Tim McCreadie is one of the most accomplished Dirt Late Model racers in the history of the sport. He has won enough championships and major races to make a number of top stars envious. And now he is in the midst of trying to score another great achievement.
In 2021, McCreadie won the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship, which combined with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series title he won in 2006, gave the Watertown, New York native a place in dirt racing history. Along with Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards, the 48-year-old driver became only the third to win both championships.
Add to those achievements, McCreadie has triumphed in events such as the World 100, the North-South 100, the USA Nationals, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals.
Now, ‘T-Mac finds himself, for the second time in his career, in the position of having to be the defender of a title rather than the seeker.
So is it harder to win a championship or to defend one?
“They both kind of go hand-in-hand,” McCreadie explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “It depends on what your focus is. Our focus is always to win races and the titles are usually secondary. During the year we’re not really saying we’ve got to contemplate every finish and we’ve got to make sure of this or make sure of that. We just go out and try to put our car in the best position possible to win races and then usually the points stuff takes care of itself.”
Winning the Lucas Oil championship provided McCreadie and his Paylor Motorsports team with a sense of relief. At the same time, winning another title will come if their primary goal is met. And that goal is to field a car that will run at the front of the pack on a weekly basis.
“As far as defending one, it’s more of when we finally won it you could sit back and have just a little bit of weight off our shoulders,” McCreadie pointed out. “Now it’s just a matter of going out there and if we’re lucky enough to do it again, it won’t be because we’re solely focused on that but because we ran well enough and had a competitive car and things went our way.”
The driver of the No. 39 Longhorn Chassis machine understands his place in the history of the sport. And he almost earned that place as a dual title winner back in 2017 when Richards just edged him for the LOLMDS championship.
“It was pretty cool,” McCreadie agreed. “When Josh won the Lucas title, going into the last race we were the points leader and I thought we were going to get it then which would have been five years ago and I would have been the second to do it. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Brandon(Sheppard) is obviously now our points leader so if he ends up winning it he would be the next guy. I think it’s an exclusive group, and yeah, it is rewarding. If you look at the guys who do this that are really good at their craft, we’re one of the three able to do it on both sides. I don’t look at it a lot but it’s definitely rewarding.”
McCreadie currently sits second in his defense of his Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series crown with two wins on that tour. At the same time, he has raced seven times with the fledgling XR Super Series collecting $25,000 for his win at Florida’s All-Tech Raceway back in April.
With so many lucrative races on the calendar this year, how does McCreadie and his team decide when and where to race?
“We work together as a team trying to figure out where we should run,” he said. “The one thing is that sometimes you can race a lot, and if you don’t have enough help or enough funding, even the way it’s going you just end up in a vacuum, a haze, and you don’t ever get better and you may even get a little worse.”
Sometimes not racing can be more beneficial than racing.
“We try to make sure that we’re fresh enough and that we can test so we can be prepared. We’ll leave some races off the schedule that financially look good on paper for the win, but when you look through the rest of the field, the structure of the purse isn’t overly great. And on top of us being gone for a stretch, we need to come home and give people a break. The new stuff with XR has been wonderful because the purses are really good and they seem to be really open to working with teams. I’ve said it before, you go out there and you run on a Friday night and you’ve got 25 grand to win for a Friday night race and you turn around on Saturday and it’s 40 or 50. That’s what I wish everybody could get to. I don’t know if it’s possible but it’s good that they’re giving us options.”
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