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Terry McCarl Looks Forward to One Final Rendezvous at East Bay Raceway Park During This Week’s King of the 360’s Event

Updated: Feb 16


PETERSEN MEDIA: Getting to Florida in February is a great escape from a frigid Iowa Winter. Not only is it a bit of a spring break, it also signifies the start of each racing season, and for Terry McCarl it has equated to immense success.


Of the venues in Florida, one has been particularly kind to the Altoona, IA driver simply known as ‘T-Mac’ and that is Tampa, FL’s own East Bay Raceway Park. While McCarl is again primed to open his season back in Florida tonight, he does it with a bit of a heavy heart as this week’s Ronald Laney Memorial King of the 360ci event marks the final visit he will ever make to the famed speedway as it will shutter at season’s end.


“East Bay Raceway Park is a fantastic place to race and has a fantastic fan base and I deeply hate to see it go,’ Terry McCarl said ahead of his final visit to the track. “It is one of those neat places that I can say my father Lenard competed at, as well as my two boys Austin and Carson. Mix that nostalgia in with the success that I have been fortunate to have, and it makes this week emotional for myself along with a long list of drivers that will be in action.”


Success may be an understatement for the Hall of Famer. McCarl has turned East Bay Raceway Park into his winter paradise over the years. Entering his final three races at the track, McCarl will hit ‘The Clay by the Bay’ boasting 15 career feature event wins in just 126 starts since the 1994 season. With those 15 wins all coming during the Winter Nationals it puts TMAC as the all-time feature event wins leader at the yearly event.


Of those 15 wins, 11 of them have been 360ci scores and with three more opportunities this week, he relishes the opportunity to add to that total as he chases after his fifth career King of the 360’s crown.


Dating back to the 1994 season, McCarl made his debut at East Bay Raceway Park during the Winter Nationals as he competed for Legendary car owner, Bob Weikert and tallied an 11th pace finish in All Star Circuit of Champions competition and went on to cap that trip off with a seventh-place finish later that week.


Each and every year, McCarl continued to take part in the Winter Nationals and got better with each trip as he finally scored victory at the track on January 29th 1999 .


Though he was shut out of victory lane until 2003, McCarl then became a fixture in victory lane as he scored a pair of wins in 2004, a whopping four wins in 2006, he also ran seventh in the non-wing feature, solo wins in ’07 and ’08, and then again picking up wins 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.


Picking up his last King of the 360 crown in 2019, McCarl wants nothing more than to win the final one being hosted at East Bay this week in honor of the late Ronald Laney.


“I think I am one of the only drivers competing who knew Ronald Laney, his girlfriend, and even his dog, so to close out this event at East Bay would mean the world to me,” McCarl added.


To go along with McCarl’s 15 wins in 126 starts at the track he has been a model of consistency there as he boasts 93 Top-10 finishes. Of those Top-10’s, McCarl has 14 runner-up finishes, 11 third place runs, 12 fourth place finishes, and 11 times he has ran fifth. In total, 63 Top-Five finishes puts him at a 50% Top-Five finish rate over the course of his career.


A big reason that McCarl has been able to make the yearly voyage to East Bay Raceway Park’s Winter Nationals is because of great friendship and great local partners.


“There’s a group of local people in the Tampa area that have not only supported my efforts over the years,  but have turned into great friends of the family and we look forward to seeing them with each trip,” McCarl said.


McCarl was quick to thank Burnett Rock and Landscaping, Meyers International Midways, Morgan Farms, Dynasty Stucco, and The Hanging Chad Restaurant for continuing to support his efforts.


“There’s just something about the place that has been so good to me for 30 years,” T-Mac added. “It’s one of those places that you don’t necessarily need to have the most horsepower and the nicest engine, but you have to be methodical in the seat, and you have to have your car right.”


“It the scheme of things today, race tracks are going to go by the wayside, and it really is sad when it happens,” he continued. “The best thing we can do as racers and fans is to keep its memory and history alive. This one hits close to home, but I am extremely thankful to have the opportunity to take part in East Bay’s final season.”

Special thanks to Kevin Eckert and Sprint Car Stats for the statistical info.



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