From Bill W
August 27, 2013 – While the season at Knoxville Raceway came to a close last Saturday night, things are still busy for Terry McCarl. He’ll compete at four events this weekend, including the Jackson Nationals in Minnesota, and two races at Huset’s Speedway near Brandon, South Dakota. The Altoona, Iowa driver is quick to admit it wasn’t his year at Knoxville as a series of mechanical ills plagued him, but he still finished up third in the points race.
TMAC looked back at his season at Knoxville knowing it could have been much worse. “To finish first, first you must finish,” he says. “The rule of thumb at Knoxville, is you may have one chance at not finishing a feature. If you have more than that, you’re in trouble. The night I lost a stop two months ago, I never looked at the points again…not once. I was happy that night. We saw (Donny) Schatz destroy a car this past weekend after losing a stop. People saw what happened to Kyle Larson here too.”
On other nights, it was other issues. “We also broke that set of quick change gears,” says TMAC. “I’ve never done that in my life, and I’ve never lost a stop either. We had the race before the Nationals where we are passing for the lead and I get a flat under yellow. All I had to do was come in, change it, and pass one car and we’re starting on the front of the feature. When I blew the tire, it bent the inside of the wheel and wrapped it around the caliper. Not only did we not make it out for the heat, we had trouble getting it out for the B that night.”
This past Saturday night, TMAC timed in fifth quick and ran third in his heat. He would roll off sixth for the feature, but it was clear before the race began that something was amiss in the TMAC Motorsports #24. “We had a rocket all night long Saturday,” he says. “We qualified really well. We ran well in the heat race. I had a handle on the car and the motor was ripping. When I pushed off for the feature, I was running on seven cylinders. I think I broke a valve spring or busted a spark plug. We didn’t look at it, we just changed it out for Huset’s. It’s nothing major, but it was running on seven cylinders.”
TMAC tried to hang in there, and threatened for a top five finish until a mistake during a red flag period wrote the final chapter on Knoxville’s season for him. “I told (son) Carson afterwards that I’ll never give up,” he says. “I found the best place for the car on seven cylinders and we were actually passing cars after dropping back. We were running sixth and I thought we had a shot at fifth. We had the red with a few laps to go. Of all the problems we’ve had this year, none were anyone’s fault. The fuel cap issue was our mistake. One of our guys didn’t tighten it and it fell off. To make a long story short, this wasn’t our year at Knoxville. When they came over the radio and said it was my fuel cap, I was almost laughing.”
At the time, TMAC had a shot at finishing second in the standings. “We would have liked to have come out with at least a second place finish for the money aspect of it,” he says. “It was unfortunate, but I wasn’t mad. Again, you go back to losing the stop a couple of months ago…I wasn’t hurt, and we didn’t destroy a car. We don’t like to lose and we are champions. We’d like to win another one, but we all loaded our cars up in one piece and that’s the main thing.”
Things went much better at Huset’s on Sunday night. “We’re fast,” says TMAC. “I think we’re the fastest car in this part of the country. We run on a very tight budget, and it’s a family operation. It’s pretty fun to beat the guys with the big budgets out there.”
TMAC set quick time and started tenth in the feature. “We set fast time by quite a bit again,” he says. “I remember the days when they used to put me starting 16th every week…I won a lot of those features from 12th on back. Sunday, we started 10th and we were able to get by some of the tough guys right away. Jody (Rosenboom) won, and if I had to lose to anyone, it was good it was him. He’s had kind of a tough year. He did a good job. He got out front and did a good job. He’s a good guy.”
The charge to second came up inches short in a non-stop affair. “It was a good second,” says TMAC. “We had a shot at him, and maybe with another lap we could have got him. We did our best and it was a good run in the end.”
TMAC will be back in Jeremy Scadden’s #6 machine at the Jackson Nationals on Friday and Saturday. “Last time I drove Jeremy’s car, it was a rocket ship,” he says. “Because of Justin Zoch and Adam Adamson promoting the Jackson Nationals, we are heading up there. Hopefully, they can build it back up to where it has been in the past. We’ll run there Friday and Saturday and if things go good, we’ll drive Jeremy’s car Monday at Huset’s. Sunday, I’ll run my car at Huset’s for the $5,000 Bolte’s Roll-Off Service feature.”
This Month in TMAC History!
TMAC had a win on August 26, 2001 at the Huset’s Speedway (SD), where he is the career leader in wins. He beat Chad Meyer, Gregg Bakker, Kenny Hansen, Justin Henderson and his mechanic Glen Freeland (DNF) that night. In 2005, he had a great weekend at the Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma, Washington. On August 26, he finished third after starting 11th with the World of Outlaws, following Steve Kinser and Jonathan Allard. That locked him into the next night’s event, in which he finished fourth. As a prelude to the WoO shows, he won in Paul Silva’s #57 besting Roger Crockett in 360 NST action.