Joey McCarthy Defies Long Odds To Post Second Place Finish In Busch North Opener (Lee, N.H. - April 25, 2004) - Joey McCarthy improved on his 2003 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season opening race finish by one position in...
Joey McCarthy Defies Long Odds To Post Second Place Finish In Busch North Opener
(Lee, N.H. - April 25, 2004) - Joey McCarthy improved on his 2003 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season opening race finish by one position in Sunday's Lee 150 at the 3/8ths mile Lee USA Speedway. Last year he finished third, but this year he was second. But what happened behind the scenes between last year's Lee race and this year's make this second place finish even more impressive.
Just a few short weeks before Sunday's race, McCarthy's previous team ceased operations. Left without a ride and with precious little time to assemble a working operation of his own in time, McCarthy discovered he had a solid corps of supporters that saw his goal of being at Lee with a competitive car become reality.
First came the acquisition of a race car. McCarthy, with a little help, bought his favorite car from his former team. This car, which led the first hundred laps of last fall's Toyota All-Star Showdown, was not complete. Enter Glenn Rudolph and his STI Motorsports team which supplied an engine from JAM Racing Engines, as well as pit equipment and hauler. Some of Rudolph's crew and some of McCarthy's former team's crew came together to provide shop and trackside support for the Dover, New Jersey driver.
McCarthy's former crew chief, Jason Weissman, also stayed close to McCarthy, providing technical support in the two weeks that the new team was formed, and was a constant presence on McCarthy's cell phone throughout race day at the track.
At the track, McCarthy brought out his new No. 8 Chevrolet, sponsored by RV Tech, Seal-N-Go, and Vespia's Car Care Center. Early results were encouraging as he was fifth fastest in both practice sessions. In qualifying, he took the twelfth starting spot with a fast lap of 15.749 seconds (85.720 MPH).
While the keys to McCarthy's third place run last year was his not pitting at all, his strategy this year was to pit early, which he did under caution on lap 41. With fresh right-side tires, he restarted the race in the twentieth position.
When the majority of the field made its pit stop under a midway caution flag, McCarthy took advantage to move all the way up to third place behind Mike Olsen and Ryan Moore. When the race resumed, McCarthy took second as Olsen fell back, but went back to third as eventual race winner Andy Santerre worked his way back to the front. Moore got involved in a battle with a lapped car, and McCarthy took advantage to move to second place on lap 113 of 150. Through three more caution flags in the race's closing laps, McCarthy could give Santerre a run but lapped traffic restarting on the inside row made his getting close enough to attempt a pass difficult. When the race ended under a late yellow, McCarthy had himself a solid second place finish.
"For the matter of two weeks we had to put this team together, this comes as a surprise," he said after the race. "Just getting to the point where we could have a car at the racetrack was the biggest thing. With the other team shutting its doors, Glenn and STI was good enough to take me in and put what we had together. Some of the guys from last year were able to stay with me. I can't thank the sponsors that came on board enough - RV Tech, Vespia's Car Care Center, Seal-N-Go, and the Buchanan family who were nice enough to buy me some tires.
"I cannot thank Jason Weissman enough," McCarthy continued. "He's helped me so much off the track and to get to this point, and in the last two years, he really turned me into what I am. As for the rest of these guys, I've got the best spotter in NASCAR in Al DiRusso, I really do. Between Al and Tony and Buster helping me out as much as they can, just to have these guys stick around and help me out after the old team fell apart is great. My brother loaned me money to buy a race car, and my family stuck behind me. Everybody came together to make this happen. They know I'm capable of doing this and doing it well. I can't thank everyone enough for sticking by me."
McCarthy, with one successful run under his belt with his new team, will now look forward to taking the next few weeks preparing for the second Busch North race of the season, which takes place at Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut.
"We're just going to try going from race to race," he said. "We got to this one and we ran well, that's going to help out a lot. Hopefully we can pick up some sponsorship along the way. We worked so hard that we deserve to be here every week. We're just going to take it race by race. That's what we did today, and hopefully it'll go the same way at Thompson."