TEMPE, Ariz. (Nov. 21, 2023) – After a nine year break, Chris McCurdy Sr. decided the time was right to get back on the race track.
After his first IMCA Sunoco Stock Car season, he was wishing he’d made that decision sooner.
McCurdy followed an ambitious schedule, making 47 starts at seven different tracks. While it took 44 of those starts to get his one and only win, the Tempe, Ariz., driver became a consistent runner on the way to earning EQ Cylinder Heads Southern Region rookie of the year honors and the Arizona State championship.
“We hadn’t raced since 2014 but when we started again this year we did it running with the big dogs at the IMCA.TV Winter Nationals,” said McCurdy, who piloted the same 2022 IROC Southwest by Rip Performance car son Chris Jr. won the state title in last year. “I’d never raced a car with this much suspension or with Hoosier tires before.”
The top 10 finishes, 17 in all, would start coming in bunches by April. McCurdy would be runner-up in points at Deuce of Clubs Thunder Raceway and got his career first win in the class on Aug. 25 at Show Low.
“I was telling my guys about the time we got to race 30 that I sure hoped I would get a win. There were three or four times I spun myself out leading before I did,” he said. “One of the things I like best about this class is the camaraderie and there were a lot of guys I raced with, like Chaz Baca, Shelby Williams and Lance Hanson, who didn’t mind helping.”
McCurdy grew up going to races with his dad, Fridays to Manzanita and Saturdays to different speed plants around the state. He started racing in 1983 and was super stock rookie of the year at Manzy in 2006, the year before his son – tight with Arizona product Ricky Thornton Jr. in their younger racing days – earned the same award.
“My son is a better driver than I am. I enjoy watching him race as much as I enjoy doing it myself,” said McCurdy, who took a break from the sport to focus on his business and family. “I forgot how much work really goes into racing. I wish I would have gotten more than one win but I wouldn’t change anything about this season for the world.”
“My family and support system were phenomenal and I got that one win, which was an accomplishment. We’re only going to get better from here.”
Top Five Finishes 17
HIS CREW: Girlfriend and biggest fan Stephanie Rasta, cousin Mike Berdge, niece Alex Berdge and grandsons Christopher III and Brice.
HIS SPONSORS: Scottsdale Muffler and Automotive of Tempe; Scott Saluka Racing of Casa Grande; IROC Southwest and Rip Performance of Apache Junction; DRD Graphics of Mesa; and Arizona Differential, Fire Shield and Ain’t Nick’s Tavern, all of Phoenix.