By Bill W
August 30, 2010 – Austin McCarl raced forward from 12th to finish fifth on a heavy surface on Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway. The 17 year old had to come from behind after an uncharacteristic qualifying effort. He will return to Knoxville on Saturday, tenth in the point’s race heading towards Season Championship night.
Austin timed in 13th of the 21 cars entered on Saturday. “Normally, qualifying has been a strength for me,” he says. “Saturday, we kind of missed it. I don’t know what the deal was. We were fast in hot laps and fast in the heat…we just missed it on that one lap.”
The Altoona, Iowa driver went on to dominate his heat race from the front row. “Missing it in qualifying, did give us the front row in the heat there,” says Austin. “The track was a lot heavier than usual. The days are getting shorter, and the weather was a bit cooler, so I think that was a factor.”
Despite some heavy hitters behind him, he aced the fast track surface. “They said we looked good out there, and we felt good,” he says. “Brian (Brown) was into second early on, but wasn’t catching us. In fact, I think we pulled away a little bit. That makes you feel good, because he’s the point leader.”
A first lap incident sidelined four cars, and Austin narrowly missed the incident in turns one and two. “To be honest, I have no idea how we missed it,” he admits. “The guy right behind me (Rager Phillips) got taken out. We were just very fortunate. I was running in the back of Josh Schneiderman following him through. My heart rate was way up there. We got below it somehow. I was desperate.”
Austin restarted tenth and began his progress forward. He was fastest running the bottom groove, and found his way by Don Droud Jr. for fifth, before it was called back after a red flag. “The Nationals feature on the qualifying night taught me a lot about running the bottom and I’m feeling comfortable down there now,” says Austin. “I ran up on Schneiderman and the 55 car (Ian Madsen). We were able to get by Droud in one and two, and pull up on Madsen on the backstretch. Unfortunately, the red came out.”
A non-stop event would have been better in the end for Austin, who also had a limping Madsen in front of him. In the end, he would get back by Droud for fifth. “That didn’t help us at all,” he says of the red. “I would have liked to restart fifth there behind Schneiderman and Wolfgang. I thought we were possibly a little bit better. I was trying to be patient. We really didn’t need that red.”
In the end, his finish would be his second-best at Knoxville (he was fourth on Twin Features Night). “We just had a good car all night, and I have the guys to thank for that,” says Austin. “Steve (Fitzpatrick) was making all the right calls on the car. I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
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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!