By Bill W
August 4, 2010 – One more lap. That’s all Austin McCarl needed to complete his best career finish at Knoxville Raceway. But after passing Brooke Tatnell for second after taking the white flag, the rear-end decided it wasn’t going to go the distance. The Altoona, Iowa high school senior to be will have one more Saturday of preparation in anticipation of the 50th Anniversary Knoxville Nationals.
A quickly drying track didn’t slow Austin from qualifying 12th quick amongst the strong 39-car field. “We got our motor fresh back from Don Ott,” he says. “We drew a late number (27 of 39), which didn’t hurt us too bad. I just drove it around the top and we ended up twelfth, which was perfect in the end.”
Starting fourth in the heat, he was able to grab the fifth and final transfer spot to the main event. “Steve (Fitzpatrick) and I kind of tried some things,” says Austin. “I was a bit tight. We got a good start, but the way the car was, it was just way too tight to move around much. I was just holding on. When I was fifth at the white flag, I was just hoping to be done with it.”
An invert of ten landed Austin on the pole for the 20-lap feature. He would follow Tatnell for a couple of laps, running second. “Brooke kind of snookered me there on the start and got the jump,” he says. “I would have done the same though.”
Jonathan Cornell tipped over with two in the books. “After the red, I pulled the wing back a bit, and settled myself down,” says Austin. “Sammy (Swindell was able to get by us, and we ran Brooke back down in traffic.”
The young driver worked skillfully through traffic and stayed with the leaders. “We got back out of traffic, and I was trying to be patient,” he says. “I was trying to hit my marks, and the car was set up for later in the race. The longer it went, the more comfortable I got.”
It was clear that he had a shot at second in the late stages. “I was reeling in Brooke, and I was trying to be patient,” says Austin. “I didn’t want to try to pass him too soon. Coming for the white flag, I got a good run on him in three and four, and slid in front of him in one and two.”
Second was within grasp. “I went down the backstretch and was going to get by a lapped car,” says Austin. “By the frontstretch our race was over when the rear-end decided to go. I just needed to make it one more lap. I wouldn’t have cared so much (about the rear-end) then.”
Austin, crew chief Steve Fitzpatrick, and the rest of the TMAC Motorsports #17A team will be ready this Saturday. “It’s one last hoorah before the Big One!” says Austin.
Visit Austin on the Web!
Keep up to date on Austin’s exploits at www.AustinMcCarl.com!
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!