After a 19-race gap between his first and second wins of the season, Carson Macedo had no intentions of waiting as long for a third.
Aside from a couple missteps here and there, Macedo and his Jason Johnson Racing crew’s consistency hasn’t slipped this year. But while the podiums and top fives have been nice, they want to win.
And win is exactly what they did on Saturday night as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars made their debut at Minnesota’s Ogilvie Raceway for The Wagamon Brothers Presents The ‘Big O’ Showdown.
The Lemoore, CA native took the lead on the opening lap from the outside-pole starting spot and went on to display how fast his Albaugh #41 was. Macedo held off one challenge from Logan Schuchart and mastered traffic on his way to a margin of victory of nearly five seconds – his second triumph in the last four races.
“My guys did an incredible job,” said an ecstatic Macedo. “This thing was a dream to drive. I knew I was in pretty good shape. I was trying to pace myself in lap traffic and not do anything stupid… I had an idea of where other guys were and was just trying to pace my race as best as I could. Hats off to Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp, and Nate Repetz. They gave me a hot rod there.”
Macedo now owns 31 career World of Outlaws victories. He’s also the winner of the two most recent Series races in Minnesota after topping last year’s Jackson Nationals finale. And perhaps most importantly, Macedo’s recent consistency – 2.6 average finish in last seven races – has vaulted him back atop the point standings.
The race began with Logan Schuchart leading the field to green from the pole. The driver of the Shark Racing #1S drifted across the track in front of Macedo in the opening set of corners, and Macedo darted underneath him as they rocketed down the backstretch.
Macedo was able to pull ahead in the early going, but behind him battles broke out all over the 3/8-mile oval. A gaggle of cars including Schuchart, Gio Scelzi, Spencer Bayston, David Gravel, James McFadden, and more threw haymakers and crossovers as they swapped spots all throughout the top 10.
A major wrench was thrown in the World of Outlaws championship chase when an early caution saw Tim Estenson spin and collect both Brad Sweet and David Gravel. Sweet entered the night atop the points with Gravel tied with Macedo for second only two points behind “The Big Cat.”
Sweet rejoined after quick trip to the Federated Car Care Work Zone while Gravel didn’t make it back on track in time for the restart. Fortunately for him, the caution flew again prior to the next lap being completed, allowing him to rejoin on the lead lap.
On the restart, Schuchart took one more big swing at Macedo with a slider in Turns 1 and 2. He managed to clear him but couldn’t hold back Macedo’s run down the backstretch as he returned the favor in Turns 3 and 4.
“I’m thankful I went back to the bottom on the restarts,” Macedo said. “That one restart Logan got a really good start next to me and was able to slide across, but it just broke his momentum enough to where I was able to square him up and get off the corner in front of him again.”
After Schuchart’s challenge, Macedo escaped and began to open up his advantage as the laps waned. Behind him, the brawl for positioning continued and intensified as time ticked away. Up front, it was all Macedo as he claimed the checkered flag with a 4.9 second advantage to notch his third win of the season and reclaim the points lead.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Macedo said of chasing a title. “Those two (Sweet and Gravel) are incredibly good, and there’s a lot of good cars in the field. We’ll just keep plugging away and work on the process. That’s the main thing.”
Logan Schuchart managed to arise with the runner-up spot after partaking in a wild battle with many competitors inside the top five. The result marked his first appearance on the podium since his win at Eldora in early May and his fifth of the season. The Hanover, PA native is up to 125 career World of Outlaws podiums and came away satisfied with the effort.
“Happy to get back on the podium,” Schuchart said. “We struggled a little bit on the restarts getting going. I just felt like I couldn’t get back to the top and get going as good as I needed to. The few times I started right behind Carson I didn’t want to follow him right into the corner. I felt like I had to stick the bottom in (Turns) 1 and 2 or slide up in front of him. In the Dash, I could run through the bottom and up to the top and really stick the car. I tried it a few times during the Feature and just backed it the whole way across the track.”
A huge charge on the final circuit saw Donny Schatz surge from fifth to claim the final step on the podium. He and his Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing team continued to flex their recent muscle with a seventh top three in the last 11 races. While Schatz was happy to get a strong result, he felt a little uncomfortable in the car during the main event.
“They just kind of pulled over and went, and I just went the other way,” Schatz said of his final lap rise to third. “I just struggled all race, just cannot get the balance. I just stuck so hard on the right-rear (tire). We fought it all night. We’ve kind of been fighting it the last couple nights, but we got a respectable finish out of it.”
Gio Scelzi and James McFadden completed the top five.
For the second time in the last three races, Sheldon Haudenschild claimed the KSE Hard Charger. After winning the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown, Haudenschild wheeled the Stenhouse Jr./Marshall Racing #17 from 19th to seventh in the Feature.
Macedo’s lead in the standings is 10 markers over Sweet, who recovered to finish sixth after his trip to the Work Zone. Gravel is 22 points behind Macedo after salvaging an 11th.
Macedo began the night by collecting his fourth consecutive Simpson Performance Products QuickTime and his Series-high ninth of the season.
CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One was topped by Carson Macedo (99th Heat Race win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heats Two and Three were claimed by Donny Schatz (515th of career) and David Gravel (224th of career).
If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Carson Macedo; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 3. 15-Donny Schatz; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 5. 83-James McFadden; 6. 49-Brad Sweet; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 8. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 9. 5-Spencer Bayston; 10. 7S-Robbie Price; 11. 2-David Gravel; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen; 13. 13-Mark Dobmeier; 14. 20G-Noah Gass; 15. 7-Brooke Tatnell; 16. 9-Kasey Kahne; 17. 6-Bill Rose; 18. 199-Ryan Bowers; 19. 105-Cody Ihlen; 20. (DNF) 17M-Zach Omdahl; 21. (DNF) 14T-Tim Estenson; 22. (DNF) 8-Jack Croaker; 23. (DNF) 11M-Brendan Mullen; 24. (DNF) 2K-Kevin Ingle