BNS: Lake Erie: Joey McCarthy race report

Joey McCarthy, driving the TrustCompany Bank for J.T. Mase MotorSports, had the best starting spot of his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series career when he qualified second for Sunday's Local Dodge Dealers 150 held at the new Lake...

Joey McCarthy, driving the TrustCompany Bank for J.T. Mase MotorSports, had the best starting spot of his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series career when he qualified second for Sunday's Local Dodge Dealers 150 held at the new Lake Erie Speedway. In the race, though, the Randolph, N.J. driver had to deal with a tight race car that finished in the twelfth position.

The track was a new challenge for everyone on the Busch North Series as it was making its first appearance on the tour's schedule. It was up to each team to adapt to the track in Saturday's practice session, and McCarthy's was one of the best. His best lap of 15.376 seconds (87.799 MPH) was second best of that session, and he backed that up with the second best qualifying time in Sunday morning's time trials.

"It's definitely nothing to complain about," he said before the race. "We're just trying to improve every week. This team has been amazing. Everybody's been gelling really well. It just keeps getting better, I think we're really creeping up on it. I feel comfortable in the car, better than I ever have, maybe since I've been racing go-karts. I tell you, we're really looking forward to the race.

"It's a first class facility," he said of the track. "It couldn't be any better for the type of tracks we run. If they could pick it up and move it somewhere in the northeast, that would be a really good thing since I'd like to come to a track like this a few times a year."

McCarthy fell to third at the start of the race, but passed Kelly Moore to return to second place and applied pressure to the leader, Mike Stefanik. He remained in second through the halfway break, where the race was halted for five minutes for crews to work on the cars and change right-side tires.

After the halfway break, the car started tightening up on McCarthy. He tried holding off eventual winner Andy Santerre, but he got by while making some contact, damaging McCarthy's left rear quarter panel. As the race wore on, McCarthy lost more positions, falling to twelfth at the finish. He now sits fourth in points.

"I was being patient for about eighty laps," he said after the race. "I was faster than Mike but I didn't want to get into him. I just wanted to wait until I could pass him clean and race that way. I guess Andy thought differently and didn't want to be patient. Once i started to get knocked back the handling wasn't that great, the car was getting really tight and I just did all I could to hang on from that point.

"We're going to have to go back and see what's wrong with the car and see where things went wrong," McCarthy continued. "It was a good run for half a day, and we'll get them next week. We're running great, we're doing well and keeping our heads up, and we'll get one eventually."

McCarthy and the TrustCompany Bank team will return to the track on Saturday at the third-mile Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts.

-ajc-

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