When not attending to duties as an NFL quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, AJ McCarron can often be seen roaming around the pits at Five Flags Speedway on any given race night. He has been a car owner in the local ranks in recent years, first in the Pure Stocks before adding a Pro Truck to the arsenal in the 2021 season with Jerry Goff Jr. behind the wheel.
McCarron’s love for racing started in childhood in Mobile, Alabama, as his grandfather was a racer at the Mobile International Raceway, sitting just about an hour from Five Flags. As a successful college career at the University of Alabama led to a job in the NFL, so came the opportunity to get involved in racing from an ownership standpoint.
“My family’s been into racing for years. My grandfather used to race back in the day at Mobile International Speedway,” said McCarron. “Me and my cousin have always been into racing and when we finally got a little bit of money we decided to spend some of it on cars.”
As a two-time National Champion during his playing days at Alabama, McCarron knows the big stage quite well. Even with that past experience, he believes the Snowball Derby is an event unlike any other, and is a race that he looks forward to every year.
“I think the name speaks for itself with how many big names come down from the Cup Series and Xfinity to come down and be a part of this. Pensacola is awesome, it’s pretty much unlike anything else in the country. Tim Bryant and Mrs. Pat really do a good job running this place and they put on a great show. It’s always a great time supporting your local racetrack.”
McCarron will have two cars entered for Thursday night’s racing card between the Pro Truck and Pure Stock. He and Goff won the Pure Stock feature at the Snowball Derby in 2019, and they now go for two wins Thursday night.
While his time in racing is currently spent as a car owner due to football obligations, he has plans to get behind the wheel himself as a racer at Five Flags Speedway once his playing days are over.
“When the playing days are over with I’ll definitely get behind the wheel and have some fun. We’ll probably start out in Pure Stocks just to have some fun and then eventually work our way up.”