BNS: Joey McCarthy Stafford race report

Joey McCarthy, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate on the NASCAR Busch North Series, took his fourth Rookie of the Race award when he finished eighteenth, the best-finishing rookie, in Sunday's Carquest Fall Final held at Connecticut's...

Joey McCarthy, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate on the NASCAR Busch North Series, took his fourth Rookie of the Race award when he finished eighteenth, the best-finishing rookie, in Sunday's Carquest Fall Final held at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway.

The weekend started with a practice session Saturday morning followed by qualifying time trials. McCarthy, driving the Mannings USA-sponsored Chevrolet for McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports, timed in at 20.113 seconds (89.894 MPH) on the half-mile oval to take the eleventh starting position, his career best qualifying effort.

"I went a little lower going into turn one and that probably helped," he said, acknowledging some driving advice from fellow driver David Darling. "That and the adjustments on the car, we made a lot of adjustments. We got the car to work better, but I don't know where that last half a second came from. I'm impressed.

"That's my best qualifying ever," McCarthy continued. "We're making progress. I knew I had a decent lap, it felt better than what we did in practice, at least a couple tenths quicker. I came in and saw I had the pole and I was surprised. Then a few other guys went out and didn't beat me and I thought we had something."

McCarthy held his ground early in the race, despite a bump causing him to have to make a save in turn four and losing a few positions. Settling into fourteenth, McCarthy stayed on the lead lap until just before halfway. He ran the balance of the race competing against the large number of cars that were also a lap down while his brakes were failing. McCarthy did not making any pit stops on his way to finishing eighteenth. He was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race, which was worth an additional $1,000.

"The brakes were completely gone," he said after the race. "The pedal goes right to the floor, there's nothing. I was fine when I was by myself because I could roll into the corner, but when I got up behind someone I had no brakes. About ten laps before the first caution [on lap 79] I lost them.

"The car was a little tight, but it was down on horsepower. This engine is nothing compared to the other engine that we ran at Dover," McCarthy continued. "I'm happy with that run. We almost stayed on the lead lap, then I got caught up at the end there and lost a couple spots. I got Rookie of the Race, and we need that money. That was a good run for us here, considering how well we've run here in the past. We might not have finished that well but we ran well."

McCarthy and the team will finish the 2001 Busch North schedule with an 82-lap race at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park on its 1.53-mile road course. McCarthy made his road course debut at Lime Rock last year and, despite being caught up in an accident, finished 21st.

-www.mccarthy-pritchard-motorsports.com-

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