LIAR, LIAR Tony Stewart Racing's McMahan Adjusting to Life in the Spotlight...Sort Of INDIANAPOLIS (March 9, 2007) -- With the 2007 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series season firmly underway, it's safe to say that Paul McMahan is successfully...
Tony Stewart Racing's McMahan Adjusting to Life in the Spotlight...Sort Of
INDIANAPOLIS (March 9, 2007) -- With the 2007 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series season firmly underway, it's safe to say that Paul McMahan is successfully settling into his sophomore season with Tony Stewart Racing (TSR). Having adjusted to the attention that his high-profile team owner shines on the TSR team and sport of sprint car racing, the reserved but friendly McMahan is still trying to figure out one aspect of his role with the team.
He just can't figure out why he's called a liar more often than a used car salesman working on the bargain lot.
As McMahan and the No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Eagle team travel back and forth across the country, they meet thousands of race fans along the way. One of the most popular questions McMahan answers each night is whether or not his team owner, Tony Stewart, is at the track or if he'll be attending that night's event.
While McMahan is accustomed to the question, the reaction took some getting used to.
"In all of my life combined, I've never been called a liar to my face as much as I have been in the past year and a half," joked McMahan. "At first, that reaction would bother me. My parents taught me to always be truthful, the same as my wife and I try to teach our children. Now it's almost comical. They never believe me when I tell them Tony's not here or that we don't know when he'll show up at a race. I just stick to my story and let them wonder if he's really around. It's part of the fun."
That type of questioning was just one of the many changes McMahan faced when he joined the TSR family in November of 2005. While he'd always been a part of the media interest that the WoO Sprint Series generates, McMahan's transition offered him a true taste of the media glare that his boss has successfully learned to navigate. Now in his sophomore season with TSR, McMahan's finding that he's more at ease with the attention that the No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Eagle team attracts.
"It's definitely been easier the second time around," McMahan said. "Competing with the WoO Series, you're always aware of the media presence. But when you step into a role with a high-profile team such as Tony Stewart Racing, you don't fully understand the attention -- good or bad -- that you're going to encounter. The fans are really great. It's a lot of fun getting to meet all of these people from around the world who not only support what we do but appreciate Tony's interest in making the sport grow. We've not had the best of beginnings to the season but we're getting everything turned around and I have high hopes for the remainder of the season. The Chevrolet engines are really beginning to take off and I think we're going to be able to give Bass Pro Shops one of their best championship finishes yet."
Following a weekend off from competition for the WoO Sprint Series, McMahan and the No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Eagle team will resume action on March 16 at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. The series moves on to Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss., on March 17. McMahan is currently ranked 10th in the WoO Sprint Series Championship standings, having earned one top-five finish, two top-10 finishes and one quick time award in seven A-main event starts.