Joey McCarthy gets first career top five at Watkins Glen. After just six races together, Joey McCarthy and the J.T. Mase MotorSports team has recorded its first top-five finish in NASCAR Busch North Series competition. McCarthy's fifth place ...
Joey McCarthy gets first career top five at Watkins Glen.
After just six races together, Joey McCarthy and the J.T. Mase MotorSports team has recorded its first top-five finish in NASCAR Busch North Series competition. McCarthy's fifth place finish in Saturday afternoon's race at the Watkins Glen International road course betters his previous best results in the series, a pair of eighth place finishes scored at Thompson International Speedway last year and at this year's season opener at Lee USA Speedway.
The Watkins Glen race, where McCarthy finished fifth in the No. 22 Trim Spa Chevrolet, will be shown on the Speed Channel on Monday night, September 9th.
McCarthy's qualifying results continue to show improvement, as he qualified thirteenth in a field of 34 cars after turning a lap of 77.113 seconds. He picked up over three seconds over last year's qualifying effort at the same track.
"The car got better and better as the day went on," he said afterwards. "The car was really handling well by the end of the day, but I don't think we have the exact gear ratios in the car and it's hurting us in two important spots, but outside of that, the car is really handing well.
"We're going to try a couple things in the race when I get by myself as far as shifting in a couple different spots," McCarthy continued, talking about his race strategy. "Outside of that, I just want to get by myself. It's so much fun to run out there, I just want to stay away from everybody and race the track instead of everybody else. That's the thing here. You don't need people beating on you, you just need to race the track. I'd be very happy to be around the end today. I think we have a car that's capable of being in the top ten, I really do."
McCarthy's good qualifying effort paid off almost immediately as most of the cars that started towards the rear of the field were eliminated in an opening lap wreck that stopped the race for an hour to clean up. Through the first half of the race he moved up as drivers in front of him made early pit stops, and when McCarthy made his own pit stop, on lap 31, he was up to fourth place.
The stop, at the race's halfway point, saw the J.T. Mase crew add sixteen gallons of fuel to the car, and McCarthy was back on the track and still on the lead lap. A second red flag came out shortly afterwards, and another hour-long delay. When the red flag was lifted, McCarthy visited pit road a second time for more gas and left-side tires.
"We were debating that stop for a while under the red flag," he said. "The car was getting real loose on the right-hander so I figured we would take on tires and top off the fuel, and I talked it over with Jason [Weissman, crew chief]. He came up with a plan to pit and the guys were awesome in the pits, we beat a lot of guys out."
McCarthy ran in the top fifteen as most of the race's second half was run under green. As laps ran down, more cars began pitting and others were forced to retire from the event. With two to go, caution came out and a green-white-checker finish was set up. Leaders tangled on the restart and McCarthy, who was tenth, took advantage to move up to seventh. Under caution, two cars ahead ran out of fuel and a third pitted for gas, and for the final restart, McCarthy was in fourth. He lost one spot in the final two-lap run to the checkers, to finish fifth.
"The whole team accomplished this with pit strategy, keeping the car together, and making that second stop for fuel and tires," he said after the race. "The pit strategy was incredible, it saved us. Attrition and pit strategy in these races always work out to be very important. You just have to be there at the end and we were. We had the wrong gearing in the car, otherwise I think we would have done a heck of a lot better. I just couldn't get off that last corner, I was getting pulled five or six car lengths off that last corner. It's called learning, and we're learning on the track."
McCarthy had nothing but praise for his team.
"As far as J.T. Mase MotorSports, I can't say enough," he said. "They promised me that this would happen. I'm just impressed that it happened in just six races. I can't say enough about Jeff [Masessa], Jason and all the guys. This is great for Trim Spa, we got a good finish for them and it will be on TV.
"It's just awesome that we came together at one of the toughest tracks we go to," McCarthy continued. "They have some road course experience, that's where they came from, and that helped out tremendously with the chassis and the transmission and even a little driver coaching. They're amazing."
McCarthy will return to action next Saturday at the new Adirondack International Speedway in upstate New York.