Austin at Knoxville (Chuck Stowe Images)
(Bill W) July 12, 2017 – It was another solid performance at Knoxville Raceway for the TKS Motorsports #2KS team and driver Austin McCarl. The Altoona, Iowa driver came home with a strong fourth place finish in the feature. In addition, Katelyn and Sydney Renfro celebrated their birthday with the team Saturday at the races. The team will be back at Knoxville this Saturday night.
Saturday, the track was different than the team has seen this year. “We’ve been trying to do a few things here and there to see if we can get more speed,” says team owner and crew chief, Troy Renfro. “The racetrack has just been inconsistent at Knoxville. We’ve chased both dry and heavy tracks this year.”
Austin timed in fourth quick in the field. “I felt we could have been a little better than fourth quick in qualifying,” he says. “We were just a little bit free. I turned the car in one and two a couple more times than I would have liked to.”
He would finish fifth in his heat race after starting in the tough spot inside row three.
“We were decent in the heat race,” says Austin. “It was kind of a tough track to pass on. Ian (Madsen) got a good start. I was lucky enough to get by Carson Macedo on the start, and we kind of hung on and saved the tire for the feature.”
Troy says the track often dictates how the heat races will play out. “Heat races haven’t been the best for us. A lot of that has to do with how the track is early in the night. It’s tough to pass. I get it. It’s all about the starts. We’ve seen drivers jumping all year and it’s let go. So that’s what you have to do. You go back and look at the video, and that’s what you have to do.”
Austin just missed the invert and started fifth in the main event. “I was glad to see the first start come back,” he says. “I didn’t get the best of starts. The second one was much better, and we were able to get by Dakota (Hendrickson) and get to the top right away. We were cruising around the cushion and we got the wing back. I thought we were a little better than the two guys in front of us. I made a couple of moves a little too early, but once again, we will live and learn. We can’t complain about another top five at Knoxville. It was a good points night.”
Troy saw the same thing. “Before the first yellow, we had the fastest car on the racetrack,” he says. “Austin may have tried to pass Ian a little early, and he knew that as soon as he came in. We’re on the same page with that. Some nights you have the fastest car, but the track won’t allow you to pass cleanly. At the end of the feature, Austin felt some issues in the left front. We ended up blowing out a left front shock. We ended up fourth, which was another good finish.”
This was the team’s fourth top five and seventh top ten finish. They sit third in the current point standings. “We’ve been very consistent,” says Troy. “That’s a tribute to Austin. We’ve been very good. If we have problems, he tells you exactly what he feels. That’s a big plus and it isolates any issues we have.”
The team continues to jell as the season progresses. “I’m hard-headed, and I’m not going to change,” says Troy. “I say that because I know the things we do are fast and I know that they will work. Austin has adapted to the car very well, and I believe he feels really comfortable. We couldn’t be happier with how things are going. We even had cookies for my daughters birthday after the races. The team just has a good feeling surrounding it before, during and after the races, and we’re just really happy.”
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Photo: Austin at Knoxville last Saturday (Chuck Stowe Images)
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