By Bill W
May 25, 2010 – A start inside row three Saturday night at Knoxville quickly turned into a charge from the back for sprint car driver Austin McCarl. The Altoona, Iowa resident weathered an ugly start, restarted at the tail, and worked his way back up to eighth at the checkers.
Austin timed in second quick in a strong 24-car field to start the night off at Knoxville Raceway. “It was good to do it on the dry-slick,” he says of the track conditions. “Qualifying is worth so many points now, with the invert it kind of gets you both ways, so you want to get a good lap in.”
The seventeen year old is still learning about driving on a dry track. “You definitely have to drive the car more,” he shares. “It is tougher, and I have to learn. When you have a good car like I have now, it’s much easier to learn. Using the throttle and the brakes at the same time, and running the bottom…you move around and find out where the car is good.”
The heat race was up next, and Austin made a last corner pass for fourth after starting sixth. “I was definitely giving it all I had,” he says. “The start was important. I had to get the jump on Bronson (Maeschen). I ran fifth most of the way, and I was able to get Skip (Jackson) there on the last lap.”
He utilized the whole track, which yielded multiple grooves. “There was definitely more driver involved the way the track was Saturday,” he says. “You couldn’t just mash it and turn left. Between qualifying and the heats, you are usually running the bottom when you time in, and drive it in there smart in the heats too.”
The start of the feature was a mess, and Austin received contact from another car, flattening his tire and sending him to the work area. He would have to relinquish his starting spot in row three and go to the back. “I think the right rear was our only change there,” he says. “I couldn’t really tell sitting in the car. I was trying to stay calm and focus on how I was going to move up and pass some cars.”
The change forced him to alter his line a bit. “The right rear we put on wasn’t quite what we had had before,” says Austin. “I had to compensate for a different wheel. I don’t think we were quite as good as we could have been.”
Not as good, but good enough to move up through the field in the Big Game Treestands #17A. “We were definitely good,” he says. “The team really had the car set up. It’s not like NASCAR, where you come in and do a pit stop to change things. I just had to learn where the car would drive best. I had to concentrate on one car at a time.”
After restarting 20th, he would end up in the 8th spot at the checkers. Currently, he sits seventh in the 410 point standings with a long year ahead. “I felt I was running guys down by running the top,” he says of his drive. “I could slide in front of them when I needed to.”
He’ll try to do the same this Saturday night, though he’d like to start a little closer to the front!
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 and Chase Graphics for all their help!
Austin at Knoxville