April 9, 2014 — By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR — Photo courtesy Kil-Kare Raceway — XENIA, OH — Don Mahaffey Jr. doubled his racing duties at Kil-Kare Raceway in Xenia, Ohio this year.
Mahaffey, 42, of Dayton, Ohio, won his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late model track championship at Kil-Kare in 2013. This year he expanded to a two-car team and is owner-driver-crew chief for himself and his son, Tyler. Tyler Mahaffey, 18, won Kil-Kare’s 2012 street stock championship and raced part-time in late models last year. Now they’ll compete together full-time in Kil-Kare’s top division each Friday.
The .375-mile banked paved oval’s season opener was weather delayed to April 11.
“We’ll show up at the track to have fun and see if we can go after the championship again,” Mahaffey said. “We’ll take it week to week.”
Mahaffey won the 2013 track title by just two points over Justin Alsip, the 2009 track champ. Mahaffey had a late-season point lead, but it evaporated due to a multi-car accident as the season was winding down. The two were tied in points with two race nights remaining and Mahaffey managed to pick up two more points than Alsip over the final events. His record for the season was four wins, 17 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 18 starts. He also picked up a top-five finish in his only start at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway and finished sixth in the state points race.
Mahaffey previously won the NASCAR state championship in 2010 and Kil-Kare late model titles 2010-11. He competed in only a handful of events during 2012 while guiding his son’s championship-winning street stock effort.
Mahaffey returned to full-time late model competition last year while helping his son work his way into the division. Starting 10 of 18 events, Tyler finished 10th in track points with two top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
Mahaffey said he had no rust to kick off after an abbreviated 2012 season.
“I thought we’d be just as good as anyone there,” Mahaffey said. “I thought we had more wins in us, but when you get to a point racing you might lean it down just a little. I thought we gave away at least two wins.”
For his crew chief duties, Mahaffey found a benefit of being on track with his son.
“When I’m following Tyler I can watch what he’s doing and what his car is doing,” Mahaffey said. “Then we can talk about it and adjust.”
Both of their race cars are based on Lefthander chassis and sponsored by Main Auto Parts. Crew members include Doug Brunk and Gary Williams.