JACKSON, MINNESOTA (August 18, 2023) – Events are always made better when you follow one great night of action with a second night with the icing on the cake knowing there is a third and final night on the horizon on Saturday. That is exactly how the fans must feel at the three-day Jackson Nationals as the race format and schedule allows for some exciting racing around the Jackson Motorplex. Tod Quiring and Doug Johnson, along with their terrific team at the Jackson Motorplex, always give the race teams a great track to race on which produces incredible duels and exciting action. That allows the World of Outlaws and local competitors to display their skills and why they are considered the best of the best athletes involved in sprint car racing while they execute at speed. The action always delivers exceptional value and is well worth the price of admission . . . and, maybe a hamburger or hotdog.
During the opening night on Thursday, the checkered flag flew over James McFadden who raced to the win in front of Donny Schatz and Tanner Holmes who rounded out the podium. Carson Macedo and his Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) teammates worked hard all night to deliver a fourth place run aboard the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 earning a total of 431 event points. That event point total positioned him fourth overall behind: Donny Schatz (440 Points); James McFadden (435 Points); and Tanner Holmes (432 Points). Friday though brought day number two of this special event to the center of the stage as the pit area located outside turns one and two were again filled with the sport’s best talent as 40 teams were back at the Jackson Motorplex to build on their night one results and point totals. The goal for every driver and team going into night two is to maximize their two-night point totals. But, ideally they really wanted to position themselves to finish the night in the top four overall in event points for both nights because those drivers will be automatically locked into Saturday night’s King of the Hill event and ultimately the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals finale.
After hot laps were completed for each of the groups, the formal part of the show moved into Low-E Insulation Qualifying. Time trials are important because each of the drivers get two laps to race against the clock hoping to complete each one in the lowest amount of time. Only the quicker of each driver’s two laps would stand and position them for the rest of the night in qualifying action. The challenge is each of these drivers and teams are very capable, and extremely comfortable, going fast and the difference between the fastest driver and slowest driver in time trials is usually measured in only tenths of a second. After going out last on Thursday night, Carson would be the15th speedster to jump on the accelerator on night two to build up his speed and momentum in the Tarlton and Son/Liquid Trucking/Smith Titanium #41 Maxim. He would be joined on the track by Bill Wagner in two-car qualifying. Carson crossed the starting line and the second hand on the stopwatch was in motion and started to tick by – quickly. Carson wheeled the Philip Dietz JJR prepared dirt rocket through turns one and two and repeated the action at the other end of the back straightaway through turns three and four. When he raced under the white flag, the clock recorded his first lap in 12.999 seconds. He still had one more lap around the 4/10-mile oval and did his best to maintain his speed. When he completed that lap it came in slightly better than his first attempt at 12.898 seconds. When time trials concluded, his best time trial lap positioned him sixth quickest overall on the night earning him 95 event points following time trials. Giovanni Scelzi earned the Simpson Quick Time Award on night two with a lap of 12.775 seconds to snag the 100 event points, the most available in time trials.
By virtue of being sixth quick in time trials, Carson would be positioned in the second of four heat races where he would get the Durst, Inc./Tiger Towing/Bandy & Associates #41 Maxim started from the fifth starting spot. He would roll into row three beside Brock Zearfoss in the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill #3z as the field of 10 cars aligned for the 10-lap race. The top 20 in event points after the heat races would lock into the feature. Kaleb Johnson and Jake Swanson paced the field from the front row with Ian Madsen and Buddy Kofoid in row two. Pacing behind Macedo and Zearfoss in row three were Scott Winters, Rusty Hickman, Noah Gass, and Blaine Stegenga.
The field of cars and drivers were set as they prepared to drop their right foot when they reached turn four. When they arrived the beginning of controlled high speed chaos began with Kaleb Johnson leading the field into turn one with Ian Madsen right behind. Carson quickly moved into fourth and was relentlessly chasing Jake Swanson for third. It took him a few laps, but on the fourth circuit he made the pass and was now running in the show position.
Up front, Kaleb Johnson still was showing the way but Ian Madsen was getting impatient and wanted to use his speed to take the lead. On lap 5, Madsen flexed his muscles and drove into the lead with Johnson now running second. There would be no relief for the runner-up as Carson was now on fire as he had his flame designed car was coming in hot. The next time around Macedo drove by Johnson to take control of the second position behind race leader Madsen.
On lap 7, the yellow flag came out for Stegenga’s #96 who spun in turns three and four. With three laps to go, Ian Madsen brought the field back up to speed for the single file restart with Macedo right behind followed by Johnson, Kofoid, and Zearfoss. Carson was close to the leader with hopes of making the pass for the lead, but Madsen was not having any of it. Madsen quickly put some space between himself and Macedo’s Albaugh – Your Alternative #41.
