McCall Dreaming Of Thanksgiving Classic Glory

Matt McCall spends his most of his time as crew chief for Jamie McMurray, but he'll be behind the wheel of a race car during the Thanksgiving Classic. (Andy Marquis Photo)

LUCAMA, N.C. – Matt McCall has come close to winning the Thanksgiving Classic, but has come up short in previous attempts.

On Sunday, Nov. 26, he’ll be chasing the elusive Thanksgiving Classic victory once more.

McCall, 36, from Denver, N.C., works as the crew chief for Jamie McMurray at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  He is a multiple time late model stock car winner at Southern National Motorsports Park, most recently in May of 2015 when he won a race that was held in memory of the late Jerry Moody.

This season, he is once again racing for Wendell Davis, who was McCall’s crew chief in 2009 when he won the UARA championship.

“Wendell and all these guys have worked hard on this car,” McCall said.  “We basically rebuilt it because it sat around all year.  We’re thrashing to get here.  The plan is to come back and see if we can get a trophy.”

Working full-time in NASCAR racing keeps McCall out of the seat for most of the year.  However, being a racer, he still races whenever he can and the Thanksgiving Classic, which falls one week after the NASCAR season concludes, provides him a rare opportunity to strap into a late model stock car.

“Once you’re a short track racer, that’s all you want to do is short track race,” McCall remarked. “I think, if you give me a chance to race, we’ll try to race for sure.”

Last season, McCall finished third in the Thanksgiving Classic to Tommy Lemons, Jr. and Brenden Queen.  He ran inside the top-five throughout much of the race, but a series of late race cautions and a late race restart ultimately kept him from being able to make the winning move.

This year, he expects things to be different.

“To me, it will be different this year,” McCall commented.  “The pace will be a lot different than the racing has been in previous years.  Hopefully I can time that out correctly and be good at the end of the race.”

Having spent much of his career at Southern National, first racing for Jerry Moody and later, Wendell Davis, McCall sees the Thanksgiving Classic as something of a homecoming.

“Southern National is really close to Wendell’s shop and there’s a lot of value in this track,” McCall explained.  “Basically, Jerry Moody gave me my chance to start racing here, racing for him, and later for Wendell.  I think, to come back and race here is always fun.  I would consider it a home track for sure.”