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FILLING THE GAPS: New Jason Johnson Racing Nucleus Beginning to Click

Carson Macedo driving the Jason Johnson Racing #41
The team has begun to resemble its powerhouse self in recent weeks (Trent Gower Photo)

Change is a part of Sprint Car Racing. Every off-season fans wait to see which drivers may swap seats. But the drivers aren’t the only ones that move on to new opportunities.

Two big voids were left at Jason Johnson Racing at the conclusion of last season. Car chief Clyde Knipp decided it was time for a change from life on the road and went home to focus on family and launching his new carbon fiber business. Tire specialist Nate Repetz accepted an opportunity with Pennsylvania’s Macri Motorsports. The duo worked alongside Carson Macedo and team owner/crew chief – Philip Dietz – over the past few seasons as JJR cemented itself as one of the sport’s powerhouses. Macedo won 29 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car races from 2021-2023 and finished third in points each year.

But now two new names are settling into those roles with Robby McQuinn and Adam Zimmerman coming aboard. After a rocky start during DIRTcar Nationals, they’ve found a rhythm with three straight top eight finishes including a pair of podiums.

McQuinn is a familiar face in the World of Outlaws pit area. He’s spent the last two seasons on the tour with Noah Gass Racing. Zimmerman comes from Missouri – JJR’s home state – and had worked in the sport primarily on a local level with Missouri’s Randy Martin. For two people with lifelong interest in the sport, working at Jason Johnson Racing is a dream come true.

“Growing up, you watch all of these different teams and drivers,” McQuinn said. “You see the KKRs (Kasey Kahne Racing), TSRs (Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing), Big Game (Motorsports), and all of them. For me, I always dreamt of driving for them one day. As I got older and realized that wasn’t probably in the cards for me, I started working on them and found a love for that, too. It’s always been a dream to be on one of the big teams and win Outlaw races and hopefully an Outlaw championship.”

“The past few years fueled my passion to go do this full-time,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a perfect scenario for me, especially with where I’m from – California, Missouri. I’m 30 minutes from where I’m from. It’s really cool. I’ve always followed this team even when Jason was running 360s with ASCS. Always been a big fan of the team and been kind of around them off and on throughout the years.”

Carson Macedo celebrates a win
Carson Macedo has made 29 trips to World of Outlaws Victory Lane since climbing aboard the JJR #41 (Trent Gower Photo)

Both McQuinn and Zimmerman were appealing to Dietz in his search for replacements. McQuinn impressed the renowned crew chief during his time with Gass. Zimmerman came highly recommended by his predecessor – Knipp – and got to know Dietz a little last year through brief conversations.

“I actually met Adam last year,” Dietz recalled. “It was one of our races he came out and introduced himself. He had actually reached out a couple times via text kind of introducing himself and telling me he would be interested in a position on our team if it were to come available. He was aware that Clyde was leaving at the end of the season and was really interested… For the little bit that he’s been here, I think he’s done a really good job for our team.

“We had met Robby a few years ago when he was wrenching on Noah Gass’ car on the Outlaw tour. I remember a handful of times him kind of stepping in and helping out in the work area, and I remember thinking to myself at the time how great of a mechanic he seemed and how quickly he could get things done. He seemed very experienced with what he does… He was able to come here and be right up to speed. I’ve been able to work with him and show him our ways and how we do things. He’s adapted really well and done a great job.”

The quick adjustment for McQuinn and Zimmerman has been evident. Even during the slow start, the team showed flashes of speed during DIRTcar Nationals and has been one of the fastest cars since coming back from the three-week break. The culture constructed by Dietz has been a catalyst to the smooth change.

“It’s been really good and, for me, a really easy transition,” McQuinn said. “I feel like we get along very well. Working with Phil is just awesome. He’s got so much knowledge of the sport – the race cars and the business side of it and everything.”

“Everybody works well together, and we have a good time,” Zimmerman agreed. “Phil, he’s super smart, super knowledgeable. He’s one of the best. And if you’ve got one of the best crew chiefs and one of the best drivers out there, it’s inevitable you want to win a championship.”

Dietz has rapidly developed a trust for his new duo. They take care of their work and have a deep care for their jobs. They’re ready to stand in Victory Lane with The Greatest Show on Dirt. They want to be a part of fulfilling what was one of Jason Johnson’s main goals – bringing a World of Outlaws championship to his team.

“It’s nice whenever you have full faith in guys to do their job and not ever question if they’re doing it correctly or not,” Dietz said. “I have 100% faith in these guys, and it allows me to focus on doing my job really well and allows Carson to be focused on his job and be comfortable behind the wheel. Considering the mechanical issues that we’ve had since the start of the season, I feel like we’ve been able to overcome a lot of those issues and still have at least a decent finish. Maybe not the finish we were hoping for, but at least one that we could move forward to the next race and try to better ourselves and hopefully be a championship contender by the end of the season.”

Macedo and the Jason Johnson Racing crew continue their title pursuit this weekend at Big O Speedway (Ennis, TX) on March 22 and Kennedale Speedway Park (Kennedale, TX) on March 23. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch ever lap live on DIRTVision.

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