas

    We need Mike Stevens for stories like this. Dragstrips and the numerous hiking destinations in NEPA are the only places I feel safe from idiot mentalities that sell the aura as something else entirely. This is a contradiction to the base of WNEP’s every day ‘reporting’, which is a shame. It seems like his wife called them to announce a national event, and I wish them the best anyway. That car aint flying to CA, and there was no mention of the team of people that it takes to get to the finals like that. I dare Joe Snedeker or Scott Schaffer (because of on camera personality, not gender) to take that Subaru down the track on a Friday night next spring. Maybe you can be more in touch with the community that you are supposed to serve instead of observe? You can still win with a slow car if you are bracket racing and stay consistent. The rush on the starting line is unbelievable for 27 bucks.

    • Givemeabreak

      Dragstrips for me is where the idiot mentality hangs out. I don’t really enjoy hanging out with a bunch of crude gearheads that have nothing really to talk about other than their car, sports, and how great they think they are with their over inflated egos because they have a fast car. It’s all what you are in to. Different strokes for different folks. It doesn’t mean your way is better than mine or vice versa. We all aren’t the same.

      • 10 second GTX

        Well i guess we are not all the same as you seem to think if Drag Racers are idiots as your first sentence explains. Jim Coles and the other one would not know a fuel car if one ran them over. Also you have a racing Legend in our community. If it was not for Joe Amato you would not know what a speed shop is. Try 10,000 horsepower on for size. It is pretty sad the only excitement nascar has in 6 hours of tv is a crash.

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