Austin McCarl – Passing Pops!

Austin McCarl
Austin McCarl

By Bill W

July 20, 2010 – Austin McCarl piloted a fast machine last weekend, but circumstances arose, and the results didn’t show it. A DNS at Rock Rapids, where the seventeen year old driver won in June, and a 16th place finish at Knoxville followed a fourth place run the week before in a career best finish at the Sprint Car Capital of the World. With the primary bullet getting a freshener for August, Austin and the team may be down on power a bit this weekend.

Starting seventh in his heat, the Altoona, Iowa driver needed a top four to make the redraw. “I knew the heat would be tough,” he says. “The top four redrew. I had a tough one. I knew (Gregg) Bakker and (Jody) Rosenboom were up front, and Clint Garner was behind me. Before the start, I told myself I needed to get it on.”

He would show patience, by working his way up to third. “I went in on the start and went through the middle of a couple of guys. I hit the berm, and stood on the gas. That lifted me up and threw me towards the cornfield. To be honest, I don’t know how I stayed on all fours.”

Once pushed out for the feature, Austin lost power. Several attempts to refire the machine and detect the problem failed, so he was forced to watch father Terry win the event. “It was a pin on the gear drive of the mag,” he says. “It was a real bummer. I think the car was great.”

Knoxville Raceway awaited on Saturday. Austin had been used to qualifying in the top five, but it wasn’t to be. “We qualified 13th, which is way below where we usually are,” he says. “I hit the water in one and two, and that ruined my lap.”

Starting outside row one, he was able to win his heat fairly easily. “I knew we were fast,” he says. “I was able to move around after a couple of laps and run the bottom. I tried a few things for the feature.”

The disappointing time trial lap put him outside row five for the feature. It wasn’t long before he was battling for sixth with his father. “I came back and talked to Steve (Fitzpatrick) after the heat,” says Austin. “I knew we were fast heading in. I took what I learned from the heat and we moved forward. I got a great run on (TMAC), and I had to get off the gas. I didn’t figure he saw me.”

The next move came upstairs running a line that his father had taught him. He rolled the top of three and four around Terry and into sixth. “I got excited after passing ‘Pops’,” he says. “I pulled up on (Don) Droud and I just got too excited. I got in the middle of the slick stuff, and that was all she wrote.”

Austin drove back to a 16th place finish in the few laps that remained. The week prior, he registered his career best finish at Knoxville, a fourth. TMAC won the event, and the pair started on the front row. “That was awesome,” he says. “The Berryhill family ( was in town. Their grandson was running the ARCA race and had some motor troubles in Newton.”

Austin had hoped for a podium finish. “It was great to start beside him,” he says of the front row start beside Dad. “(Mark) Dobmeier got by me early there, and I was running third for a while. I really wanted to make the podium for everyone, but we were a little loose and finished fourth. I should have pulled the wing back on that one.”

Austin plans to be back in action at Knoxville this weekend.

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Austin would like to thank Big Game Treestands,, 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!