When you see Keith McGee on the entry list for Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, you’re probably not going to think anything of it, as the driver has hopped from team to team all season long to find opportunities.
Most of time, when a driver says that they’re going to “take a chance on themselves,” it doesn’t involve a Las Vegas casino. Yet, as he’s done all season, McGee is continuing to find ways to compete in NASCAR’s top-three series, a trend that will continue again in the series’ next trip to the west coast.
Remember in May, when McGee landed sponsorship from Barstool Sports and Zero Blog Thirty at Charlotte Motor Speedway, driving for Jordan Anderson Racing? Yeah, this story might be even crazier.
As many ideas these days do, the process started on TikTok, when McGee stumbled upon a video of Mikki Mase – a professional gambler — stuffing $4.5-million into a suitcase in a Las Vegas casino. Mase’s video now has over 13-million views and 1.2-million likes, but that’s not even close to where the story ends.
At the time, McGee was attempting to secure a sponsor for the NCWTS event at Las Vegas, and wasn’t having very much success, so he decided to take a shot in the dark.
“I went and checked out his page, and it turned out he was a professional gambler,” McGee told TobyChristie.com. “That’s when I had the idea to try and get him on board for my Vegas race that was unfunded.”
The 40-year-old sent Mase a message, saying he wanted to put his face on the side of his truck at Las Vegas, and offered to bring $10,000 of his own money to be gambled, in hopes of acquiring the necessary funding to secure a ride for the event.
“I was surprised when a few hours later he responded saying he loved the idea,” McGee continued. “We jumped on a phone call to figure it all out, then I jumped on a plane headed for Vegas. I pulled my last $10,000 out of my bank account and headed for the casino. I met Mikki and we headed straight for the tables.”
Initially, it didn’t work out exactly as planned, with Mase and McGee losing the $10,000 within the first hour of gambling. What seemed to be a quick defeat, was revived when the professional gambler pulled out another $10,000 dollars to keep it going. Things continued to go south, with another $13,000 being lost before calling it a night.
With a gaping deficit after the first day, the goal for the next round was to leave the casino with $15,000 dollars. It looked good early, with Mase running it up to $40,000 on two occasions throughout the day, before dropping down to $2,000 later in the night. When the pair returned after dinner, Mase brought the tally up to $81,000.
“After dinner we head back to try and finish the day strong and in less than 30 minutes Mikki takes the $40k all the way to $81k, surpassing the end goal. He stands up and turns to me and says let’s go racing,” said McGee.
With an impressive rolodex on his side, McGee was able to land associate sponsorship from Boyd Gaming, Banger Buddy, Hey Big Mike and several other Las Vegas-based companies on-board for the event. However, when it came to finding a truck to run in the event, McGee says CMI Motorsports’ No. 49 was pretty much the only opening.
“I’m pretty excited to be able to bring a new element into my fund finding capabilities,” McGee said about the experience. “Not sure how many other drivers have resorted to these kinda tactics, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to go racing.”
When asked about the intensity of the situation, McGee described it as “a wild ride,” but was quick to mention that he would do it again in a heartbeat, while potentially trying to secure even more money to land himself in a top-tier ride.
But can his heart take that stress again? “I’m not sure, but I’m willing to find out,” said McGee.