2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Paul McMahan One of Paul McMahan's main goals since the time he first strapped into a sprint car was to win a race at the famed Eldora Speedway. He had the chance to do...
2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Paul McMahan
One of Paul McMahan's main goals since the time he first strapped into a sprint car was to win a race at the famed Eldora Speedway. He had the chance to do that this season, as he took the checkered flag at the half-mile on June 2, in a thrilling battle with Jason Solwold that saw the pair trade the lead three times. Making the win even more special was the fact that the storied half-mile is owned by Tony Stewart, who McMahan drove for in 2007.
"When I first came out here, I wanted to win at three race tracks for sure before I quit racing," said McMahan. "Eldora was one of them and I was fortunate enough to get a win there during the World of Outlaws show. It was pretty cool to be able to win in Tony's (Stewart) car at Tony's track. That was a bonus. Just winning at Eldora was one of the coolest things of the year."
McMahan wound up eighth overall in World of Outlaws championship standings this season on the strength of 38 Top-10 finishes, with 14 of those being in the Top-Five. In addition to winning at Eldora, he was victorious at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin to bring his career win total with the series to seven. He was near the top of the leaderboard with eight quick time honors in time trials this season and also won the Crane Cams Dash three times to earn pole positions in A-Feature events.
"This season was most definitely one of the most competitive ever," he noted. "We were fortunate to win a couple of races. It was not a good season by any means, but it was salvageable."
McMahan showed his versatility this season, not only by running strong on some of the biggest tracks on the schedule, but he was fast on the bullrings as well. He finished fourth in his first visit to Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas on May 5 and followed that up with another fourth-place effort on the high banks of U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri.
"I'll still enjoy it and when you don't enjoy it that is when you need to quit," said the California native who now calls Nashville home. "It wasn't one of the best years for me personally, but I still enjoy driving a race car and still enjoy traveling around and going to different race tracks and seeing different people."
McMahan visited a number of tracks for the first time this season, including two separate stops in Canada at Ohsweken Speedway in July and at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton in August. He also had the chance to race a number of times in his home state of California, including at Calistoga Speedway, where he had a number of family and friends in attendance.
"It was a lot of fun going up to Canada," said the always optimistic driver. "It was a little tough getting up there, but once you get up there, it's a beautiful country and the fans are great. They appreciated us coming up there and that meant a lot. The promoter took very good car of us and the fans loved it. I enjoyed going there and I look forward to going back."
After shaking off some early season bad luck, McMahan's fortune began to change after finishing fourth on May 18 at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania. He proceeded to rip off a string of five consecutive Top-10 finishes, including a runner-up performance at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 25, where he led a number of laps. The team began to hit their stride, winning at Eldora just a week later.
In the heat of the summer, McMahan and his team continued to click off strong runs, with a sixth-place finish at I-55 Raceway in Missouri with the ESPN2 cameras rolling during the "SuperClean Summer of Money," serving as the starting point for a string of seven Top-10 finishes in the next eight starts. This helped him firmly establish himself in the Top-10 in championship points.
McMahan ran strong in a number of the events televised this season on ESPN2 and SPEED, and noted how it is beneficial to the entire sport from top to bottom.
"Any time you can get our races on TV is a good thing," McMahan said. "That's what we need to get sponsors into this deal. We need to get more sponsors like Bass Pro Shops and Chevy involved with other teams. We need to get the teams that are not owned by Tony Stewart or Kasey Kahne some sponsors. We have to get sponsors for more of the teams so we can keep our sport going."
After suffering a broken big toe in the season finale of the inaugural Outlaws World Finals, McMahan returned to action the following weekend in the Cotton Classic at Kings Speedway in California, followed by a start in the Trophy Cup at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. Following those events, McMahan returned home to rest before beginning to prepare for the 2008 season.
"I always say that I will stay home," he smiled. "My off-season isn't long, but it is as long as I want to make it. I can stay home for two months or I can stay home for two weeks, it just depends on what becomes available and what my body says it wants to do. At the end of the season I am ready for it to be over, but within two or three weeks, I am ready to go racing again."