CONCORD, N.C. – The moment Paul McMahan strapped into the CJB Motorsports No. 51 on Friday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, nostalgic feelings of when he last drove the car in 2015 rushed in.
“It’s like I never left,” he said. “The seat belts fit just like they always have. My seat bolted right in like it did before. It was like an old home for me.”
After McMahan and Tom Buch parted, the 49-year-old reunited with CJB Motorsports on Friday and Saturday in the World of Outlaws Last Call at Charlotte. The deal doesn’t extend beyond this past weekend, but it could lead to more opportunities within the team.
“I was lucky enough that Barry Jackson and Chad Clemens offered me this for this weekend,” said McMahan, who failed to qualify for the main event on both nights. “That’s all we have planned right now. If it leads to something later that’d be great. I’m not planning on that right now. I’m going to see what my options are and hopefully something comes up.
“If it does, it does. If it doesn’t, it’s no big deal either.”
McMahan isn’t exactly rushing to find a ride for 2021. He’s mellowed at this stage of his sprint career, realizing a lack of top tier rides and his age doesn’t put him in the most desirable spot.
Since he and Buch split shortly after the end of the All Star Circuit of Champions season in early October, McMahan has made just two phone calls in regard to options for 2021.
“I haven’t been pounding the phone lines,” McMahan said. “I’ve gotten to the point where I want to be picky with what I want to do.”
McMahan’s ideal 2021 season would consist of 40 to 50 races. He would obviously accept a full-time ride if presented the opportunity, but McMahan learned this past year his threshold is 55 races. He also wants to spend more time with family and doesn’t need to rely on racing for an income.
Since 2018, McMahan has worked for QuickCar Racing Products, a racing equipment manufacturer in Lebanon, Tenn., in what he describes “a perfect situation.”
“Racing isn’t going to last forever, and I knew that,” McMahan said. “I don’t have to [race] for a living anymore. I just want to do enough to get that thrill.”
If nothing arises, a limited schedule with CJB is in the cards. It’s only a rough idea at this point, however. A considerable amount of logistics need to come together before those discussions can become more concrete, according to McMahan.
“There’s that possibility, and that’s be great,” McMahan said of running part-time for CJB. “But when I talked to Barry about doing this, it was just for this weekend. I called Chad and just wanted to thank him for doing this. He said if you can figure out something to do [in 2021], how to do some races with me, he would do that.
“That’s not something I’m planning on or holding them to, but if it works out that way, that would be great.”