Ask Chase McAdams if it was more fun to win a high school state wrestling title or win for the first time in his Super Truck at Langley Speedway, and he hesitates. He’ll tell you both accomplishments took a ton of work and both were exhilarating.
“It took me 15 years to win that wrestling championship,” said McAdams, who went 40-0 as a Poquoson High senior in winning the 2009 Group AA state title at 152 pounds. “But it seems like it took me 15 years of work in one year to win my first Super Truck race, so it’s hard to pick one over the other.
Most of McAdams’ spare time these days goes into working on the 1987 Dodge Dakota he drives in the Super Truck Division. He’ll go for his fourth win this season in as many races Saturday, when Super Trucks run 25 laps on a seven-race card that includes a Late Model 150, Legends 25, Modified 50, UCAR 25, Pro Six 30 and Bandolero 15.
McAdams put wrestling in his rearview mirror several years ago after attending King College (since renamed King University) in Bristol, Tenn., on an athletic scholarship that paid 85 percent of his expenses. He broke into the starting lineup quickly at King, but abandoned the sport after injuring both knees.
“I was wrestling for four months and spending the next six on crutches,” he said. “I missed it because wrestling is the last throwback to the (Roman) gladiators, you against your opponent, something I’d think about in front of all the people when we’d wrestle (in the Virginia Duals) at the (Hampton) Coliseum.
“Racing is similar, because it’s a challenge mentally and physically. You bring what you can, work as hard as you can and get what you got.”
What he’s gotten this season is three trips to Dale Lemonds Victory Lane. It’s a place he visited just once in his first four seasons, in 2012, and he seems to be getting used to it.
“I’m getting a lot more comfortable talking to Chuck Hall and joking around with him a little bit,” McAdams said of the Langley Speedway promoter and general manager who conducts post-race interviews in Victory Lane. “When you’re in that little checkered box, it’s a great feeling because you know everything came together for you.”
Although, for as competitive a guy as he is in a car or on the mat, McAdams is philosophical about losing. He’s happy just to be at the track with his dad and crew chief, ex-stock-car driver Fred McAdams, and is grateful businesses such as Auto Max of York County and Advance Auto Parts will help fund the endeavor.
And befitting a guy who says he learned how to wrestle after memorizing the light fixtures of every gym in the area while being pinned to his back, McAdams is respectful of the competition. When Robbie Davis dominated the division a year ago, McAdams, who consistently ran second, bore no ill will.
“I keep pestering the people who worked for him last year to get him back out here, because I think I’ve got something for him now,” McAdams said. “But if I were to run second to him again, I’d be happy just to be racing.
“I love being in the truck with the adrenaline jumping and you turn left, make it through the center (of the corner) and do it all again. If you’re not gritting your teeth, you’re not going fast enough.”
If McAdams is to run second soon, it might be to his own backup truck. McAdams said Michael Waters, who runs the backup, is only about a tenth-of-a-second slower and finished second in a recent race.
“I’ll be happy if he gets the backup by me and wins,” McAdams said. “I’ll be so happy I’ll run to Victory Lane.”
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.