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Tuesdays with TMAC – A Milestone Season

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TMAC celebrates his win against the Outlaws at Knoxville. (Image courtesy of Bill W Media)

From Bill Wright

November 15, 2016 – Few drivers will ever reach the 300-feature win mark in the sprint car ranks like Terry McCarl did in 2016. Far fewer can boast wins at 65 different tracks in 21 different states and two provinces in Australia. Terry McCarl has also won with nineteen different sanctions, including wins with the World of Outlaws at the “Big Three”, Knoxville Raceway, Eldora Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway. The Altoona, Iowa driver nailed down ten wins in 2016, including his second “King of the 360’s” title at East Bay Raceway near Tampa, Florida, and another win against the Outlaws at Knoxville.

TMAC is proud of his 300-win milestone. “It’s a landmark that you look at,” he says. “I look at stats a lot, because I’m a historian. I think our stats hold up better than most, and I’m really proud of my career to this point.”

Of course, things started well with a prelim win and another in the $10,000 finale at East Bay in February. “We’ve always had a great setup there, and it’s one of my favorite tracks,” says TMAC. “It’s always racy there. We have so much fun going down there with all our friends there. This is one of the great events in the country, and for us to be lucky enough to win it twice now is a great honor. I love that Ronald Laney’s life is celebrated there. We ran really well again this year with Jaymie Moyle’s engines supplied by Don Long.”

TMAC came back to the Midwest and was adjusting to his new Maxim chassis. “We struggled for a while in finding a balance,” he says. “Dan (Musselman) and all the guys at Maxim have been great in helping us get comfortable. I think we found a good baseline in the car we have now. A lot of that we were trying to find early in the season.”

There was no doubt he was in rhythm with a $10,000 trouncing of the Kasey Kahne Dirt Classic NSL field at I-80 Speedway near Greenwood, Nebraska in May. “We flat kicked their butts that night,” says TMAC. “I think we started ninth and we were leading it by the fourth lap. With that competition…Dale Blaney was in town too…it was really a great accomplishment. I could run anywhere. We wanted to help them promote the Dirt Classic in September and I wanted to help those guys, because they are doing a good job of promoting around the country. That was a good win. It was a lot of fun going to Lincoln Speedway (in Pennsylvania) late in the year. I don’t think we’d been there for over twenty years.”

The following week saw TMAC run second in the first Annual Silver Shootout at Badlands Motor Speedway in South Dakota. Second paid $13,700 in silver bars. “My boys were a little disappointed that we were second, but I had to remind him that there aren’t many races in the world that pay that much for second,” he says. “That was a fun event that they’re going to continue.”

In June, he struck for another $10,000 win at Knoxville against the World of Outlaws. “To win an Outlaw show anywhere is hard, but to win one at Knoxville is really difficult,” says TMAC. “We were really proud of that. To beat Donny Schatz there, with him starting beside us was a big deal for us…kind of like Iowa beating Michigan last weekend. Doug (Rankin) and Steve Fitzpatrick had the car really comfortable for me, and the track was tricky. That win was really big for us.”

TMAC would win the Randy Droescher Memorial at Badlands as well as a NSL win at the Hancock County Speedway near Britt, Iowa. He was hoping to add a fifth Knoxville 360 Nationals trophy to his collection, but he still ran a strong fourth. “After you’ve won it, it was kind of disappointing to run fourth both nights,” he says. “But really, when you take a step back, it’s a great run for any team.”

With his promotions hat on, he, wife Lori, and the rest of the team did a great job at the Price Chopper Front Row Challenge in Oskaloosa. “That was one of the best 410 races we’ve ever had there,” he says. “Kerry Madsen and Rico Abreu were making some crazy things happen out there. I’m really excited for next season.”

TMAC would honor his father, Lenard, who we lost in the spring with a replica #7x machine at the Knoxville Nationals. “I was great to honor him that way,” he says. “We had a good run. Finishing third on our qualifying night was great. I believe we had a good car on Saturday, but I really screwed up. We weren’t the fastest in hot laps and I panicked a little bit. I took some advice from a very knowledgeable man who’s helped us. That got me off my game plan, and I’ll always be mad at myself for that. We had a good starting spot, and I wish we would have used our standard setup.”

He again struck for victory at I-80 Speedway in October with the ASCS National Series and their “Fall Brawl”. “I-80 has become one of my favorite tracks,” says TMAC. “The Kosiski’s have really done a great job of getting the track right for sprint cars. There’s always a top and bottom, and I look forward to running there. I just wish there were more shows there. To beat the tough ASCS competition was another feather in our cap.”

Rather than points’ racing at a particular track, right now, TMAC is planning on more of an varied schedule for 2017. “I’m not sure what we’ll be doing,” he says. “It’s wide open right now. It all depends on our partners and where they want us to race. We’re kind of looking at a more open schedule, where we’re not chasing points anywhere. Right now, I’m looking forward to 2017, and getting to Australia. We’ll be driving for Ken Hutchings down there.”

He is also proud to have added Price Chopper and Hiland Dairy to the team in 2016. “To get Price Chopper and Hiland Dairy on board was huge for us,” says TMAC. “Not only with our team, but in sponsoring the Front Row Challenge. We were able to do an event at one of their stores in Des Moines, and that had a great turnout.”