Joey McCarthy entered Saturday's New England 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway full of enthusiasm. Fresh off his first top ten finish in NASCAR Busch North Series competition, he was returning to the track where he finished 13th and...
Joey McCarthy entered Saturday's New England 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway full of enthusiasm. Fresh off his first top ten finish in NASCAR Busch North Series competition, he was returning to the track where he finished 13th and earned his first Raybestos Rookie of the Race award in May.
Things did not get off to a good start for the Mannings USA-sponsored McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports team. Early in Thursday morning practice a seized wheel bearing forced the crew to replace the rear end housing. This had to be done twice as parts from the original were not compatible with the first replacement. Swapping rear ends meant McCarthy could not take advantage of all the practice track time available, and the team took a shot at a qualifying setup. After time trials, McCarthy was left 33rd on the starting grid.
"We just never got any good laps in during practice," he said. "The car is not exactly where we want it right now. We didn't get any good practice because we were changing parts all day. Now the axles still aren't fitting right, we'll have to work on that tomorrow. We're trying a whole new setup. Between that and not getting any practice is hurting us. I want to be competitive tomorrow."
McCarthy started the New England 125 strongly, but a miscue in the pits early had him coming down pit road while the field was getting the one-to-go signal, and he lost a lap in the pits while adjustments were made to the Mannings USA Chevrolet. The car still wasn't handling well, and was also suffering from a vibration as McCarthy brought the car home in 26th place.
"We changed the entire chassis setup, and this one wasn't right," he said after the race. "The car was just too stiff and the sway bars were all wrong. We tried everything. We tried to adjust it but there was nothing left to adjust on. We put rubbers in, we put wedge in, we unhooked the sway bar.
"We'll go back to where we started," McCarthy continued. "I think if we left the car the way it was from yesterday's last practice we'd have been in better shape. Everybody said the track was going to tighten up, but it freed up a lot. We adjusted for a tight racetrack and it was wicked loose. It absolutely killed us."
The team will now concentrate on preparing "Timex", the short-track car, for Friday night's 150-lap event at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway.