Terry McCarl is a legend to the folks around Knoxville Raceway. McCarl holds various records, has over 50 victories at the famed half-mile and is a 6 time champion at the speedway. With stats like that it’s easy to see why our friends at Superflow Dynamometers and Flowbenches decided to sponsor him at last week’s 52nd annual Knoxville Nationals.
SuperFlow and the entire McCarl team had high hopes going into the week. However, As every race fan knows, you have to have a little luck to run good at the Nationals. McCarl’s luck or lack there of rather, would be evident from the very start of the Nationals.
McCarl would start out qualifying 7th out of the 52 car field on Thursday which would place him starting fourth in his heat race. McCarl settled into fifth place and looked to be one spot shy of making the A-feature that night.
“Everything is so important,” McCarl explained. “You can’t win it all in the heat race, but you can lose it. We would have even been o.k. running fifth in the heat and making it through the B. I wasn’t that worried.”
On the final lap, McCarl seemed to have some good luck as Geoff Ensign who was running in fourth blew an engine on the backstretch and seemed to hand the final transfer spot to McCarl.
“I thought I would make it through, but all of a sudden his car veered to the right,” says TMAC. “It wasn’t his fault at all. I had every intention of running up the fence and back down to finish the race. I about had it. Unfortunately, it was so deep coming down that my nose dug in and we turned over.”
His bad luck wouldn’t end there as he would pull into the work area before the B-feature that night. “Unfortunately, the left front brake locked up before the B main. When things like that happen, you know it’s just not your year.”
However A good seventh place finish on Friday would give him hope of making it into the $150,000 to win Main event on Saturday as he would line up for Saturday’s B-feature in 13th spot that would send four drivers to the A-feature. However McCarl would only be able to finish a disappointing 14th.
“We were the fastest car in hot laps,” he says. “It sounds like craziness, but I check this stuff myself. We left with ten and a half inches of stagger and came in with twelve and a half inches. The right rear grew an inch, and the left rear shrunk an inch. We checked the pressures and they were right on. I was just so loose the way the track was.”
Unfortunately for the entire team that’s just how racing will treat you sometimes. Best of luck next year!