Austin at Knoxville last Saturday (Chuck Stowe Images)
(Bill W) July 5, 2017 – What started out as a tough night at Knoxville Raceway, ended in a charge from 11th to sixth for the TKS Motorsports #2KS team and driver Austin McCarl. The night included some mystery with the car, but communication was the key to figuring it out. The team remains third in the season point race at Knoxville, and is looking forward to getting back to the track this Saturday night.
The car was not performing well in practice. “Things started out a little rough,” says team owner and crew chief, Troy Renfro. “We went out in hot laps, and the car didn’t look good. We did a couple things trying to get ready for the Nationals. We were doing things here and there. I didn’t care for the way the car looked. Something just wasn’t right.”
Austin agreed. “I hadn’t felt this car feel the way it did on the track. We chalked up our problems to the things we were trying on the car. We set the car up for time trials the way we had been setting it up all year.”
Things didn’t improve. “We were tenth quick, and it wasn’t a good tenth quick,” says Troy. “That’s not good for us, considering how we’ve done this year. The car was just terrible. Austin was kind of baffled as well and just wasn’t feeling good with the car. The way the car looked on the track really bothered me. We changed a couple more things for the heat race. Austin kept saying it felt like a teeter-totter. He was sure there was something wrong on the left front of the car. He even said that after hot laps. After qualifying, we blocked the front end, and everything seemed fine.”
Troy wasn’t satisfied that the problem was solved. “We jacked the front end up again and took the left front bar out,” he says. “It was split. Austin just has an amazing feel for the car. I’ve never seen a driver as young as he is, that has had that kind of feel. This car has only nine races in at Knoxville. That bar had only nine races on it. It’s the second time in all the years I’ve done this that that has happened.”
After finishing fourth in the heat, Austin started the feature inside row six. “We tried to put everything behind us heading into the feature,” he says. “We were able to get to (Danny) Lasoski, and he was making the car wide like he needed to do. We were eventually able to get by him. I got to my Dad (Terry) and he was making himself hard to pass as well, which is his job. So we were able to finish behind him in sixth. We really got stronger as the race went on. I felt like we definitely had one of the cars to beat. It was disappointing, because it was probably our fastest car come feature time that we have had all year.”
Troy agreed. “Lap times-wise, we were just as fast as the leader. We’re really happy with that, and those are things we look at. We’re also happy that we can communicate with the car. Austin can tell me what the problem is, and we can identify it. It really helps to have someone in the seat that can point you in the right direction. His full potential hasn’t come out yet. I think it really helps him that he can focus on driving the car, while the rest of the team can worry about the other side.”
There is also a benefit in having a number of cars partnered with Casey’s General Stores. “Being a part of the Casey’s team has been great,” says Troy. “Brian (Brown) has been able to communicate some things to Austin that I can’t. Brian asks us questions as well. Matt Moro is having a great season. All three teams have a great camaraderie, and we can lean on each other and communicate the things were seeing out there.”
Sponsor the Front Wing with TKS Motorsports!
TKS Motorsports is always open to new perspective partners! Looking for an affordable way to be a part of a sprint car team? Whether you’d like to partner with the team for the full season, or put your company’s name on the nose wing for a night of your choice, contact Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org!
TKS Motorsports would like to thank Casey's General Stores, Des Moines Industrial Products (DMIP), 1 Way Technologies, AL Driveline, AO Designs, All Star Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Fibreworks Composites, Hoosier, Indy Race Parts, KSE Racing Products, Mag Tech Ignition, Maxim Racing Chassis, Schoenfeld Headers, Tony Moro Collision Center, Tony Moro Powdercoating & Sandblasting, Butlerbuilt, Aurora Rod Ends, HRP, Volcano Joe’s Coffee, Walker Filtration Systems, Snyder Landscaping & Lawn Care, Justice Brothers, Webb Family Farms, Wilwood, Winters Performance Products and Gail Dielman.
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Photo: Austin at Knoxville last Saturday (Chuck Stowe Images)
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