Ever since he can remember, Tim McCreadie was always around race cars. The Watertown native recalls going to watch his father, Bob McCreadie, compete.
"I'd sit in the stands with my mother and when I got a little older I'd help my father and his crew with the car,'' McCreadie said recently.
His father didn't really want his son to become a professional driver. In the autobiography of Bob McCreadie called "Barefoot'' he talks about his son.
"You know it's funny," Bob said. "I always thought that I sheltered Timmy from racing. I really didn't want him to become a racer. I didn't want him to suffer the heartbreak which racing inevitably brings."
But Tim had other ideas.
Tim bought a small-block modified car, and stayed with the small-block for a year before purchasing a big-block modified. He stayed with the big-block for about five years before moving to the World of Outlaws late model series which took him to many areas of the country.
While he had won several races in his big-block modified (59) it was in a midget race car at Tulsa, Okla. that brought him national attention by winning the Chili Bowl in January 2007. He was competing against several NASCAR drivers in that race. While it was the race that many consider his big break in racing, it was also the site of this year's race that has sidelined him for the past five months. He broke his back after the car he was driving left the speedway and landed outside the track. He is still recovering from the injury, but is hoping to be back driving in the late model series within a few weeks.
Tim was given a chance to compete on a higher level with Richard Childress Racing in 2007 racing in a half dozen Busch Series races.
Tim also competed in some NASCAR West Series and ARCA RE/MAX races in 2007.
He was only with the race team for one year. Tim didn't think it was his performance or his age, but rather a money issue that forced him out..
"If a car isn't sponsored your bigger teams aren't going to run them,'' Tim said. "With me, they ran out of sponsorships and I was pretty much left in limbo in 2008. The race team went into another direction with their sprint car drivers driving most of their cars, including in the Nationwide Series."
Tim won the 2008 Knoxville Nationals which paid $40,000. He also won the Jackson 100, beating some of the biggest names in the late model division.
To read about previous selections to the Times' list of The North Country's Greatest Athletes of All Time, log on to www.watertowndailytimes.com