Tim McCreadie: “I don’t ever take a lap off”

Tim McCreadie

When one considers all of the accomplishments that can be achieved in Dirt Late Model racing, there are not very many things Tim McCreadie hasn’t done. The 48-year-old star driver’s list of championships and crown jewel wins would rival anyone who has ever participated in this form of motorsports. And even with all of that success in his past, it could be argued that the Watertown, New York native is as good now as he ever has ever been at any point in his career.

The last two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championships along with the 2006 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series title are among the touring series trophies adorning T-Mac’s mantle. And if it’s crown jewel wins that define greatness in this sport, the driver of the No. 39 Paylor Motorsports Longhorn Chassis can boast of World 100, North-South 100, USA Nationals, Topless 100, and Prairie Dirt Classic victories.

So how does a veteran driver who has achieved so much keep himself from falling into the rut of simply doing the same things over and over again in terms of preparation when the technology on these types of cars is ever changing?

“I think you’ve got to keep an open mind,” McCreadie told InsideDirtRacing.com. “As the years go on, new things evolve in the sport. Whatever you’re running in a car, that feel you’ve become accustomed to might go away. I’ve always lived off the stopwatch. The feel, I always want the feel I like but the stopwatch will tell you if you’re fast or not. Unfortunately sometimes, if it’s fast but don’t feel right you try to get used to it and maybe tune on it down the road to make it feel better. If you go basing your stuff off how fast the car is, usually for a guy like me, you change your feel. You’ve got to keep an open mind because it’s ever evolving, nothing stays the same.”

McCreadie’s cars are indeed fast and that’s the way he likes. And his hard charging style is one that is required nowadays with the competition level being what it is.

“I’ve been here almost twenty years now,” the Big Block Modified front runner turned Late Model ace pointed out. “I came in here in the early 2000s where it was changing from whatever it was before. I didn’t know things like spring in front and stuff like that they used to do, we didn’t run a ton of 100-lappers so we didn’t have to worry about conservation. I’ve been running hard since the day I got in these things.”

There’s no time for laying back and letting things play out in the short number of laps that comprise most dirt races.

“I don’t ever take a lap off,” he insisted. “I don’t know if that’s why I’ve been able to be successful later in my career or not. We always set the car up, I mean, you can do many things if you want to test a little you can work on some longer runs but it’s not easy to always pass. Sometimes the restarts are usually where you make your hay so you just try to get your stuff as balanced as possible. Nothing is set in stone on what you can do or what you can’t do.”

Tim McCreadie in the No. 39 Paylor Motorsports Longhorn Chassis

To help him stay up front, McCreadie is very much involved in the Longhorn Chassis program that is currently being employed by a number of the sport’s top teams. When asked why that particular brand is doing so well, his reply pointed to the attention to detail.

“It helps to have, obviously, really good drivers and really good race teams that can practice a good bit and give you some feedback,” he explained. “I think they’ve done a good job with consistency. You start building cars as the same thing changes, you start bringing some more automated stuff into your program you get the consistency down on the chassis a little bit better. When they come off the jig feeling the same, that’s a good thing.”

A number of factors have gone into not only McCreadie’s but Longhorn’s recent success.

“I don’t know if it’s the way the rules have gone, or tire rules, or what over the last few years where maybe our cars have started to shine a little bit or what. I’ve been in one so long I don’t really know. I drove Warriors back in the day, and a little bit of Victory Circles, and the older Rockets- I’ve never driven an XR1, or MasterSbilts or anything like that so I really don’t have an opinion on what you would do to those other cars to where I feel in this. And it’s always hard work. When you get down there’s only one way out of it, you work harder.”

McCreadie and the rest of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will conclude their portion of Georgia-Florida SpeedWeeks this weekend at East Bay Raceway Park.

Click the play button below to listen to the interview with Tim McCreadie:

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