THIS STOCKER MIGHT BE SLOW, BUT IT'S A FAN FAVORITE
John McCarthy has fielded the question so many times he stopped keeping track.
Why, would anyone in their right mind, choose a 1960 Chevrolet Kingswood Station, as a race car?
"You’re not the first person to ask who looks at a ’60 Chevy Wagon and thinks, ‘I want to race that," McCarthy responded with a laugh. "In 1978 we started racing Stock Eliminator, MJ Quinn and myself, and we really couldn’t afford a fast car. It was a way for us to be able to run NHRA Stock Eliminator. We built the car originally; it was a two barrel car, ran X Stock Automatic. But when they changed the rules to where no V8’s and W, X, Y, and Z, we put the four barrel on it and moved up to U/Stock Automatic."
In Thursday's class eliminations at the Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals, McCarthy managed to bite, scratch and claw his way to a runner-up in a class now held hostage by 302-powered, Mustang II race cars.
Despite the clear performance disadvantage, and the we're not fast, but we are slow image, McCarthy says the car in some aspects resembles a race car.
"The car leaves really good," McCarthy said. "If you watch it, it actually picks the front wheels up and everything. But after you shift second, it’s kind of like slow motion. When you first leave, it feels like it’s going pretty fast, but it’s a different ride. I’ve raced other things, but it’s my favorite."
And slowly but surely, the classic, rare Chevrolet has picked up a fan following amongst those attending the preliminary days of the U.S. Nationals.
"Everybody likes the underdog," McCarthy said. "And over the years, I’ve now become the underdog. Everybody loves to see me race the Factory Stock cars. I ran (Bo) Butner up here two years ago, and it was amazing. I was in high gear before he left.
"We got to the finish line; he beat me by 12 inches. When I looked at the scoreboards, and looked down, and he was turned off the end of the track already. I was just about halfway to the turn-off. At 160 miles an hour he got there pretty quick at the finish line."
And McCarthy is, well ... consistent.