McNulty Builds to Career Highlight

McNulty Builds to Career Highlight

Sally McNulty has been a staple player in the TC America powered by Skip Barber since 2019. Over the years she’s won fans and respect alike through her strength and grit. At VIRginia International Raceway she turned that strength and grit into podium finishes. 

While McNulty has always had consistency in her driving the podium had never materialized but in one weekend everything changed.  She landed her first career podium with a second-place finish in Race One of the TC America series at VIR. McNulty followed that performance up with a third-place finish in Race Two. As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours.

McNulty could feel the excitement of possibility making her biggest competition her mental state as she closed out Race One.

“During the race, I knew I was getting close to the podium after passing a few cars,” McNulty said. “I just tried to stay cool and calm during the race, telling myself to just be consistent and put down fast laps. I told myself that if something happens and I can't keep this position, it is still awesome to make it this far and not be sad. 

“I put my head down and focused on my driving. I waited till I rounded the last corner before the checker and the tears started rolling down my face. I have worked so hard for this. I knew there was a perfect time and place for everything, and the VIR race was that weekend. I had turned probably 85 plus laps on the simulator preparing for this race and it was worth every moment.”

McNulty began racing as an adult. In a series where many of her competitors are her junior and have grown up through the ranks of go-karting McNulty has used the races to continue to gain experience by learning alongside those with more track time. The continued experience was bound to culminate to something special. 

“I knew I would get there eventually,” McNulty said. “There is a perfect time and place for everything, and I just had to wait for it. I didn't start racing at a young age. I started in track days in my daily driver Chevy Cobalt as a young adult. I worked my way up through SCCA and NASA in time trials and so forth. I have far less experience than a lot of my competitors, but I knew that in every race I was learning something that I could use down the road. I have some really great sponsors that help me to get here, and they keep me pushing. I'm glad I could get not one but two podiums for them this weekend.”

McNulty has gone hands-on in her racing career. She put the time in on track and on simulators, but she’s also learned how to wrench.

“I recently started building a track car from the ground up in my home garage,” McNulty said. “I did a complete engine swap, suspension upgrades, wiring tuck- the works. I did it all myself, did my research for the correct setup, and everything. Just a few months ago I attended my first track day in the car I built, and it was so fun to be able to put down some fast laps in a car that I put together with my own two hands. Surprisingly enough it went great and had no issues! That was a shining moment for me outside of competition.”

She’s built her own car and has now taken home two podium finishes. Which means it was time to restructure her goals. To do so, she didn’t need to look outside of her own team. 

“My goal is to be as fast as my teammate Jeff Ricca,” McNulty said. “He has years and years of experience and so much knowledge about going fast and winning races. He has really helped me to get up to speed this year in the Hyundai Veloster N and very appreciative of his coaching. I would really like to see us both on the podium together this year promoting Hyundai Motor America.” 

As McNulty continues to garner experience and speed, she passes down one piece of advice to her fellow drivers. 

“I would tell them, that all the people you see winning races didn't walk onto a racetrack and immediately start winning,” McNulty said. “It takes time, hard work, tears, and thick skin to keep going. Once you get past all of that you will get there, you can't give up. People who give up never get there, but the ones who hang on keep progressing and eventually get there. It’s sweet and worth the wait.”

McNulty and the GenRacer/ Ricca Autosport team get back to work at Road America from Friday, Aug. 18 through Sunday, Aug. 20. Tickets go on sale in July.