Joey McCarthy Ninth In Year-End Showdown
(Irwindale, Calif. - Nov. 12, 2005) - The NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series finished its regular season two weeks ago at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, but after the conclusion of that event, there was still one more race to run for the top points finishers in that touring series. Those drivers were invited to run in the third annual Toyota NASCAR All-Star Showdown against the Grand National Division West Series at the half-mile Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in front of a live Speed Channel audience.
Joey McCarthy, a native of Randolph, New Jersey, was invited to the Showdown for the third consecutive year and made the trip with the STI Motorsports crew. McCarthy, who finished twelfth in Busch North Series points, had one goal in his mind: win.
Friday night's activities set the starting lineup for Saturday's Showdown via a pair of fifty-lap qualifying races. McCarthy quickly took the lead in his qualifying race and checked out on the field, though he gave up that lead when caution came out late and set up a green-white-checker finish. In those final two laps, McCarthy battled Mike Olsen for the win but came up just short, earning a third place starting position for Saturday's race.
"We had a great car," McCarthy said after his qualifier. "The team did a phenomenal job all week, and I'd have liked to have finished it off for them, we certainly deserved it. I ran a good race, but that was a tough restart. I got pinched down and I didn't have any racetrack to use to run the line I needed. Tomorrow's the one I really want to win, I've already won a qualifying race before here. I'd rather finish second tonight and win tomorrow, and that's our goal for coming here. We wanted to win everything we could and we know we're competitive, but at the end of the day we know the big picture is tomorrow's race."
Starting third in Saturday night's 150-lap Showdown, McCarthy battled hard to run in the top five on the multi-groove track, though he fell to twelfth by the hundred-lap mark which marked a ten-minute break in the action to allow teams to work on their cars, including fitting four new tires.
Following the restart, McCarthy found the car to his liking. He quickly returned to the top ten, but caution after caution kept him from getting into a rhythm needed to take advantage of his car's excellent handing low on the track during long runs. He wound up ninth at the finish.
"We were good at the very beginning, but I don't know what happened," he said. "We changed a couple things before the race that I don't think worked out too well. Once all the rubber started getting on the bottom of the track the car wasn't as good as it was yesterday. We tried to get it back but track position became really important and I lost it by that point so it was hard to make up any ground.
"It was rough tonight, I was like a ping pong ball out there," McCarthy continued. "Nobody had any respect, the officials didn't have any idea where people were supposed to be and on every caution I got passed by three or four cars and they'd leave them there. They took our scorers out of the mix, nobody knew where they were supposed to be running, and I was getting pretty tired of being passed under the yellow. It wasn't a lot of fun. I wanted to run so well, and we were running really well at the beginning."