Joey McCarthy Records Pair Of Top-Fives In NASCAR Showdown Weekend
(Irwindale, Calif. - Nov. 13, 2004) - Joey McCarthy didn't lead any laps during the 2004 running of the Toyota NASCAR All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway this weekend, but while he couldn't run at the front of the field like he did for over 100 laps last year, he got a better finish in the main event. He finished third in this year's Showdown feature event after finishing fourth in his qualifying race.
McCarthy enjoyed continuous improvement through the three practice sessions, going from 21st fastest in the first session to eighth in the second to third fastest in the final session. He started his qualifying race in eighth and, after falling to eleventh at one point, racing his way to finishing fourth. This put him seventh on the starting grid for Saturday's 150-lapper.
"The TRIMSPA Chevy was handling awesome," he said. "We just got boxed in at the beginning and ran out of time to make up that ground. I think I've got something for them tomorrow night. I won this heat race last year and didn't win the big race, so this time around I'm willing to give up one to get the other. The car's great, the guys did a great job, and we're excited to have a good run for our sponsors. Hopefully tomorrow we'll finish what we started last year."
McCarthy was on the move quickly in the feature event, moving quickly to fourth in the opening laps. He found himself on the inside of a three-wide battle for second place just before the first yellow of the event came out on lap 23. Back in fourth for the restart, he got shuffled back to sixth and there he rode for most of the balance of the first hundred-lap segment. He had passed Kelly Moore for fifth and was challenging Scott Lynch for fourth when caution came out to signal the start of a ten-minute break.
With four fresh tires and some chassis adjustments, McCarthy set out on the final fifty lap run. He continued to run in the top five as numerous wrecks and cautions eliminated other cars and ruined the ability of McCarthy to get his car to work on longer runs, where it was best. But the worst part came just fourteen laps from the finish, when contact with another car sent him spinning low in the first turn and having to go back to the tail of the lead lap cars. But in the last few laps before the race ended, McCarthy raced hard and avoided one final wreck, moving from eleventh to third.
"We had one of the best cars out there on the long runs, but everybody was going wild out there at the end, just running over each other, and we couldn't get any clean racetrack," he said after the race. "The TRIMSPA Chevy was awesome all day long, and all week long once we got it sorted out. I didn't know what do about this inversion thing, though. I tried playing cat-and-mouse trying to get in the right position but that blew up in our face because too many cars got inverted.
"I wanted to win this race. I didn't come here for anything else," McCarthy added.
The Showdown ended McCarthy's 2004 racing season, which started out with uncertainty but became a full-season run for Busch North Series points. He finished eighth in the season's final standings with a team that had never run more than a handful of races in any previous season, picking up small sponsors along the way and finally landing TRIMSPA for the end of the season.
"I just have to thank all the people who helped us out this year," McCarthy said. "Tech Air, Vespia's Car Care Center, The Buchanans, RV Tech, Organized Chaos Graphics, and Braun Racing who let us use this hauler to get out here. Rob Wilhovsky from TRIMSPA has done so much for me, and I can't say enough about Alex Goen who helped me out for the end of the season and got us out here. He's a good friend and I just wish I could have won this for him.
"All in all it's been a good year, the guys did a great job," he continued. "All the guys at STI, Glenn Rudolph who did a great job spotting, Jason Weissman, Al DiRusso, Buster Bean, and everybody who helped us last year who came over to this team made it a great season for what wasn't even going to be a season in the first place. I couldn't do this without the support of my family, especially my brother Bill who bought this car for me. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I appreciate everything that everybody's done."