Austin McCarl – Follow the Leader!

Austin McCarl
Austin McCarl

By Bill W

May 2, 2011 – Everything considered, it was a solid start to the Knoxville Raceway Championship Cup Series season for Austin McCarl. The 18 year old senior finished eighth on a track that saw minimal passing in the feature. The Altoona, Iowa driver will be back this week as the IRA comes to town.

The track was slicking off in a hurry, and the 29-car field was at least a second off of the usual pace in time trials. Coming out 18th in the qualifying order, Austin put down the ninth best time of the night. A new format being tried by the raceway sees the top twelve in time who make it through their heats, redrawing for their starting positions in the main event.

“I put the fourth quickest time down for when I came out,” says Austin. “I took the checkered from Clark and thought it was a great lap. I thought I would be on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t working. Four guys were able to beat me, but making the redraw was what it was about.”

After starting sixth, the 2010 410 “Most Improved” driver moved into the top three in his heat race. There was plenty of jockeying at the end of the eight laps and he ended up fifth, but still headed for the feature. “We just didn’t have the car,” he says. “We were a bit too free for the racetrack. I kind of got to racing with (Johnn) Cressman, and (Dusty) Zomer and (Kevin) Swindell were able to get by us. I was upset after the heat, but I’ll live and learn from it.”

Austin drew outside of row three for feature. By the time the race was shoved off, the track was yielding one-lane racing around the bottom. “Starting on the outside made things really rough, because the bottom is where everyone was trying to get,” he says. “I couldn’t get down there right away. I was forced to the top of three and four the first lap and a couple of guys got me.”

There was much shuffling going on. “The first lap was hectic,” says Austin. “Guys knew they had to try something from the back. It took a lap or two for everyone to get settled in.”

Austin found himself running nose to tail with his father, Terry, through most of the race. He would finish eighth. “I got hung out and he got by me, and then the same thing happened to him,” he says. “As soon as we got in line…that was pretty much the race. It couldn’t have been much fun for the fans, because it wasn’t fun for me.”

One driver in the family did well. Brother Carson became the youngest ever at Knoxville to win a sprint car feature when he did it on his first try there in a 305. Austin’s thoughts? “He won…his head is probably bigger than big.”

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Austin would like to thank AmeriCash, Rossie Feed and Grain, DeBerg Concrete, Deanfield Farms, Phil and Vivian, Vortex, CM Rock, Mark Burch Motorsports, Engler, HRP, Hoosier Tire, BRMS, K&N Filters, Sander, Jocko’s Sprint Parts, Crow Safety and Bell Helmets for all their help!