From Bill W – The wait was over for seventeen year old Austin McCarl when he pulled into Victory Lane at the Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa last Saturday night. The win marked his first in a 410 sprint car. The Altoona, Iowa driver will try it again this weekend at the Knoxville Raceway.
The trip to “Rocky” marked Austin’s second visit of 2010. He finished fourth there in May. This time around, he came from the back of the heat to finish fourth. “The track was mostly good up top this time, and there was a decent bottom in three and four,” he says of the bullring. “They said I jumped the start, so we had to go to the back. I was fifth on the restart, and I was able to slide up to Robby (Wolfgang) and Jake (Peters).”
A late race incident sidelined Wolfgang and gave Austin a spot in the feature redraw. “We were running fifth there on the white flag lap,” he explains. “Robby trashed a motor there and gave us a gift fourth that put us in the redraw.”
The draw put him inside of row two for the main event. “I just went into it trying to put the heat behind me,” says Austin. “I went out there and just did my job! I ran third for about three laps and (second place Johnn) Cressman drove off the track.”
That left him tracking down leader Donovan Peterson from Brookings, South Dakota. “I drove into one and two and hung with Donovan, and I was able to slide by him in three and four,” says Austin. “It was really slick, and it ended up laying rubber the last ten laps. At the middle stages, I was running the top of one and two and the bottom of three and four.”
After the pass, it was clear sailing, and the celebration was on. The next night, the team was back at Knoxville. Dry conditions saw dust in time trials, but Austin overcame it and qualified third. “We kind of had a feature setup to qualify with,” he says. “Running the top hasn’t been the way to qualify these last few years, but with the Goodyears…they have a stiff sidewall and there wasn’t much on the bottom. We ended up third, which was good. We were patient there in the heat and ran third. I was able to get a guy on the start, and got by a couple more guys.”
A feature invert of eight put Austin outside of row three for the shortened 20-lap main event. On the second go-around, he was tangled in a four-car melee in turn four. “It was a shame because the team had the car really good,” he says. “It was my fault that I got into it. I drove down and missed the bottom of three. I drove to the top, and I saw those cars up there. I tried to sneak between (Josh) Schneiderman and the fence. I cleared him, but Dusty (Zomer) was sitting there and I got a piece of that. Actually, the only damage was to the top wing. I was surprised there wasn’t something broken in the right side because I came to an abrupt stop on the fence.”
After changing the top wing, Austin came back to a 15th place finish on a one-lane track. “We were a bit loose to start, and had to run the bottom,” he says. “It ended up laying rubber, and that was all she wrote.”
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Austin would like to thank Big Game Treestands, AmericashAdvance.com, RFG (Rossie Feed and Grain), Anderson Farms, DeBerg Concrete, Deanfield Farms, Engler, Phil & Vivian, Vortex Wings, Maxim Chassis, K&N Filters, Mark Burch, Hoosier Tire, BMRS, HRP, Schoenfeld, Jocko’s, Butlerbuilt, Bell Helmets, Crow Safety, Chase Graphics and Tony Sposato for all their help!