BNS: Thunder Road: Joey McCarthy raceday notes

Joey McCarthy tenth at Thunder Road after setting personal best qualifying effort. Trim Spa Chevrolet driver Joey McCarthy recorded his third top ten finish of the 2002 NASCAR Busch North Series season when the Randolph, New Jersey driver took...

Joey McCarthy tenth at Thunder Road after setting personal best qualifying effort.

Trim Spa Chevrolet driver Joey McCarthy recorded his third top ten finish of the 2002 NASCAR Busch North Series season when the Randolph, New Jersey driver took tenth place in Saturday night's 150-lap race at the Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont. McCarthy still stands twentieth in the season standings despite missing a race this year.

McCarthy and the J.T. Mase MotorSports team enjoyed a successful trio of practice sessions through Saturday afternoon, then prepared the car for time trials. In qualifying, McCarthy improved on his best qualifying result to date by two more positions, setting the fifth best time, 12.766 seconds (70.500 MPH). He actually tied Dennis Demers for fourth-best time, but Demers was set higher in the field due to his better points standing.

"We just had a good car all day," he said afterwards. "We didn't really touch anything or make too many adjustments. Everything we are doing in the garage is working here. All we can do is keep improving, that's our goal and that's what we keep doing. I'd really like to finish where we are starting in the race. Even with a good top ten finish at a place like this, I'd be really happy tonight. We just have to stay out of trouble. The team is doing a great job, we are working our tails off during the week and it's paying off."

Settling into sixth at the start of the race, McCarthy tried looking low on fifth place Jamie Aube but the two ran out of room coming out of turn four, and McCarthy had to get back in line. Never running outside the top ten, he was the last car on the lead lap when caution came out with forty laps to run. Taking the restart in ninth, McCarthy negotiated lapped traffic through the race's final laps and brought his car home in tenth place without barely a scratch.

"It was a great day, I'm ecstatic," he said after the race. "I can't say enough about this team. I say that every week, but it's amazing how they prepare a flawless car for me all week. Jeff [Masessa, team owner] supplies us with the right parts and the whole crew keeps the thing in great shape. We're being consistent and that's what we need to do. We need to qualify well and then back it up with a good finish, just like we did today. A top ten is a top ten, and I'm really happy with it, especially at a place like this where I don't have a lot of laps. I think we might have had an even better finish if we didn't get caught up in some of the positions we got in during the race, like when I got blocked in a lot of times. Early on, I just decided to find a spot and ride around, and being patient then paid off with a good finish at the end of the race. This is great for our sponsor Trim Spa, I got another top ten for them, and I think we're starting to put us on the map."

McCarthy and team will now return to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine to complete the Irving Oil 150, a race that was to be held the weekend preceding Thunder Road's, but was rained out after qualifying was completed. McCarthy will start the race seventh. McCarthy is looking forward to the race, saying, "I'm real excited to go back there, I think we've got a better car for there than we had here tonight."

-ajc-

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Series NASCAR