Tulare - Terry McCarl spotlight

Tulare - Terry McCarl spotlight
Feb 22, 2007, 3:45 AM

McCarl Looks for Second Win at Thunderbowl Raceway Tulare, CA--Feb. 21, 2007 -- For Terry McCarl, Altoona, Iowa will always be home, but for a time in the early 1990's be called the Golden State home, while honing his skills behind the wheel of a ...

McCarl Looks for Second Win at Thunderbowl Raceway

Tulare, CA--Feb. 21, 2007 -- For Terry McCarl, Altoona, Iowa will always be home, but for a time in the early 1990's be called the Golden State home, while honing his skills behind the wheel of a sprint car in California.

This weekend, he will get the opportunity to return to the West Coast and compete at a track that he has had a fair amount of success at, including winning a World of Outlaws A-Feature event. That track is the racy 1/3-mile Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. The World of Outlaws will contest two full race programs on Friday February 23 and Saturday February 24, with each paying the winner $10,000 from a purse of nearly $90,000.

While heading to California will be a nice escape from the cold weather that has blanketed the Midwest this winter, McCarl heads to Tulare with one thing in mind and that is make a trip to Victory Lane. Knowing the track inside and out bodes well for the veteran driver.

"We have a lot of good friends out there and we love racing out there," said McCarl, driver of the Big Game Treestands Eagle. "I told them (sponsors that will be attending the event) it's a pretty exciting place to watch a race, and if you want to see something different for somebody from the Midwest it would be a great place to go watch."

After starting the season off on the spacious and blazing fast half-mile at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida during the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals, McCarl is ready to mix it up on the tight and racy 1/3-mile at Thunderbowl Raceway. The fan favorite opened the 2007 season by competing in six events at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, which also is a 1/3-mile oval.

"With all the laps we have around all of these different tracks, it's not too tough going between half-mile and third-mile tracks," he said. "The little sticky tracks of California are really not my forte and that is why I moved out there a number of years ago. We did pretty well the last few times we have gone to Tulare and won one a couple years ago. We're getting around there pretty well."

While the World of Outlaws raced eight times on 1/3-mile tracks last season, none are really comparable to Thunderbowl. That unique nature is one of the things that McCarl enjoys most about racing at the facility. Being a promoter himself, he also knows the fans will see two competitive nights of action with a multi-grooved track and plenty of side-by-side racing and passing.

"Tulare is kind of tricky," stated McCarl, a six-time track champion at Huset's Speedway in South Dakota. "It is more of a paperclip than Pevely (I-55 Raceway in Missouri) or Powercom Park (now Charter Raceway, Beaver Dam in Wisconsin). It's pretty racy. I like tracks that put on a good show for the fans, and I'd say that is one of the best tracks in the country for the fans to see a lot of exciting races."

After competing in 12 total events, including six on consecutive days while in Florida, McCarl was able to return home after the DIRTcar Nationals, and get caught up on some of the tasks waiting for him before heading west. Owning his own car and also being the promoter of a couple of summer events in his native state, certainly keep McCarl busy at all times.

"I was in Florida for three weeks, as we also ran Mark Burch's 360-car," said McCarl. "It was nice to go home and see my kids and rest back up, and get ready to head out to Tulare. It kind of gives you a chance to catch your breath a little bit and get back at it."

McCarl's team led by Crew Chief Steve Fitzpatrick along with crew member Greg McCormack were also able to make it back to the shop to regroup before heading to California. With the clock quickly ticking and the long journey west on Interstate 80 awaiting them, they were right back to work the instant they unloaded the truck after arriving back from the Sunshine State. One the hardest working and best prepared crews in the pit area, the pair have McCarl very confident as he heads to the Golden State.

"They got a little spoiled with the warm weather in Florida, so they got to go back to Iowa and work on the car in the cold," joked McCarl. "I told them to make sure they get everything washed up in Florida, because you don't want to do it back in Iowa. This is what we do for a living and my guys do a great job. We're looking forward to going out to California and to have a good run."

The always optimistic driver is currently seventh overall in championship points just 42 out of the lead as he chases his first series championship. After climbing all the way to the third spot in points last season, before suffering a severely broken left leg, the six-time Knoxville Raceway Champion is pleased to have gotten off to such a solid start in Florida. With over 80 races remaining, he knows it is a long season and consistency will be the key.

"You can't really win the championship the first weekend, but you can get yourself in a heck of a hole if you don't do well," explained McCarl. "We did that in 2005, when we came to Florida and did not make the show the first two nights, and that put us in heck of a hole. The events in Florida are so tough. The race at Volusia is one of the toughest races all year because of the caliber of competition and all the Pennsylvania guys, and the guys from the Midwest, and the All Stars, and the Outlaws. It makes it difficult to make the feature, let alone do well. We're heading to California on a high note."

Tickets for the event on Friday February 23 and Saturday February 24 at Thunderbowl Raceway can be purchased by calling 559-688-0909, or by visiting www.thunderbowlraceway.com. On February 23, adult tickets begin at $30, and on February 24 adult tickets begin at $35.

-credit: woo

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