Tom McCarthy III

Tom McCarthy: 2021 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Division IV champion profile

In just his first full season of racing, Tom McCarthy is a national champion.

McCarthy won the Auto Value Parts Store 4-Cylinder division championship at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway, and he picked up five wins and 19 top-five finishes in 21 races to win the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Division IV national championship.

“It’s awesome,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t get any better than that, right?”

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(Photo courtesy of Tom McCarthy)

The 26-year-old driver actually thought he had the title won a week before it happened. He had the dates for the end of the NASCAR season wrong and saw he had about a 10 point lead in the standings following the final race at Berlin.

It was later that week when he realized second place finisher Gordon Farnum got a couple more races in on the final weekend of the season.

McCarthy won the title over Farnum by just four points.

McCarthy wasn’t too worried about points at that point in the season. He started the season hot, winning four of the first five points races at Berlin and jumping out to a 22-point lead in the NASCAR points in late August.

But he cooled off in the middle of the summer and struggled at times. He admits races became tedious and stressful trying to make sure he did everything perfectly while trying not to let anyone pass him.

McCarthy decided late in the season to just have fun with racing and not think about the points or perfection behind the wheel. When he changed his mentality, he saw improvements.

“It makes a huge difference,” he said of his focus on having fun behind the wheel. “It’s a long season. It’s a lot more work than you would think.”

McCarthy’s dad, Tom McCarthy II, also ran in Berlin’s 4-cylinder division. The two were joined by their cousin, T.J., and two brothers and two sisters, as well as other friends who the younger McCarthy said were always willing to help whenever needed.

Tom McCarthy
(Photo courtesy of Tom McCarthy)

The national title will likely be a one-off for McCarthy, who is getting married next June. He said he doesn’t plan on running a full season in 2022, but they’ll keep both cars so the father and son can still get out and race whenever possible.

“We hope to at least get out there a few times and make some laps and have some fun,” he said.

McCarthy said he always knew he likely wouldn’t return to full-time racing next summer, but he learned to love the sport and the people at Berlin in his first summer.

“It was hard walking away from the track the last night … just not knowing what was in store for next year,” he said. “During the last few weeks I was kind of ready just because it is so time consuming and stressful working on cars and getting everything ready and preparing everything to be successful when we go there. Just having all that in mind I was kind of ready for it to be done, but as soon as it was done, I was already starting to miss it.

“I think that says a lot for how good everyone at Berlin is and the track and how professional everything is. It’s a lot of fun, good place to race, good people to be around.”

Even though running a full season was a lot of work, and running for a national championship was even more work, McCarthy said the memories of his first championship summer is not something he’ll soon forget.

“It’s awesome. It’s always fun. I’m definitely going to miss it,” he said.