Joey McCarthy had been looking forward to the NASCAR Busch North Series' return to Dover Downs International Speedway all year. With a freshly rebuilt Mannings USA-sponsored speedway Chevrolet and laps of experience on the intimidating one-mile ...
Joey McCarthy had been looking forward to the NASCAR Busch North Series' return to Dover Downs International Speedway all year. With a freshly rebuilt Mannings USA-sponsored speedway Chevrolet and laps of experience on the intimidating one-mile high-banked concrete oval, McCarthy felt he had the upper hand on his fellow competitors and came within five laps of proving it, running as high as fifth late in the running, before a late spin and mechanical problems relegated him to a sixteenth place finish.
In the limited practice time made available to teams due to rain falling throughout the day, McCarthy got a good feel for the track and thought he had the car to compete with the series front-runners. He did not get a chance to prove this in qualifying, though, as rain washed that out as well. With the starting lineup set by points, McCarthy would start the race in sixteenth.
"The car is awesome," he said before the race. "As far as the race, I kind of have to sort our way through because I know there were some guys who weren't that fast in practice that are actually starting in front of us. I just want to find a spot and run and have fun. This is a good place to have fun. We just have to stay out of trouble. It's a good place to pace yourself."
McCarthy stayed out of trouble and put together a good run. He ran in the top fifteen and, through pit strategy, picked up many more positions to run in seventh when he made his stop on lap 56. Coming out of the pits in eighteenth behind many cars that had not pitted, McCarthy started working his way towards the front again.
Following a lap 88 caution, McCarthy was back in the top ten, running ninth. He picked up two more spots before the lap 100 mark and with 40 laps to go was sitting sixth. Engine problems started surfacing at this point and McCarthy reported a lost cylinder, losing straightaway speed. He hung on with a good-handling race car, but Tracy Gordon got into his rear fender in turn one with just four laps remaining. McCarthy drove to the pits but the engine was cutting out and the team did not return to the track. He was classified in sixteenth in the final rundown.
"The car was perfect," he said after the race. "It lost a cylinder with about fifty to go and the motor started breaking up on me. Before that started happening I think I was a top five car, I just didn't have any power left. It was hesitating coming off and at the end of straightaways going in. A couple guys got into me, but they weren't even up to my quarter panel, they just kind of drove into me. My motor was braking up too, I wasn't able to go fast enough to stay out of the way, they didn't know I was down a cylinder.
"I think the motor's broken, we had no oil pressure," he continued. "Even if we didn't have the green-white-checker finish I don't think I was going to finish the race. It was shutting off the way it was going, I might have got one more lap out of it."
Despite the disappointing finish, McCarthy was encouraged with his ride at Dover.
"I was just driving my arms off the whole time," he said. "I could go into turn three deeper than anybody in this race track. I was driving all the way into the corner without lifting. It's just a shame. It's definitely encouraging, I just wanted to finish in the top ten, it's frustrating that we had bad luck like that."
McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports wishes to thank the Goodyear technicians and support staff that provided very helpful insight and advice regarding the tires for the weekend.