2008 World of Outlaws Season Review: Paul McMahan Concord, NC-- November 10, 2008--Paul McMahan's main goal at the beginning of the 2008 season was to get back on the road and return to full-time competition with the World of Outlaws Sprint...
2008 World of Outlaws Season Review: Paul McMahan
Concord, NC-- November 10, 2008--Paul McMahan's main goal at the beginning of the 2008 season was to get back on the road and return to full-time competition with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. He had to take a circuitous route to achieve this, driving a number of different cars during the first half of the season, but his determination and perseverance paid off, as he joined forces with the Parsons Motorsports team owned by longtime car owner Lonnie Parsons, at the end of June and competed the rest of the season with the World of Outlaws.
McMahan and the team were fast right out of the box, rattling off Top-10 finishes in five of their first six races together. In just 10 races with the team, he had already racked up eight Top-10 finishes, as the team continued to climb in the yearlong World of Outlaws car owner standings. The veteran driver helped the team to a strong finish as they wound up just outside of the Top-10 when the final team standings were tallied up.
"We kept getting better, though we were still not quite where we need to be yet at the end of the year," said McMahan. "When I came here, they were 15th in points and we ended up 11th. We progressed and got better, but there is still a ways to go."
McMahan drove five different cars before joining the Parsons Motorsports team at the end of June, when the World of Outlaws paid a visit to River Cities Speedway in North Dakota. In just his second start with the team at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin, the California native who now calls Nashville, Tennessee home ran 10th. His best finish of the season with the World of Outlaws came just a few races later, when he was fourth at Tri-State Speedway in Indiana. He had a couple of other Top-Five runs cut short by bad luck.
"It's always tough when you go from race car to race," he explained. "You have different cars and different crew chiefs. It's hard to get going right doing that, but that's what I had to do to get back out on the road. This is where I want to be and what I want to do for a living. I did everything possible to get back out here with the Outlaws. I'm very fortunate that Lonnie Parsons gave me the call to drive the Casey's General Store car."
With 17 full-time drivers completing the season with the World of Outlaws, the level of competition was at an all-time high each and every night. One of the highlights of the season for McMahan's team was a very strong seventh-place finish in the finale of the Williams Grove Speedway Summer Nationals in July, after the team had trouble at the famed half-mile earlier in the season.
"It hasn't gotten any easier, I can tell you that," quipped the veteran driver, when asked about the level of competition this season. "The Outlaws are always tough. It's the toughest series you can race on a day in and day out basis. Pennsylvania is tough also, but to go to as many race tracks as we go to with the competition the way it is with the World of Outlaws, it is the toughest place to race."
McMahan, who has been competing with the World of Outlaws for a number of years and has seven career A-Feature wins with the series, visited four new tracks this season, including North Central Speedway in Minnesota where he finished a very strong sixth. He also competed for the first time at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan, North Dakota, as well as Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri and 34 Raceway in Iowa, which were all inaugural events for the World of Outlaws.
"Any time you go to a different race track is nice," he explained. "It gets stagnant when you go to the same race tracks over and over. It's great to go to new venues and see new tracks and new fans, because they are excited to see us and we are excited to be there."
McMahan wrapped up the season with 18 Top-10 finishes in World of Outlaws competition, with 16 of those coming in the Casey's General Stores Maxim. McMahan led laps at Attica Raceway Park back in April while driving for Hall of Famer Rick Ferkel, one of the original "Outlaws." He also won the Crane Cams Dash in the finale of the Summer Nationals at the famed Williams Grove Speedway in July to earn a pole position in an A-Feature event.
With the 2008 World of Outlaws season in the books, McMahan is gearing up to do some more racing next month, as he looks to stay sharp for 2009. He has competed in Australia for five consecutive years during the off-season and will compete again overseas this winter, as he makes his maiden trip to New Zealand to race against two fellow World of Outlaws competitors.
"I'll leave on December 10 for New Zealand for about a month," he shared. "I'll be going over there along with Joey (Saldana) and Craig (Dollansky). We are all going to the same spot. I'm really looking forward to that. I have never been to New Zealand. I am pretty excited for it."
The 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series seasons kicks off February 6-8 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.