By Bill W
May 9, 2011 – Eighteen year old Austin McCarl is establishing himself as one of Knoxville Raceway’s “Young Guns” in the 410 class on Saturday nights. Two weeks of top ten finishes have been established, but his aim is higher. He would like to end up on top of the podium. He’ll get that opportunity this Saturday night with Kosama of Altoona on board as a marketing partner.
The driver of the TMAC Motorsports #17A brought the Eagle Motorsports/Don Ott powered machine home eighth quick in the 43-car IRA field after time trials on Saturday night. “We qualified eighth, but the lap that I turned could have been better,” admits Austin. “I was excited that I felt the lap could have been better, but we ended up in the top ten.”
With a heat that included four-time Nationals winner, Donny Schatz, two-time track champ, Brian Brown, Don Droud Jr., Mark Dobmeier, and former IRA champ, Scotty Neitzel, starting in fornt of him, Austin had his work cut out for him. He would ride home fourth and put himself in the main event. “I was really nervous about the heat race,” he says. “Starting fifth, with a track that was kind of tough to pass on…I thought we had the toughest heat by far. It was like a Knoxville Nationals heat lineup in the first three rows. It gave me some confidence to make it through that.”
With an invert of twelve, and several competitors unable to transfer through their heat, Austin would start eighth in the feature. “It was a crazy race, really,” he says. “I could never really get in my rhythm. The racetrack was kind of goofy. The drivers in front of me were messing up once in awhile and it would take me a second to get back in a rhythm.”
A few cautions slowed things late and important track time was spent maneuvering amongst his competitors. “It really depended on where your car was set up as to where you ran on the racetrack,” says Austin. “You had to go where the other cars weren’t. Obviously, that worked for (father Terry McCarl), because he started behind me and ended up fifth.”
The learning experience ended with a solid tenth place finish, but Austin couldn’t help but think he should have been better. “It seemed the drivers in front of me were changing their lines at the last second,” he says. “It was just tough to get in a rhythm. It was hard to run in one spot, because you had to run where they weren’t. It made it interesting.”
The team is ready for their next test this Saturday night. “To get tenth in that field was good, but it’s disappointing when you think you should have finished a little higher,” says Austin. “To be frustrated and still finish in the top ten is usually a good thing. We’ll be ready again this weekend. I think we have a top five car.”
The #17A came out with some new blue vinyl last weekend. Crew Chief Steve Fitzpatrick was sick of the same old scheme. “It was definitely a different look,” says Austin. “Steve went kind of crazy with the vinyl.”
Kosama of Altoona
Kosama of Altoona, Iowa is the latest to take advantage of the nightly sponsorship packages with the TMAC Motorsports team. The fitness club will be sponsoring two nights at Knoxville Raceway, May 14 and July 9. The sponsorship will not only cover the VerMeer Racing #55, but also the T-MAC Motorsports #17A driven by Austin McCarl, and the #97 of Carson McCarl this weekend.
TMAC’s wife Lori has benefited from the Kosama program. “I am very impressed with Kosama,” says TMAC. “I’ve watched what it has done for Lori. She’s like the Energizer Bunny now. She is in great shape, and is really happy. Austin and Carson are going to start doing it too, and as soon as I think my leg is capable, I’m going to jump in as well.”
The program is popular and has taken central Iowa by storm. Those who have gone through it are talking about how great it is! “The program is ten weeks, and they are having over 50% of the people completing it, who want to do it again,” says TMAC. “Lori is one of those. She is addicted.”
The next class start date at Kosama of Altoona will be May 23. Call 515 689-5900 for more information.
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Austin would like to thank AmeriCash Advance.com, 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!