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INTERVIEW: JAMES MCFADDEN – ON TOP OF THE WORLD

James McFadden in the World Series Sprintcars

James McFadden in the World Series Sprintcars

After winning Speedweek James McFadden has marked himself as Sprintcar racing’s coming man

By GEOFF ROUNDS

AA: You must be rapt winning Speedweek and the position you’re in leading World Series Sprintcars at the moment?
JM: It’s been a good start to the season and yes, winning Speedweek shows the effort we’ve put in as team. There’s a fair way to go in the series but to be at the top now is good.

AA: It might be a really good year for you, both in Australia and the USA?
JM: Hopefully yes. It might be the year of number 17 in 2017, (in reference to his car number).

AA: That final night at Warrnambool WSS looked tough.
JM: It was the most physically demanding track I have been on in a long time.

AA: How are you rating your racing season so far?
JM: Pretty much happy, we’ve been good so far with some wins and constant top five results so that shows we’ve been solid. I still think there’s more good wins from us to come.

AA: The only major that’s eluded you for a win is next week’s Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic?
JM: We’ve won two Preliminary nights and the best I’ve finished is fourth. I don’t think we’ve started in the top 10. I don’t know what it is about it. You need a lot of luck to win the Classic and there are 30 cars that are all the same speed.
I’m pretty relaxed at the races and for me the Classic is the one that eludes me.
This team has won a few so hopefully I can piggyback on that success and get one.

AA: How’s the change been from Milling Racing to Monte Motorsport?
JM: It was really nerve-wracking coming here. I think I’ve gelled really well and they give what I need. It’s happy days so far.

AA: What were you so nervous about?
JM: You’re always nervous. It’s a different style of car, different shock and wing package, different crew chief but I think the transition has been pretty good so far.

AA: How have you adapted to the color red?
JM: Still getting used to it. It’s awesome having a big company like Milwaukee Tools onboard and that’s been a big eye-opener for me. To step into the corporate world has also been taught me the right way to do things.

AA: What are the plans for USA in 2017?
JM: Sean Dyson and Willie Kahne spoke to me late last year from Las Vegas and we will do a month’s racing in March and go and race in California, I’m just pumped for the chance. Willie is one of the best crew chiefs in the world so this is an amazing opportunity to work with him.

AA: You’ve come a long way is this what you always wanted?
JM: For a kid that grew up in Alice Springs I never thought I’d be where I am. You have to sit back every now and then and think this is pretty cool. Even to go and drive for Kasey Kahne and Joe Gaerte is pretty humbling. To be race a car driver for a living is pretty unreal. You can’t beat it for sure it’s a dream.

James McFadden in action

James McFadden in action

AA: What’s NASCAR star Kasey Kahne like?
JM: He’s just a lad. He’s fully hands-on and he’s very involved. The car I drove in America for him was his personal car and we weren’t allowed to touch it until he was there.

AA: It must be cool racing a lot against Donny Schatz and in the USA?
JM: I’ve passed him in a lot of Outlaws races for the lead and we’ve ran him down and I thought you beauty I’ve got this covered and five laps later he goes by me and I can’t see him, he’s out and gone. The highlight of my career was one night Steve Kinser came up to me and said I was doing a really good job, that’s someone I’ve looked up to all my life that was very cool.

AA: What is your weakness in racing?
JM: For me I don’t like sitting behind someone. I get a little impatient I’ll always try and have a big old go. I’m trying to change that in me a bit this year, rather than racing like a maniac. I’d rather race like a maniac don’t get me wrong but now I just slow down a little bit and then make the pass rather than just go for it and it hurts me and the car.

AA: What are some positives in sprintcar racing?
JM: The car counts are amazing still. You go race the Outlaws and you’d be lucky to get 18 cars some nights. I think we’ve got the potential to go further but we’re just not grabbing it. There’s a couple of tracks in Australia that are well presented and speedway is now a corporate environment and I just want my future involved in this sport and I just want it to go to the next level.

AA: How long is your future?
JM: As long as I can make it. If I can get an Outlaws deal and in the next few weeks who knows, things could really come along soon. There could be some big things about to happen there. It could really be happy times ahead.

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