Fate has a funny way of making things happen.
If it wasn’t for Tom Tarlton, Carson Macedo would’ve never won 15 World of Outlaws races, he would’ve never matured into a star with The Greatest Show on Dirt, and he might’ve never climbed behind the wheel of a Sprint Car. Because of Tom Tarlton, though, all of those things happened.
On Saturday, life came full circle as Macedo won his second-straight Tom Tarlton Classic. The entire Tarlton/Macedo family was in attendance to celebrate the emotional win at Keller Auto Speedway, which is his home track and only minutes away from Lemoore, CA.
The $21,000 payday is the second-richest victory of Macedo’s life, extending his recent remarkable run as the highest-paying win came just two weeks prior at the $25,000-to-win Skagit Nationals. It’s the ninth win of the year for Jason Johnson Racing, which closed the gap to David Gravel in the battle for championship runner-up honors.
What made his hometown and family-driven victory even sweeter is that he had to earn every cent over two-time and defending World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion, Brad Sweet. The 25-year-old gasser drove by The Big Cat on Lap 14 with a little help from lap traffic and never looked back.
“I’m out of breath from yelling,” Macedo told a sold-out crowd. “I’m so excited, man. My emotions are so high right now. It means a lot to win back-to-back Tom Tarlton Classic’s, especially this one being against the World of Outlaws. Tom Tarlton is the reason I’m a Sprint Car driver. He literally gave me my first opportunity to drive a Sprint Car and it was right here at Hanford during a practice day. I’m so glad he could be here tonight to watch this win. Beating Brad, who’s by far the best guy out here right now for the win is pretty cool.”
Macedo’s hometown win didn’t come without a little adversity, as the Jason Johnson Racing #41 suffered a broken rear end in NOS Energy Drink Hot Laps. The crew led by Philip Dietz, Nate Repetz & Clyde Knipp barely finished repairs in time and sent Macedo back on the Hanford 3/8th-mile to promptly claim his fourth Slick Woody’s QuickTime Award of the season.
When the 35-lap Feature rolled around, though, it was Grass Valley’s Brad Sweet earning the pole position after his DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash win. Sweet led the opening 13 laps, but it wasn’t without a substantial challenge from Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart.
Schuchart actually passed Sweet momentarily on Lap 6, but eventually went tail-back as he brought out the caution with nose wing trouble. His misfortune is what opened the door for Macedo to restart on the front row.
Lap traffic is what ultimately sent Macedo to the lead, capitalizing in turn one as Sweet washed up behind J.J. Ringo and gave him a clear path to the top spot on the low line. The JJR #41 survived a handful of restarts against both Sweet and his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate, James McFadden, and eventually crossed the finish line with a 0.948-second advantage.”
“This is home to me,” Macedo told his local fans. “I grew up in those stands watching Tommy Tarlton, Peter Murphy, Tim Kaeding, Jason Meyers, all my favorite drivers came here, won races, and put on a show. For me to now come here with the World of Outlaws and be a small part in this event that’s not only close to my home, but my heart, is like a dream come true.”
After leading the opening 13 laps, Grass Valley, CA’s Brad Sweet slipped back to finish second aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49. That’s eight runner-up results for The Big Cat as he continues to march towards a third consecutive World of Outlaws championship.
“I had a good car, I just hesitated in lap traffic,” Sweet said after his 33rd podium of the year. “That slowed my pace down and opened the door for Carson. This place had lots of character, so I wish we could’ve been in traffic a little bit more than we were. I just needed to do a better job myself.”
James McFadden continued his stellar Rookie of the Year campaign, placing third in the Kasey Kahne Racing, Karavan Trailers #9. That’s four podiums in the last seven races for the trending pilot from Alice Springs, NT, AUS.
“I just messed up those last couple laps and couldn’t challenge Carson,” McFadden mentioned. “Sucks we couldn’t get second, but third is nice. Bring on the next ride at Eldora.”
Fremont, CA’s Shane Golobic led the charge for true California locals with a season-best result of fourth-place aboard the NOS Energy Drink, Elk Grove Ford #17W. Rounding out the top five was Hanford passing master Logan Schuchart, who was removed from the battle for the lead due to a nose wing issue, but rallied to run the Drydene #1S from 21st-to-fifth.
Closing out the top-10 at Keller Auto Speedway was Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi with a season-best sixth, Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing pilot Donny Schatz in seventh, Brock Zearfoss with KSE Hard Charger honors in eighth-from-18th, Paradise’s Kyle Hirst with a second-straight top-10 finish, and David Gravel in tenth after rebounding from a crash while running fifth beyond halfway.
UP NEXT (Fri-Sat): The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series begins the drive east with a weekend in Ohio and Pennsylvania on tap. On Friday, it’s the “BeFour the Crowns Showdown” at Eldora Speedway, and then it’s the “Commonwealth Clash” on Saturday at Lernerville Speedway. You can watch Every Lap LIVE on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (35 Laps): 1. 41-Carson Macedo [$21,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [$6,000]; 3. 9-James McFadden [$3,500]; 4. 17W-Shane Golobic [$2,800]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,500]; 6. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [$2,300]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,200]; 8. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$2,100]; 9. O-Kyle Hirst [$2,050]; 10. 2-David Gravel [$2,000]; 11. 88-Austin McCarl [$1,600]; 12. 37-Mitchell Faccinto [$1,400]; 13. 14-Justin Henderson [$1,200]; 14. 83-Kasey Kahne [$1,100]; 15. 21-Parker Price-Miller [$1,050]; 16. 7S-Jason Sides [$1,000]; 17. 36-Craig Stidham [$1,000]; 18. 2K-JJ Ringo [$1,000]; 19. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,000]; 20. 88N-DJ Netto [$1,000]; 21. 2C-Wayne Johnson [$1,000]; 22. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$1,000]; 23. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,000]; 24. 53-Jessie Attard [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Brad Sweet 1-13, Carson Macedo 14-35. KSE Hard Charger Award: 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[+10]
NEW Championship Standings (69/80 races): 1. Brad Sweet (9,154); 2. David Gravel (-156); 3. Carson Macedo (-184); 4. Donny Schatz (-264); 5. Sheldon Haudenschild (-338); 6. Logan Schuchart (-360); 7. James McFadden (-736); 8. Kraig Kinser (-1070); 9. Brock Zearfoss (-1326); 10. Jacob Allen (-1630).