2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Terry McCarl Concord, NC -- Feb. 1, 2007 -- Terry McCarl is one of the toughest drivers in all of racing, and he showed that last season. Just three weeks after having 12 screws and a plate inserted into his left...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Terry McCarl
Concord, NC -- Feb. 1, 2007 -- Terry McCarl is one of the toughest drivers in all of racing, and he showed that last season. Just three weeks after having 12 screws and a plate inserted into his left leg, he was back in the cockpit and more impressively back in victory lane.
After racking up eight Top-five finishes to start the 2006 World of Outlaws campaign, he suffered a severely broken left leg after the U-Joint in his car exploded seconds after taking the checkered flag in the seventh spot at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway on May 20. He was third in the standings only 55 points out of the lead at the time. The always optimistic driver would battle back from the injury to pick up two A-Feature wins along with a preliminary feature triumph, as he wound up ninth in the final season standings, after racking up 33 Top-10 finishes, and sixth in car owner points.
McCarl and his team have been busily preparing all winter for the upcoming 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop, February 9-11 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida. The veteran driver arrived in Florida a few weeks early to compete in some extra races before the World of Outlaws opener, and has already picked up a win.
"You think you have a lot of time in the winter and all of a sudden you look at the calendar," said McCarl, a native of Altoona, Iowa. "The winter goes by pretty quick."
Along with all the work in the shop, McCarl has also made it a priority to rest his leg as it continues to fully heal. With the season stretching from February until early November, he wants to make sure he is ready for the rigors that accompany life on the road.
"The plate in my leg has kind of slowed me down," explained the six-time Knoxville Raceway Champion. "I haven't gotten to play racquetball and some of the things that I like to do. More than anything we have been working to get past any trouble that I have been having with the plate and 12 screws in my leg. That has hindered me a bit from working out as much as I would have liked."
Making sure everything came together over the winter at the shop was Crew Chief Steve Fitzpatrick, along with crew member Greg McCormack. Fitzpatrick was the anchor of the team last year, with McCormack joining them down the stretch and has helping bolster the team, which was one of the hard working and best prepared in the pit area night in and night out last year, and McCarl expects it to be the same way this season.
"Everything is looking good as far as the crew is concerned," said McCarl.
Being the car owner as well as the driver, McCarl is always searching for ways to get his team the most exposure possible. A key element this season will be the new television package that the World of Outlaws have welcomed. Beginning on Sunday June 17th, and continuing for eight consecutive Sunday's ESPN2 will broadcast the World of Outlaws as part of the "Summer of Money." In addition to this, 12 races will air on SPEED over the course of the season.
"I am really pumped about the television deal," said McCarl, who has four World of Outlaws A-Feature wins in his career. "Back in the day when we had the television with TNN, it went pretty well and we really got a lot of people interested. With ESPN and SPEED a lot of people will be able to see us, and hopefully a lot of sponsorship will come along for the teams."
With nearly 90 races on the schedule this year, McCarl will have plenty of opportunities to visit victory lane. He will make a couple stops at his home track of Knoxville, as well as a visit to Huset's Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota, where he also is a six-time track champion, and won with the World of Outlaws last season.
"As a driver I prefer to race 100 times or more a year," he stated. "As a car owner, the more you race, the more money it costs. It's kind of a double-edged sword in my position. That's what makes the World of Outlaws what it is, that we race so many times, at so many types of tracks. To me that is what makes us a good commodity for potential sponsors. Nobody in the world races like we do, from coast-to-coast, north-to-south, and east-to-west. For a sponsor, I think we are a heck of a vehicle to help sell their products."
With a record number of teams starting the season off full-time with the series, McCarl knows just how tough it will be every time he takes to the track. Being a racer, that is what he thrives on and what motivates him to drive as hard as he can every single lap. With the team he has assembled he is confident, that they will rise to this challenge every night and put themselves in a position to win races.
"Two years ago was the most competitive season ever, and this year will be even tougher than that," he said. "It's going to be brutal. Only the strong will survive, and you had better have a pretty strong team to make it financially. Everyone out there is so equal that it will make the heat races brutal, plus the places that are always tough like Williams Grove and starting out in Volusia. Volusia is going to be a really tough race. You get all the Pennsylvania guys and the best from all around the country, along with all the teams running with us, as well as the All Stars. This is by far going to be the toughest season ever."
After battling his way back from the injury last year to finish ninth in the final point standings, for the third time in his career, McCarl has one goal in mind entering this year.
"Our goal is to win the championship, just like it was last year," said the veteran driver. "I hate making excuses and that is the worst thing that bothers me from last year. Running where we were in points, I hate to have the excuse of breaking my leg, and I just wish the cards would have fallen where they were supposed to be. We're looking forward to this year. We're looking forward to the competition. Like I said the strong will survive, and we will show how strong our team is."