BNS: Lime Rock: Joey McCarthy season finale notes

Joey McCarthy ends season on high note, Lime Rock Park yields fourth place finish. LIME ROCK, CT - Joey McCarthy, driver of the No. 22 TrustCompany Bank Chevrolet on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, finished the 2003...

Joey McCarthy ends season on high note, Lime Rock Park yields fourth place finish.

LIME ROCK, CT - Joey McCarthy, driver of the No. 22 TrustCompany Bank Chevrolet on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, finished the 2003 season, the first full season for his J.T. Mase MotorSports team, with a strong fourth-place performance at the 1.53-mile Lime Rock Park road course in Saturday's running of the Burnham Boilers 200.

McCarthy, who entered the race following a successful Stafford Motor Speedway race where he qualified on the pole and finished second, had prepared well for this event with a successful test day two weeks ago. This was important because his practice time was cut short due to an engine problem that forced the team to change engines before qualifying. In qualifying, McCarthy was fifteenth fastest, turning a fast lap of 55.297 seconds (99.608 MPH).

"We had a motor problem and had to change engines and wait for some parts," he said. "We only got six laps of practice all day and it showed in our qualifying run unfortunately. But I think we've got a good car, I'm excited about running the race and I think we'll be all right. Our qualifying run was decent, I just didn't get to fine-tune it and we didn't have any kind of qualifying set up in it. I hadn't been in the car for about four or five hours before qualifying so I didn't nail all my marks. But the car's good, and it should race well."

Running twelfth in the opening laps, McCarthy stayed on the track as other drivers started making their pit stops for fuel. He took over the lead on lap 32, holding it until he made his stop under caution on lap 28. He returned to the race back in 22nd and started working his way to the front. He was thirteenth at the halfway point, and ninth on a lap 48 restart. He found himself engaged in a battle for fourth with Kelly Moore and Matt Kobyluck, and wound up coming out of that battle with the fourth spot with just a handful of laps left to run. Through the final laps, he made a run at third place Andy Santerre, but had to settle for fourth after 82 laps of racing.

"That's the most work I've done all year," he said after the race. "I've got to hand it to the crew again, we had six laps of practice, and to have a car as good as we did was great. The thing was awesome, it was as good as it was when we tested here. We led some of the way, and had a great race. Someone kicked up some dirt on the track and I got into the dirt at the end, otherwise we would have had a shot at third. Overall it was a great weekend, a great way to finish the season."

McCarthy summed up the just-concluded Busch North season, which now leaves him looking forward to running in California in the coming weeks, starting with a Winston West event at California Speedway and concluding with the Toyota All-Star Shootout at Irwindale Speedway, near Los Angeles.

"I'm ecstatic over the season," he said. "I couldn't ask for much more than to get a pole and a win, six top-fives, and to finish sixth in the points. If it wasn't for our two DNFs we had a legitimate shot at the thing. It's our first full season together so we can't ask for anything more. We overcame a lot of stuff this year. I'm really excited to go out to California, I think we're a really good team and that we've got a good chance to run up front in both races. I've got a brand new car for Fontana so I'm really excited. It was a great season, I'm very happy, and I'm glad it's not actually ending with this race."

-ajc-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Matt Kobyluck