New Jersey's Joey McCarthy and the Mannings USA-sponsored McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports NASCAR Busch North Series team made its second trip to Seekonk Speedway in southwestern Massachusetts for the Coca-Cola 150. Originally scheduled for Saturday...
New Jersey's Joey McCarthy and the Mannings USA-sponsored McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports NASCAR Busch North Series team made its second trip to Seekonk Speedway in southwestern Massachusetts for the Coca-Cola 150. Originally scheduled for Saturday night, the race was delayed by rain to Sunday afternoon. In the race, McCarthy made steady progress from his sixteenth starting position to nearly finishing in the top ten, but wound up fourteenth after losing a position on a late-race restart.
With the race being rescheduled to be run during the day, one less variable was given consideration by the team - the need to adjust the car from afternoon practice to a night race. With this in mind, the team went to work to find the elusive setup for the slick track in the heat of the day. Having done so, minor changes were made for qualifying, in which McCarthy turned in a lap good enough to start sixteenth.
"The car's good," he said after time trials. "I tried to go for it on the second lap and got loose. It's better than leaving something out there so I took a shot. I knew I had a decent first lap so I just went for it on the second lap. I've got a good car for the race. We're going to leave everything pretty much the same and I think we've got a decent car. I think I'd have been in the top ten but I screwed up, and I'd rather say I screwed up than leave something out there because I've done that before and it bothers me more."
McCarthy struggled early in the race with a car that was loose exiting the turns. He stayed out of trouble and, more importantly, stayed on the lead lap. While the action around him was nonstop with beating and banging the rule rather than the exception, McCarthy held his own and was up to thirteenth place heading into the last restart which set up a green-white-checker finish. On that restart, fellow rookie Eddie MacDonald jumped McCarthy on the outside and took the spot, also taking the Rookie of the Race award and the check that goes with it.
McCarthy was told immediately after the race by former series Technical Director Dave Baker that MacDonald would be moved to behind McCarthy in the rundown for jumping the final restart, but when the results were posted, that was not the case and McCarthy was placed fourteenth in the official results.
"He passed me on the backstretch," McCarthy said. "Dave Baker said that they caught it, and they'll take care of it. I said, 'Thank you Dave, that's very nice,' I shook his hand and left, but now he's saying he isn't changing it."
Trying to shake off that frustration, McCarthy commented on his own race.
"I just stayed out of trouble," he said. "I had a decent car, but it didn't have much bite off the corners so it was loose off. It was pretty bad at the beginning but it came back in with the rubber getting laid down. It was just a mess without some of the officials here. These guys are out of control, they don't respect each other. Not having a director here is not fair to us. I had people beating on me the whole race. We're lucky just to finish. I almost spun three times, I just stayed in the throttle and it straightened out. But I'm happy. That was a wild, wild race."
McCarthy, who had problems earlier in the season with dealing with heat in the car, held up well despite racing on a hot afternoon.
"They forgot to hook up my helmet hose with the cool air box," he said, "but we had enough cautions that I could get calmed down and drink a lot of water. We needed that. It was a good run. We needed it for the sponsors and crew. We had a couple really bad weeks, everybody was really down."
McCarthy now looks to convert the short-track car raced at Seekonk into a road course car for one of the series' biggest races of the year, a nationally-televised race being held in conjunction with the Winston Cup series at Watkins Glen International. The race will be broadcast on NBC at 2PM this coming Saturday.