McCarthy's Super Comp win feels super

MOTOR SPORTS

April 25, 1993|By STAN DILLON

"It felt fantastic, absolutely fantastic," said Dave McCarthy, describing how he felt after the biggest win of his career.

Last Sunday, the Westminster driver overpowered the competition in the Pepsi 1st State National Open at the U.S. 13 Dragway in Delmar, Del.

McCarthy was paired against Keith Sloan of Maspeth, N.Y., in the sixth and final round of Super Comp competition. Sloan had a .488 reaction to McCarthy's .500, but McCarthy was the quicker of the two and took the victory.

McCarthy ran a 8.914 seconds/157.09 mph quarter-mile to Sloan's 8.984/146.67.

"It was our biggest NHRA [National Hot Rod Association] win," said McCarthy. "It shows we are capable of going on to win larger events."

McCarthy had just missed going all the way in the same event last year and wanted to redeem himself.

"We lost out in the semifinal last year when I red-lighted," recalled McCarthy. "I was dedicated to atone for my mistake this year. It was a race we really focused on."

McCarthy felt good going into Sunday's eliminations. He had three excellent practice runs Saturday and one Sunday morning.

"I felt good all weekend. There are things about drag racing, the way things are going. You just feel it's your day, your race," said McCarthy. "All the changes we made to the car were right. The car reacted the way we expected it to do. I just felt good; I had no pre-race jitters."

McCarthy became progressively more confident.

"I was more calm with each round," he said. "The car was impeccable all weekend long. Thanks to the crew, my mind was just clear to race. I knew they had everything taken care of and I could concentrate on racing."

The crew is Judy Holbrook, the other half of the team, and Doug MacPhearson, an auto mechanic at Orisman Ford in Bethesda.

"Judy took all the weather readings and fed the information into the computer," McCarthy said. "She was so accurate. The computer adjusted the timing on the car just right."

The team is likely to remember the final round for a long time.

"We both left equally slow," said McCarthy. "About halfway down I felt confident I had him."

Todd Harris of Westminster was another Carroll Countian who raced in the Super Comp division at U.S. 13. Harris had a good weekend after a win at 75-80 Dragway the week before. He lost in the fourth round to McCarthy.

"I had hoped to meet Todd in the final round," said McCarthy. "We have a lot of respect for each other, and we are good friends."

At last July's Mopar Parts Summernationals in Englishtown, N.J., Harris won and McCarthy went out relatively early.

Other drivers who competed at the 1st State National Open were Len Davis and Lee Howe.

Although bad weather has kept racing to a minimum, McCarthy went three rounds in the Motorcraft Gatornationals in March and two rounds in the Nationals at Rockingham, N.C.

While many drivers were racing on Easter, McCarthy used the day to do general maintenance, something he plans on doing more of this year.

"We had a good start last year, but toward the end little things just kept happening. Last year I destroyed an engine kicking out two rods at the finish line," he said. "The problem was with a clogged fuel filter. This year we are going to schedule more open weekends for maintenance."

Last year the McCarthy/Holbrook team signed Valvoline motor oil as a major sponsor. In between racing and working full time as a parts and service director at Rosenthall Cadillac, Buick & Isuzu in Gaithersburg, McCarthy has worked with Valvoline in their "Say No to Drugs" campaign.

"I am pleased to be part of their program," said McCarthy. "I believe in their message and want to get the message to the youth about the dangers of using drugs."

When its schedule permits, the team makes appearances for the program and is available to talk to students of elementary and high schools. Students enjoy the opportunity to see the car close-up, and McCarthy has a good message to give as well.

Today, McCarthy will be competing at the Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown in the Competition Photo Super Comp Circuit. It is a race he won last year, and a defense of his championship would be an especially nice 48th birthday present. His birthday is tomorrow.

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