|09/27/23||In the Pits with Makenna and Gracie Crocker|
|09/19/23||In the Pits with Lane Christensen|
|09/12/23||In the Pits with Gavon Veach|
|09/06/23||In the Pits with Kaeden Ballos|
|08/29/23||In the Pits with Nathan Lyons|
|08/22/23||In the Pits with Joel and Jack Smith|
In the Pits with Killian McMann
Killian McMann has picked up a few Cook Out Summer Shootout victories over the last two seasons, and was a regular at Thursday Thunder in 2023. He’s a hard racer who takes pride in his craft and racing clean. A memorable moment came in Round 1 of this year’s Summer Shootout, when he had a photo finish with teammate Alison Johnson in the Outlaws race. Now he’s leaving Bandoleros behind as he moves on to the Legend Car.
Hometown: Manning, South Carolina
Team: Team Gordon Racing
Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate
1. Favorite Cook Out meal?
Chicken tenders with honey mustard, cheese bites, and a walking taco. A walking taco is pretty much where you take Doritos and hamburger meat [to make a taco]. Then you add all your taco stuff and put Doritos with it.
2. Out of the 50 states, which one is your favorite?
Michigan, it’s where I’m originally from. All of my family is from there. It will always have a special place in my heart.
3. What’s something that most people don’t know about Killian McMann?
That I’m athletic. I play school ball and sports like soccer.
4. What’s your favorite activity to do with friends and family?
Rental car racing, it’s always fun and exciting. You get to spin out family members who have been making you mad.
5. What’s your favorite speedway?
Has to be Charlotte Motor Speedway. I always race quarter-miles and run open plate stuff. That's my DNA in racing, the short track scene. I’m experienced at quarter-miles, but Charlotte is my favorite because I know how to get around here.
6. If there was a race between Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon who would win?
Definitely Jeff Gordon because he has pretty much all the talent in the world. You can put him in any car and he would probably make it faster. He would put it on the pole and win a race.
7. Do you prefer the inside or outside line?
It all depends on the situation. If the track is cold, I want the outside because of the PJ1, which is the sticky substance they put on the track where it can make multi-grove racing. It makes it easier to stick. If it’s hot outside then I want to go inside because that’s a better line and you can gain more positions too.
8. What do you want to accomplish outside of racing?
Get my scholarship for engineering and go to school in that field so I know how to work on other cars like late-model stocks, limiteds and all that stuff. I think being an engineer would be fun because I would still be able to be a part of the sport.
9. How did racing come about? Have other family members raced before?
My dad used to race late models up in Michigan and I was around all the time. One day I was just like, ‘Hey I want to do this.’ I got a go-kart and started racing.
10. What did your dad teach you about racing that you have carried over into your own driving style?
To race people with respect. He taught me to always race clean. That’s always something I respect about him for teaching me that.
11. What motivates you the most to race?
People saying I can’t. I’ve been through a lot, and last year a lot of people said I can’t do this and I can’t do that. That just drove me more and more to go in and dominate races.
12. How has driving a race car given you a different perspective on your life?
It definitely distracts me from all the bad stuff in the world. It’s a safe place for me where I can put on a smile and hang out with friends.
13. What do the kids at school think about you’re driving before you have your actual driver’s license?
They really don’t care, they just say that’s cool and whatever. We just go about our days and try to get our schoolwork done so we can pass to the next grade.
14. What life lessons have you learned from racing?
Treat people how you want to be treated. It’s like racing people, if you race someone dirty there going to race you back the same way.
15. Besides racing, what do you think your hidden talent is?
Playing soccer, it’s a family sport. My sister played and my mom played, so it runs in the family.
16. What have you learned about yourself as a driver during this year’s Summer Shootout?
Trying to push my limits and see where I’m at. If I get second place, I’m mad because I want to win and I know I could have done better. I always go back and look at the videos to see what I did wrong and learn from them.
Losing Round 1 by three-one-thousandths of a second to Alison Johnson, it was fun racing with her on the outside and inside just sitting there for 6 laps, but it was kind of a bummer after losing right there at the line. That was fun though, I respect my teammate and I’m glad we had an awesome finish like that.
17. How do you prepare for a race during the week or even pre-race in the garage?
I put my AirPods in and listen to music. I stay quiet and focus. Sometimes I’ll sit there and talk to Mike Gordon, the team owner who runs the Legends and Bandoleros car side of Team Gordon, about how the car is going to react and how it’s going to be set up. He’s been around a while now, I want to say 22 years of Summer Shootouts, so he knows a thing or two. Before I even get to the track I’m probably on iRacing looking at stuff, just messing around on iRacing with friends trying to see something different so I can learn.
18. You’ve raced in both go-karts and Bando’s, how is driving different between the two?
Go-karts race more on dirt. Coming from the dirt side of racing you can do so much more with those karts than you can do with Bandos. Bandos are heavier so you're going to put more force into the wheel and do more turning. Compared to go-karts, you can barely steer into something.
19. What are some cool experiences that you’ve had during your racing career?
Meeting Austin Cindric at Michigan. [We met him] back in 2019, at a little expo our local track did. Joel Smith, Hunter Hath, and Caden Bailey, we all went to Michigan to do an expo for the schools. We also got a chance to go through the Xfinity garage and meet a lot of drivers. That’s where I met Austin Cindric and he mentioned that he raced for Mike Gordon so it’s cool I’m driving for the same team owner.
20. You’ve raced up close to the top and have multiple top three finishes during the Summer Shootout? How have you been able to continue to have a fast car and stay consistently in the front?
Stay positive and work with Mike on the set up. We always look back and see what I did wrong. We’ll always meet in the middle and be like, ‘let’s try this’ or something like that. It’s about staying focused and keep pushing. Don’t let one race mess you up. I’ve been around it [racing] a long time so I definitely have the traits [that I need]. I keep my confidence and put that confidence in the car to push the car to its limit. That’s how I’ve been able to be consistent.
21. What do you find most enjoyable about racing?
The speed, for sure. The adrenaline pumps through your veins and just keeps going and going. There’s always something fun about that.
22. What’s some future goals that you want to accomplish in racing?
Definitely make it to the NASCAR Cup Series. Winning a few Cup championships and multiple race wins would be awesome. Probably make it to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, that’s always been my goal. In the short-term, winning a [Summer] Shootout championship and going on to try to win the Legend Car Championship at Florence next year. [I need to] continue improving the little details and go get more sponsors to try to help me go achieve my ultimate goal.