McBride retires after 40-plus years of stock car racing
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
For more than 40 years, race fans at area dirt tracks, especially Shawano Speedway, have become accustomed to watching the familiar No. 5 Late Model driven by Shawano’s M.J. McBride. Race fans won’t get to see this sight anymore, as McBride announced during the offseason that he was hanging up his racing helmet and retiring from racing.
McBride says he still enjoys racing, but it is just time to do something else.
“I just believe it’s time,” McBride says. “I’ve been in it long enough. I enjoyed our run in the racing business over the years as far as our relationship with the crews and families and there are some things we want to pursue.”
McBride admits that the retirement decision is something that he and his wife, Marilyn, discussed the whole summer of 2010.
“This year (2010) at the end we decided it was best to do it now because I think as we got closer to spring it’d be hard to do it because you would want to go racing,” McBride said shortly after his retirement announcement. “We decided to tear everything down and put it up for sale.”
For those of you wondering, most of McBride’s racing equipment was bought by local drivers.
McBride says the retirement from racing means he will be walking away from racing almost completely.
“We have some associations with some friends of ours who are racing yet. I may be around and work with that a little bit but as far as going into the racing career business or being involved with a racetrack or something like that, not at all,” McBride says. “I’m going to try and get away from that because there are other things we want to get into.”
When asked what he was going to do on Saturday nights during the summer after spending more than 40 years racing at Shawano Speedway each Saturday night during the summer months, McBride responded, “That’s a good question. It’s been a part of my life since I was 17 years old.”
He says the thing he will miss the most about racing is the relationship with his crew — on and off the track. Although he says he is confident those relationships will remain intact.
He was also sure to mention that he appreciated all the support from his fans over his entire racing career and it was a pleasure making many new friends during his racing career.
McBride has a total of 13 Late Model track championships in his career, including seven track championships at Shawano Speedway, tied for the most in the Speedway’s history. He has also won three championships at Seymour Speedway, two at Langlade County Speedway in Antigo and one at Manitowoc Expo Center Speedway. He was also the first inductee into the Shawano Speedway Hall of Fame in 2007.
(This article first appeared in the May 2011 issue of Full Throttle Magazine.)