From Bill W
August 17, 2010 – It was a great showing for seventeen year-old Austin McCarl at the 50th Anniversary of the Knoxville Nationals. A solid 11th place showing on his qualifying night put him in the B main, where he would come home seventh, just three spots away from the main event. He will use this week to regroup and prepare for the final two nights at the Knoxville Raceway, where he sits tenth in the point race.
Normally a good qualifier, Austin could only muster the 28th quickest time of the 50 cars on Wednesday. “We go out there and qualify well in the weekly shows, but we had the car just a little too loose,” he says. “I just couldn’t roll the bottom like I needed to. That didn’t give us the greatest lap. We just needed to be a bit snugger. It ended up working out o.k. though.”
The Altoona, Iowa driver drove a solid heat race, finishing second after starting third. “There’s a lot of pressure on that heat race,” he says. “There were a lot of really good guys behind me (Shane Stewart, Jason Johnson, Joey Saldana) and they wanted the points just as bad as I did. We had a really good start there, and followed Chad (Meyer) to the finish. The bottom was really good and the fact the racetrack wasn’t that wide played to our favor too.”
He would run a solid feature, finishing 11th after starting inside of row seven. “Racing with those guys is really fun,” says Austin. “We got a really good start…I think we were up to seventh there on the first lap. I didn’t want that yellow to come out. I don’t run the bottom much and I kind of got ‘out-experienced’ by guys like Tim Shaffer who ended up winning the whole deal, Jason Johnson and (Jason) Sides. I learned a lot. We used the gas and brake a ton. Also, I moved up from where I started, which is good.”
After Thursday, Austin’s point total left him 28th overall. That would put him in a B Scramble that would never happen because of a rainout on Friday. “I was really disappointed,” he says. “It was really a hassle getting stuff out and getting it back in, especially with the fact it never rained again. I was really looking forward to starting and finishing up front, improve our spot for Saturday, and maybe making a few bucks for ‘Pops’.”
The B main on Saturday night would be tough. The 22-lap event would transfer the top four to the main event. Austin would start outside row four and finish seventh. “I didn’t get a great start,” he says. “I was passed by a couple of guys and tried to run the bottom. I really wasn’t getting anywhere, so I moved up (to the top of the track) early. I found where the car was good and got by a few guys to sixth.”
Things improved from there. “I started running down Jac (Haudenschild) and Craig (Dollansky),” says Austin. “I ran up on Haud when he was hung up on a lapped car in fifth. I ended up getting hung up behind a lapped car and (Brad) Sweet got me with a couple laps to go. I was pleased with the race. The car was good, and it was a really good weekend. We made money and gained a lot of experience. To be 17, and run seventh in the B…I don’t think that’s too bad!”
Austin will try to carry that momentum into the last two weekends of weekly racing at Knoxville.
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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!