BNS: USA-Lee: Joey McCarthy race report

Joey McCarthy equals career best finish with eighth at Lee USA Speedway. Joey McCarthy, runner-up in last year's NASCAR Busch North Series rookie of the year standings, started his sophomore season on a high note when he equalled his career best...

Joey McCarthy equals career best finish with eighth at Lee USA Speedway.

Joey McCarthy, runner-up in last year's NASCAR Busch North Series rookie of the year standings, started his sophomore season on a high note when he equalled his career best finish in the series, scoring an eighth place finish at the season-opening 150 lap race at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. McCarthy also finished eighth in last year's race at Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut.

McCarthy put his Trim Spa/Mannings USA Chevrolet solidly in the field by qualifying in the thirteenth position after time trials.

"I left a little out there in qualifying, but I was only two tenths off the pole," he said afterwards, "and that's not bad considering I didn't qualify here last year, I had to take a provisional."

At the start of the race, though, traffic forced him back towards 20th but at the one-third distance mark he had fought his way back to fifteenth. He had then worked his way to thirteenth after the halfway point. Caution on lap 86 brought most of the field onto pit road for tire changes, but McCarthy gambled and stayed on the track, moving all the way to second place on the restart.

"I wanted to stay out of trouble, and the car was still good on used tires," he said about his decision to stay out.

Those with fresher tires had caught and passed McCarthy after the race returned to green flag racing, and he was back in ninth when another caution came out on lap 124. Since restarts after lap 125 would be single-file with lapped cars moved to the back of the field, McCarthy took the opportunity to take on fresh right-side tires and restart as the last car on the lead lap in eleventh position.

"That was a 'why not' kind of thing," he explained. "It was one of those deals where we were fortunate to be able to do that, I just wish there were more laps left."

Shortly after the lap 131 restart McCarthy moved up to eighth, and that's where he would finish the race. With his first top ten of the year, he has already tied his total from last year with eighteen more races still to run.

"Starting the season eighth in points is real cool," he said after the race. "The car was awesome. I'm happy for Mannings and I'm happy for Trim Spa, and I'm happy with how we ran. But if we can get to the next step we can really do something. My plan is to win a race this year, and after a run like this I know that at least we showed that we're a top ten car. This is a five year old car with a standard snout, it's not even a drop snout, but it looks good and it's fast. I just have to get a little more horsepower for Loudon and the bigger tracks."

Joey McCarthy and the McCarthy/Pritchard Motorsports team will race next at New Hampshire International Speedway on May 11th. The race will be broadcast on the Speed Channel on May 20th. For more information on the team, visit its website at www.mccarthy-pritchard-motorsports.com.

-mpm-

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