Joey McCarthy Overcomes Late Nights, Practice Crash For Third Place Finish At Lime Rock (Lakeville, Conn. - Oct. 1, 2005) - At first glance, it appeared that the result of all the long nights at the STI Motorsports shop wasn't even going to make...
Joey McCarthy Overcomes Late Nights, Practice Crash For Third Place Finish At Lime Rock
(Lakeville, Conn. - Oct. 1, 2005) - At first glance, it appeared that the result of all the long nights at the STI Motorsports shop wasn't even going to make it onto Lime Rock Park's historic 1.53-mile road course for Saturday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race after a practice crash left the team's TechAir Chevrolet with heavy nose damage. But more hard work by the crew not only had Joey McCarthy's car back on track in time to make a qualifying attempt, but that car was good enough for McCarthy to take to a season-best third place finish.
Lime Rock was the first time this particular car had been to a racetrack since being heavily damaged in a wreck at Stafford Motor Speedway in August. Fitted with a new 2005 Monte Carlo body, the black No. 8 Chevy posted top-ten practice times until disaster struck.
"I hit the kill switch on the steering wheel with my arm," McCarthy said, referring to the NASCAR-mandated pushbutton mounted on a steering wheel spoke to be used in case of a hanging throttle, instantly shutting down the engine. "I just locked the wheels up and ran off course trying to gather it back up. I couldn't use the motor to slow me down so I was pretty helpless."
McCarthy went straight off the first turn and struck a tire barrier with the nose of the car. It was towed to the garage area where the crew set about assessing damage and pounding out the bodywork. While the original plan was to not make a qualifying attempt and take a starting spot at the tail end of the grid, the car was back together, through inspection, and on the track for its scheduled qualifying attempt, timing in eleventh fastest.
Lime Rock's Busch North race required a stop for fuel, and McCarthy made his under green on lap 19 of 82. After everyone had made stops, he was eighth but quickly moved up further as two cars ahead of him tangled and spun on a restart. He was sixth with twenty to go, survived a multi-car incident on a lap 67 restart to run fourth, but fell to fifth when caution came out with eight laps to go. On the final restart, which came with six laps to go, he made a bold move that got him all the way to third.
"I was having good restarts on the outside lane all day, even with a carburetor flutter that was my nemesis," he said. "I decided to start in a different gear and I got an incredible run, while I don't think Andy [Santerre] got that good a restart. I had it to where I could pass him and still have enough time to get it whoaed down and not cause an accident. I would never put Andy and Mike [Stefanik] and those guys up front at risk. I had a really good run and I knew I could do it."
The third place finish is McCarthy's best of the 2005 season, and allowed him to pick up a pair of spots in the season points standings to run twelfth despite missing a race.
"I have to give this one to my crew, they worked their butts off for two days straight," he said. "We've had a pretty tough season but they've just hung with it. They really pulled together and gave me a car I could race today. It was nice to finally run well for all my sponsors, Tech Air, TrimSpa, and Driving Impressions. We finally got up front where I think we belong, but we're underfunded and it takes a lot to keep up with these guys. It gets frustrating week-to-week and you start looking around to see what you have to do to run in this series, and it basically comes down to money and equipment.
"I'd like to thank Dennis Fischer for building us a strong motor to run with today," McCarthy continued. "It ran great all day, and I'd like to thank Rich Gould for letting me borrow it. A lot of people stepped up in the STI crew, Glenn Rudolph, his whole family, and everybody who's hung in there as bad as things have been, and I can't say enough about those guys."
McCarthy wraps up the Busch North season next Saturday when the series goes to Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway to make up an event rained out from May.