Joey McCarthy's First Top Ten Finish is Eighth at Thompson Speedway New Jersey's Joey McCarthy, a NASCAR Busch North Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, scored his third Rookie of the Race award of the season after recording his...
Joey McCarthy's First Top Ten Finish is Eighth at Thompson Speedway
New Jersey's Joey McCarthy, a NASCAR Busch North Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, scored his third Rookie of the Race award of the season after recording his career best finish, an eighth place run, at the Thompson Speedway's Pepsi Racing 150. McCarthy now holds sole possession of second place in the Rookie of the Year standings.
The Mannings USA-sponsored McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports team's run did not start out easily. Early in practice they had to overcome an overheating problem, which turned out to be an air pocket in the cooling system; and then a brake problem where the brake pedal was pulsating. After fixing the overheating and working on the brakes, McCarthy went out for time trials and qualified eighteenth for the race.
"I totally missed my line going into the corner," he said afterwards. "I'm mad at myself. I mean, we had a lot of problems today, and we fixed a lot of them. To screw up and be 18th is not too bad, at least we're in the right direction.
"The brakes still aren't right," McCarthy continued. "I can't drive in like I want to, it's just kicking my foot off the pedal. It just makes it uncomfortable."
McCarthy's race started out on a couple down notes, with his getting spun out by the series point leader, Mike Johnson, just 15 laps in. Johnson was assessed a penalty for the incident. On lap 57, McCarthy was one of four cars involved in a first-turn accident, but he got back on his way without falling off the lead lap. Under this caution, McCarthy pitted to remove a spring rubber and other chassis adjustments.
For the balance of the race, McCarthy continued moving up and staying on the lead lap. When ten of the leaders pitted on lap 86, McCarthy picked up a number of spots and was sitting in the top ten. He climbed all the way to fourth just before the hundred-lap mark, and was challenging Bryan Wall for third. McCarthy could not take the position, and fell into the clutches of those with fresher tires moving through the field. But the car was handling well so McCarthy held his off many talented and well-funded drivers including Ted Christopher, Brad Leighton, and Tracy Gordon to finish eighth.
"Vince, the chassis consultant, was amazing," he said after the race. "We made a couple really good calls. We were fast, real fast in the beginning, and then we got really loose. We pitted and took out a spring rubber and a wedge adjustment and lowered the Panhard rod a little, and it was fast. If we had brakes, we would have been in really good shape. I just couldn't drive into the corner. A couple times I actually locked up in the corner and just skidded up the track."
"That was great," McCarthy continued. "That was a lot of fun, but I just wanted it to be over at the same time. If I had brakes I think I would have been a lot happier but I was just holding on for dear life. I had white knuckles for the last sixty laps. I couldn't believe it. I thought Waterford was a fluke. But what a difference. I just needed to have a car to work with."
The team now turns its attention to preparing "Wilson", the superspeedway car, for this Saturday's 125-lap event at New Hampshire International Speedway. The race will be held in conjunction with the NASCAR Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series. At the previous NHIS race, McCarthy finished 13th and received his first Rookie of the Race Award.
For more information on the team, visit its website at http://www.mccarthy-pritchard-motorsports.com.