KNOXVILLE, IOWA (August 12, 2023) – After racing to the win on his qualifying night on Thursday, Carson Macedo and the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) team had the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions #41 Maxim locked into the most prestigious race in sprint car racing – the 62nd Annual NOS Energy Drink 410 Knoxville Nationals. The truth of the matter is just making the 24 car A-Main starting field is a huge accomplishment for all of these teams and drivers. There was a lot of talent and great racing beginning on Wednesday and lasting through the checkered flag on Saturday. It is no easy tasks as there were 106 talented racers that towed from near and far to see if they could bring everything together to make the race. That meant only 22.6% of the entries would fulfill their goal of even making the field, yet alone a less than 1% chance (.00953%) of standing atop the podium.
Saturday night at Knoxville is all about the alphabet soup starting with the E-Main and culminating with the 50-lap A-Main. Each driver is locked into one of the letters and can race themselves forward and if they are lucky maybe even reach the A-Main. Philip Dietz was focused and going through all of his pre-race preparation along with Clyde Knipp and Nathan Repetz to make sure the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 was ready for their driver. There is just a tremendous group of quality people involved and surrounding this Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) team that are unwavering in their support, and equally committed to the team’s success – no matter what. There is no one person or organization that is any more or less important with the team – everyone adds significant value! In addition to making the race, and of course doing everything they could do to position themselves for the win, one goal while in Knoxville is to relax and have fun! The JJR #41 team did just that throughout the week as there was a lot of smiles and laughs to go along with celebrating the preliminary night victory. Racing and competing has to be fun!
When the E-Main, D-Main, C-Main and B-Main events were completed, it was time for what everyone in the sold out frontstretch and backstretch grandstands, suites, and pit area came for . . . the 50-lap 62nd Annual NOS Energy Drink 410 Knoxville Nationals feature. Californians Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu earned the two spots reserved for the highest point earners with 11-time Knoxville Nationals winner Donny Schatz joined in row two by the million dollar man from Pennsylvania Logan Schuchart. Carson Macedo, another Californian, aligned on the inside of row three beside Hunter Schuerenberg. Kerry Madsen (Australia), Buddy Kofoid (California), Giovanni Scelzi (California), and Corey Day (California) completed the top ten in the starting lineup. That meant 60% of the top ten starters were west coasters.
When the smoke cleared from the pre-race fireworks that were set off as part of the show for the sold out capacity crowd, the drivers were ready to go racing at Knoxville Raceway. Polesitter Kyle Larson stepped out front at the drop of the green flag with Donny Schatz and Rico Abreu chasing the talented racer. Carson drove the Albaugh #41 into the fourth spot with Hunter Schuerenberg holding onto the fifth position. It did not take long for Kyle Larson to build a big lead ahead of Schatz, Abreu and Macedo.
By lap 6, the race leader already caught the back of the pack and started putting drivers a lap down. The trio behind him followed passed the slower cars too, but they still were not able to close the gap on the leader. On lap 14, Rico Abreu worked his way by Donny Schatz and was now running in the runner-up position with Larson still showing the way. Carson Macedo was comfortably running in fourth with Logan Schuchart moving into the top five.
The yellow flag came out on lap 15 for the up-and-coming star Chase Randall. Randall blew his right rear tire and slowed in turn two. He headed to the Federated Auto Parts Work Area as some race drama began to unfold. Second place running Rico Abreu also had a right rear tire losing air and joined Randall in the work area. Both driver put fresh rubber on the right rear and rejoined the field.
On the restart with 35 laps to go, it was Kyle Larson leading Schatz, Macedo, Schuchart and Giovani Scelzi back up to speed. That gave Donny Schatz an opportunity to challenge Larson for the lead momentarily, but to no avail as the racer in Paul Silva’s #57 wrestled it away. A few spots behind the lead though saw a great battle for position unraveling between Hunter Schuerenberg and Logan Schuchart for position. Schuchart made the pass, but a few laps later Schuerenberg reclaimed the spot before the Shark Racing #1s bolted back by to take over the fourth spot.
As lap 25 inched closer the drivers knew and expected the completion yellow flag to fly for the 3-minute planned pit stop to refuel and put some fresh Hoosier Racing Tires on the cars. It did not take long and the air horn was sounding overhead signifying the end of the 180 seconds. With all 24 starters still racing, the restart order at the front of the pack for the start of the second half of the race was Larson, Schatz, Macedo, Schuchart and Schuerenberg.
Kyle Larson would lead the single file line back to the chalk stripe in turn four as they were getting back up to speed as they raced by the orange pylon. Larson was quickly back in control as he built a 1.5 second lead over Schatz. But Logan Schuchart was fast out of the gates and took the third position away from Macedo who was now running fourth with Giovanni Scelzi in fifth.
A lap or two later though both Macedo and Scelzi had to deal with the hard charging David Gravel who started the race back in the 22nd starting spot. Gravel had a fast racecar and moved underneath both Scelzi and Macedo entering the turn and sliding up to take over the fourth position. Carson was snow relegated back to the sixth spot with Scelzi sandwiched in between Gravel and Macedo.
On lap 40, with 10 laps to go it was Logan Schuchart now off the pace with apparent engine issues ending his strong night of competition. Kyle Larson had five more miles between himself and the checkered flag but behind him were some talented racers – Schatz (2nd); Gravel (3rd); Scelzi (4th) and Macedo (5th). When the green flag waved again it was Larson to the lead as Gravel pushed by Schatz into the runner-up position, He was the show at this point. But just behind him Schatz, Scelzi and Macedo were capturing people’s attention with some close racing as they swapped positions depending where they were on the track.
Kyle Larson would not be denied as he raced across the finish line first ahead of David Gravel with Donny Schatz rounding out the podium. Giovanni Scelzi came home fourth with Carson Macedo locking down the final position in the top five. Carson and the team did a tremendous job all week. They will take what they learned and be better for it down the road. Another good run for Macedo and the forty one!
A Fifth Place Finish at the 62nd Annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals for Macedo and the JJR #41 Crew! Photo Credit: CS Productions – Cameron Saich
Albaugh, LLC; Border International; Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT); Saich Family; Tarlton and Son Inc.; Boltz Family; Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions; Durst Inc.; Liquid Trucking; Bandy & Associates Accountancy Corporation; Buckwalter Trucking, LLC; Jansen Transportation; Larry Davis Farms; Meyers Constructors Inc.; Mr. Jim’s Racing; RaceDiecast.com; Sam I Am; Team Jack Foundation; Mark Burch Motorsports; T-FAB Custom Metal Fabrication; Tiger Towing; All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads; AutoMeter; Bell Helmets; BMRS (Brown & Miller Racing Solutions); BR Motorsports; C&R Racing; Crow Enterprizes; Engler Machine & Tool, Inc.; Factory Kahne (FK Shocks); Fibreworks Composites; FK Rod Ends; Greber Racing Components; High Performance Lubricants, LLC; Hoosier Racing Tire; Indy Performance Composites (IPC); ISC Racers Tape; K1 Race Gear; Kistler Racing Engines; KSE Racing Products; Maxim Racing; Motor State Distributing; Premium Coach Group; Pro Powder Coating (PPC); Saldana Racing Products; Schoenfeld Headers; Smith Titanium; Vortex Racing Products; Walker Performance Filtration; Weld Racing; Wilwood Racing; Winters Performance Products; and, Xtreme Body and Paint.
To stay connected with Jason Johnson Racing (JJR), go to www.jasonjohnsonracing.com.
To stay up-to-date with Carson Macedo and his success journey on and off the track, as well as to purchase his gear and merchandise directly, visit www.carsonmacedoracing.com.