The best in the land entered the castle of Eldora Speedway Friday night, looking to claim the title of Knight before going for King.
Carson Macedo, of Lemoore, CA, journeyed through the early stages of the 30-lap Feature uncontested and never in fear, eyeing the knighthood and its $20,000 prize. But a surprise slider strike on Lap 26 by the one they call “The Big Cat” set forth a fierce duel – one that will echo through the realm before a King is crowned on Saturday.
The green flag waved on the battle, and Macedo quickly asserted his strength. After topping the Toyota Racing Dash to earn the pole for the 30-lap bout, Macedo rocketed into the lead on the opening circuit.
The only disturbance of the race came shortly after it started when Tyler Courtney went for a nasty ride in Turns 1 and 2. “Sunshine” was able to walk to the ambulance under his own power for further observation.
Once the race resumed, Macedo again wasted no time pulling ahead as the struggle to surpass him raged on behind the Jason Johnson Racing chariot. Gio Scelzi – the one known fiercely as “Hot Sauce” – surged into the runner-up spot.
At the front, Macedo masterfully worked through slower traffic. The 27-year-old hardly made a misstep as he maneuvered by slower cars and looked to be on an easy drive to the riches that awaited.
But then the slightest mistake, the smallest dip of the shield opened the door for Sweet to challenge. Macedo attempted to slide a lapped car in Turns 3 and 4 coming to five laps to go but couldn’t get him cleared. The loss of momentum gave Sweet a massive run heading down the front straightaway.
Sweet threw a slider in Turns 1 and 2, clearing Macedo as they readied for the backstretch. Macedo responded to his challenger, Brad Sweet, of Grass Valley, CA, with a slider of his own in Turns 3 and 4. Sweet then swung his #49 steed back under Macedo one last time down the front stretch, but Macedo’s 41 nosed ahead.
After securing control of the duel, Macedo offered the best defense possible by hammering four perfect laps around the Eldora cushion on his way to a 1.260 second victory.
Castle protected. Riches gained.
“I slid myself in (Turns) 3 and 4,” Macedo said to describe the late battle. “I knew I lost a lot off time, but I didn’t think he’s slide me right then. I didn’t feel like my run was that bad, so he must’ve been pretty close before that… He slid me and just woke me back up. I didn’t realize how uniform you could run the fence in (Turns) 1 and 2. Once he drove by me I kind of grabbed another gear and got my elbows way up in the seat and just started running as hard as I possibly could.
“I had a lot of fun in that race there. That was as hard as I could go there at the end. These races, whether they pay a million bucks or twenty grand, I feel like they’re just as hard to win either way. That was a 30-lap dash just like we had last night after the break.”
The victory moved Macedo up to five with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars this season and second in the last three races. The 27-year-old is up to 33 career wins with The Greatest Show on Dirt – enough to equal him with fellow full-timer – Sheldon Haudenschild – for 21st on the all-time list. Three of those wins have now been at Eldora, which ties him with none other than the man he beat – Sweet – as the winningest Californian at the historic half-mile with the World of Outlaws.
A valiant effort led Brad Sweet to securing second. The effort marked Sweet’s 17th podium of the season with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars as the four-time champion’s “Drive for Five” powers on.
“It was fast,” Sweet said. “Carson ran a really good pace there. I was up on the wheel trying to make a move. He was working hard to try to get by the lapped cars. I got one run there and had my chance and just didn’t quite get it done. He got back to my inside.”
A steady drive throughout the race led Gio Scelzi to complete the podium, giving Scelzi and his KCP Racing team their second top three of Scelzi’s rookie World of Outlaws campaign. After a crash on Thursday night, the result gave him and his crew an encouraging boost heading into the Kings Royal.
“I feel like tonight in the Dash I made a mistake that cost us a spot, but in the long run starting third was better than starting second,” Scelzi explained. “Thanks to my guys. They do a really, really good job. They worked really hard today to fix the car from last night.”
Rico Abreu and David Gravel rounded out the top five.
Sweet’s runner-up coupled with David Gravel running fifth allowed Sweet to close back in within two points of Gravel for the points lead. Macedo is a close third – 24 markers behind Gravel.
James McFadden wheeled from 25th to ninth to earn the KSE Hard Charger. The Roth Motorsports driver was also awarded the Smith Titanium Brake Systems “Break of the Race” after a Heat Race crash made his path to the top 10 in the feature a difficult one.
Logan Schuchart was the night’s Simpson Performance Products QuickTime Award – his fifth of the season and 36th of his career.
CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One went to Brad Sweet (225th Heat Race win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heats Two through Four were claimed by Rico Abreu (40th of career), Sheldon Haudenschild (91st of career), and Carson Macedo (106th of career).
Daryn Pittman won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.
If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Carson Macedo; 2. 49-Brad Sweet; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 4. 24-Rico Abreu; 5. 2-David Gravel; 6. 13-Justin Peck; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 8. 5-Spencer Bayston; 9. 83-James McFadden; 10. 19-Brent Marks; 11. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 12. 21-Brian Brown; 13. 83JR-Michael Kofoid; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon; 15. 21T-Cole Macedo; 16. 15-Donny Schatz; 17. 91-Kyle Reinhardt; 18. 1A-Jacob Allen; 19. 55P-Daryn Pittman; 20. 9-Kasey Kahne; 21. 17B-Bill Balog; 22. 8-Aaron Reutzel; 23. (DNF) 39M-Lance Dewease; 24. (DNF) 9P-Parker Price Miller; 25. (DNF) 7BC-Tyler Courtney