Series 2008 season review - Terry McCarl

2008 World of Outlaws Season Review: Terry McCarl Concord, NC-- December 1, 2008--Terry McCarl had been knocking on the door all season long and he finally broke through at Orange County Fair Speedway in New York on September 24, picking up...

2008 World of Outlaws Season Review: Terry McCarl

Concord, NC-- December 1, 2008--Terry McCarl had been knocking on the door all season long and he finally broke through at Orange County Fair Speedway in New York on September 24, picking up his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature win of the 2008 season. He led all 25 laps en route to picking up the seventh A-Feature win of his career with the series.

A very strong second half of the season propelled McCarl to a very solid eighth-place finish in the series championship standings. He was just one point out of seventh, on the strength of 32 Top-10 finishes, with nine of those being Top-Five performances.

"That was huge," stated McCarl of winning at Orange County. "You know that you are capable of winning, and everyone out here is capable of winning. We finally got that win under our belt and that seemed like it really turned us around, especially confidence-wise and that showed in our finishes. That win at Orange County was huge and took some weight off my shoulders.

McCarl wrapped up the season in impressive fashion finishing eighth or better in 12 of the last 13 races. The only blemish in that was a broken U-Joint at Ocean Speedway in California on the opening lap, when he started on the front row. Following the win at Orange County, he finished in the Top-Four in three consecutive races aboard the Big Game Treestands Maxim.

"A driver's confidence is a pretty crucial thing in this deal and it's easy to knock it down and hard to build it up," explained the six-time Knoxville Raceway and Huset's Speedway track champion. "You can say what you want at the end of the night, but you need strong finishes to believe it and that's what we did at Middletown. We capitalized on it and have put a great team together and I think next year we'll be a force to be reckoned with."

McCarl began the year on a very high note finishing third on the opening night of the World of Outlaws season during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. He wrapped up the three-day event with a fourth-place effort to leave the Sunshine State fifth in points. After some bad luck plagued him in the following weeks, he would pick up three Top-10 finishes in the series first East Coast swing of the season, including a runner-up finish at Lernerville Speedway.

He and his team would persevere through the early summer and really hit their stride around the Knoxville Nationals. The Iowa native came all the way from the 24th starting spot in sprint car racing's biggest event to finish eighth, earning the Hard Charger Award in the event. This momentum catapulted him to a strong end to the 2008 campaign.

"We were fast all year," noted the veteran driver. "Earlier this season we weren't having the great finishes, but we still were quick especially in the big shows. Things really turned around for us and things really went our way later in the season. Sometimes you get caught up in some bad luck or bad draws that you can't get out of, but when you race 100 nights a year that will turn around. Everybody kept their chin up and the sponsors were really happy. Ever since the Nationals it seemed like we got our program headed in the right direction. We've had a lot of great finishes which helps you go into the off-season strong."

McCarl shuffled around a number of crew members this year as he searched for the perfect balance with the team. For next season, he will have Gary Isom and Brandon Ikenberry

on board again, as well as welcoming back South Dakota native Greg McCormick who has worked with McCarl in the past.

"Gary (Isom) was pretty much my whole crew this year and we now have Greg (McCormick) back with us, who was with me a few years ago and we have Brandon who was with me this year," shared McCarl. "I think we have the right package here. We have three young guys that are hard workers and they believe in Terry McCarl and that is half the battle, getting crew guys that want to be here and are happy to be here and believe in everybody."

McCarl, who has owned his own race team for much of his career, relinquished ownership early this year to Tod Quiring from Big Game Treestands. This move allowed McCarl to focus entirely on driving the set-up of the car and not have to worry about paying the bills and all of the other aspects that are involved with the business side of owning a race team.

"Somebody asked me if I was worried about getting fired and I guess that's with any job," McCarl noted. "As long as I do my job and he gives me the tools I need to do it, we'll be ok. I have a great relationship with Tod (Quiring). We've been together for 12 years so I don't think I'm going anywhere as long as I do my job. It has definitely been a huge weight off my shoulders, whether we have had a crash or had something happen to a motor, Monday morning I don't have to pay the bills."

With the off-season already a few weeks old, McCarl is busy preparing for next season. After competing nearly 80 times this past season, he will find a little time to relax and will also do some indoor racing with his two teenage sons over the winter.

"You think you have a lot of time, but you don't," said the native of Altoona, Iowa. "You have to build new cars and have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's in there and maybe go to Australia, it goes by quick. I'll get to take my boys Micro-sprint racing as well. The key for me is to stay in shape and make sure things are headed in the right direction in terms of equipment."

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.

-credit: woo

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Series World of Outlaws