Flowdynamics driver Matt McCarthy raced to his best finish of the 2023 season when he came home sixth in the Glenn Howard Classic at Perris Auto Speedway. Racing a limited schedule thus far this year, it was his third top-10 finish in five starts.
McCarthy, who calls Riverside, California home, and his teammate Logan Williams of Yorba Linda, were joined by 22 other USAC/CAR Sprint Car drivers on the pleasant first Saturday of fall. McCarthy steered his eye-catching #28M to the 11th-best time in qualifying when he toured the famous half-mile oval in 17.028. Williams, who was starting his seventh race of the year, was just a blink of an eye behind at 17.049. That was the 13 fastest lap in time trials.
Williams, the 2013 PAS Young Gun Sprint Car Series champion and 2014 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year, was the first of the Flowdynamics drivers in the heat races. Starting on the outside of the front row for the second 10-lapper, the youngest of the three racing Williams brothers drove his #5W to a second-place finish.
McCarthy, who earned the USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year title in 2017, was up in heat race #3. The slender driver started and finished third in the heat, which on paper was the toughest of the three heats on the night.
The 30-lap main event that honored Glenn Howard, a long-serving racer, car owner, official, and racing business owner, started with each driver standing next to his car during introductions. McCarthy was on the inside of the sixth row and Williams was directly behind. McCarthy moved forward five spots in the race to finish sixth. Williams placed 15th.
Williams left the night 11th in the series championship standings, only 16 points out of the top 10. McCarthy is 16th, just one marker behind the 15th-place driver.
McCarthy has been scarce on the USAC/CRA circuit this season only making five starts. All of them have come near home at Perris Auto Speedway. He is spending a lot of time with his kids and their activities. His son Ryder is 8 and his daughter Kenzie is 5. Ryder plays baseball and rides BMX. Kenzie also races BMX. In addition, he is up and working around 5:00 a.m. for Flowdynamics which does stainless steel fabrication for food and beverage plants.
“Yeah, my dad is kind of like, ‘Man, do you want to chase the championship,’” McCarthy said. “You start scratching off the doors with top threes and top fives, it kind of changes the mindset. But, I have my whole life ahead of me. Some of these guys race sprint cars until they are 50 or 60 years old. I am still young, If something were to change for us next year or the following year, maybe we would race for points again. But as of right now, we can barely squeeze five or eight races a year. Mostly just Perris.”
Just because McCarthy has been racing less frequently, does not mean that he hasn’t missed racing on a regular basis. Quite the contrary.
“I miss it a lot,” he bemoaned over the phone. “We did it for six or seven years straight and we kind of came up from the bottom of the barrel. We were surprised we picked up speed that fast. I had never driven any other race car. I am pretty happy in how far we have come. There is always room for improvement but I have to race more for that. I miss being around everybody and being around the track. We kind of do it for fun. We drink our beers after. If we do good, we do good. If not, we just try it again next time.”
“I was talking with my dad early on the day,” McCarthy said referring to his recent race at Perris. “I said I know I am fast but I have to figure it out. I just can’t be smooth towards the end of the race. Those last 10-15 laps I kill myself and kind of fall back to where I started. Early on I was just kind of working on being smooth on entry and coming off. I told myself speed will come and it obviously worked. I don’t know why it is but we do better when I don’t race as much. I think it is me just being hungry and missing it.”
“We were kind of fast right out of the box,” McCarthy went on. “We really didn’t do much (to the car on the night). Kind of kept the changes real simple and left the driving up to me.”
As for his next race, McCarthy is not sure. He is one of the coaches for his son’s baseball team. There is a game on October 14th when USAC/CRA travels to Mohave Valley. If he is needed to coach that day, he will be at the game. If not, he may be at the race. Flowdynamics is currently bidding on a big job that could keep him away from the Western World Championships at the Cocopah Speedway. The only race that is for sure on his schedule is the season closer at Perris on November 11th.
Whenever you get the chance to meet the Flowdynamics drivers in person, be sure to visit them in the pits. They will be glad to sign autographs for you and each will have their fine-looking team shirts available.
If you or your company would like to be a part of one of the West Coast’s most prominent sprint car teams for the upcoming season, please contact John McCarthy at 909 930-5522 or mailto:[email protected].
McCarthy and Williams would like to thank the following sponsors for making the 2023 season possible. Flowdynamics Inc., PurgePlugs.com, Cal Therm Mechanical Insulators, JFK Design Build, So Cal Racing Fuel, and Full Throttle Lift.
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