Carson McCarl Becomes Youngest Sprint Car Winner Ever at Knoxville
by Chris McWilliams on May 5, 2011
Carson McCarl Celebrates his Win at Knoxville (Photo Source: CarsonMcCarl.com)
Carson McCarl made his father Terry McCarl very proud on Saturday night when he made history by becoming the youngest driver to win a sprint car feature at Knoxville Raceway at just 16 years old. The young gun from Altoona, Iowa picked up the win in the 305 feature at Knoxville in his first ever race there which is an impressive feat in itself. Before the race there had been some very bold predictions made as Friday’s practice night at Knoxville approached.
Carson said, “I had been saying I was going to win. Really, I was just saying it as a joke. I never thought it was going to happen. In fact, Steve (Fitzpatrick) laughed in my face one day last week in the shop when I said it.” Carson’s dad Terry has had a great deal of success at Knoxville and Carson had some good help on his side. “Mostly, I get the advice from my dad (Terry),” he says. “Austin (McCarl) helps once in awhile too. Dad tells me to be smooth and keep the car as straight as possible.”
The night started off well when Carson drew the pole of his heat race. He started the heat well and led comfortably until a late caution flag flew. Carson said, “It felt really good. I was in turn three, and I was saying to myself, ‘Holy Crap, I’m going to win this thing. Then the yellow came out.” Veteran driver Mitchell Alexander, who was turning laps at Knoxville before Carson was born, put a great slidejob on Carson on the restart to win the heat. “I wasn’t expecting that slidejob on the last lap,” says Carson. “That kind of sucked, but we got through there with second.”
Carson received some last minute advice before the 12-lap 305 feature from his father. “He told me to keep it on the bottom, because there really wasn’t anything up top,” he says. “I knew if I kept it down there it would be hard for someone to get around me.” The driver of the TMAC Motorsports #97 looked like a veteran as he went by the front row starters to the lead. He looked smooth out front and through a caution, but things inside the cockpit were a little shaky. “With about three laps to go, my brake foot started shaking just a little bit,” he says. “It was just an incredible feeling to win it.”
After crossing the scales and heading to Victory Lane, there weren’t many words. “It was nuts,” says Carson. “I can’t really describe it. I really couldn’t say anything in Victory Lane. I didn’t have anything prepared. It wasn’t something I was expecting.” Most of all, Carson is thankful for those who make his racing dreams a reality. “I would like to thank my sponsors for all they do for us, especially Gary Dean and Aaron Berryhill for helping get me started,” he says. “Also, my mom and dad, and Steve, Brad, TJ and Jeff need thanks for getting the car ready to race and supporting me.” Carson will return to action in the 305 sprints in two weeks as they have the next week off. Fans can find more information on the impressive win and more on Carson at www.CarsonMcCarl.com.