With the white flag out Carson made the most of the last lap to cross the finish line in second place with Madsen taking the win and Kofoid, Johnson and Zearfoss rounding out the top five. Carson’s heat race finish earned him an additional 97 points to the 95 points he secured in Low-E Insulation Qualifying to raise his night two event point total to 192 event points. That total positioned him first overall for night two when the heat races were over.
As the night two high point driver Carson (192 Points) was joined on the frontstretch by Giovanni Scelzi (191 Points); Logan Schuchart (189 Points); James McFadden (189 Points); Brad Sweet (188 Points); Brock Zearfoss (187 Points); Ian Madsen (187 Points); and, Buddy Kofoid (185 Points) to redraw for their starting positions in the 6-lap Toyota Dash. By the luck of the draw Carson would start on the outside of the third row in the sixth position. Giovanni Scelzi had the luck hand though as he drew the one pill to start from the pole position with James McFadden to his outside. Row two would be made up of Logan Schuchart and Brock Zearfoss with Buddy Kofoid joining Macedo in row three. The final row, row four, was comprised of Brad Sweet and Ian Madsen. The winds had picked up making the racing conditions a little trickier, but the horn sounded and those eight drivers fired their engines. When the green flag flew Scelzi raced into the lead ahead of McFadden. Carson Macedo hustled the Meyers Constructors/Team Jack Foundation/Larry Davis Farms #41 Maxim into fourth behind Logan Schuchart before he raced by Schuchart to gain the third spot. Logan Schuchart returned the favor and retook the show position back on lap two. Carson now had his hands full with fourth running Buddy Kofoid as the forty-one lost some momentum in his battle with the Shark Racing #1s. Macedo held the fourth position with Kofoid right behind. Giovanni Scelzi kept his momentum moving in the right direction as he secured the dash victory over McFadden and Schuchart with Carson bringing the Albaugh #41 home fourth. Buddy Kofoid rounded out the top five followed by Brock Zearfoss, Brad Sweet and Ian Madsen.
When the checkered flag flew over the Last Chance Showdown (LCS) it ended qualifying as 24 drivers had earned a spot in the second night of racing in the 25-lap feature at the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals. The drivers in the first four rows raced for their starting spots in the Toyota Dash as the field rolled out onto the track to await the assistance of a push truck. Carson Macedo would get the Albaugh – Your Alternative/T-FAB Custom Metal Fabrication/FK Rod Ends #41 Maxim fired up and ready to go from the fourth starting position in row two. He would pull to the outside of fellow competitor Logan Schuchart in the Drydene #1s.
After breaking up and racing into the two-by-two starting formation after the conclusion of the Whiskey Myers four-wide salute, it was time to go racing at the Jackson Motorplex! The yellow lights dimmed as the front row of Giovanni Scelzi and James McFadden worked their way to turn four. They hit the chalk stripe laid across the track sending dust in the air as their engines roared and their tires gripped the surface.
Polesitter Giovanni Scelzi picked up speed and races down the frontstretch with McFadden, Schuchart and Macedo. When the first lap was completed though it was Thursday night’s race winner, James McFadden, leading Scelzi with Macedo in third, Schuchart in fourth and Kofoid in fifth. Carson was attaching the track in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 as second running Giovanni Scelzi pressured race leader James McFadden. Buddy Kofoid was fast in the Roth Motorsports #83jr as he made his way by Schuchart to run in the fourth position.
On lap 5, the first yellow flag of the race was out for Cory Eliason who slowed in turn four and headed to the Federated Car Care Work Zone. When they came back to green it was McFadden leading Scelzi, Macedo, Kofoid and Schuchart. But green flag racing was short-lived as the red flag stopped the action when David Gravel and Ian Madsen made racing contact in turn one sending Madsen into a soft flip.
With 20 laps to go, the caution laps were back on as the engines re-fired. When they went back to racing McFadden continued to show the way, but Macedo and Kofoid were putting on an exciting show as they were exchanging slide jobs with Macedo maintaining the show position.
At the halfway point of the race it was McFadden, Scelzi, Macedo, Kofoid and Sweet running in the top five. On lap 16, the yellow flag reappeared this time for Logan Schuchart who rolled to a stop with mechanical issues. James McFadden used the clean air to his advantage as he roared back into the lead ahead of Scelzi, Macedo, Kofoid and Sweet. They stayed that way but would not get a lap in as the red flag was back out for Sheldon Haudenschild as he got upside down after getting up over Scott Bogucki’s wheel in turn one while running in the ninth position. Chase Randall had nowhere to go and was also collected.
With 9 laps to go, they tried to get going again and this time it was successful. James McFadden has his Roth Motorsports #83 out front with Scelzi and Macedo trying to figure out how to catch him. Carson though had to figure out how to get by Scelzi first as he tried valiantly to no avail. For the second night in a row, James McFadden would not be denied as he completed the race to take the win over Giovanni Scelzi and Carson Macedo with Buddy Kofoid and Brad Sweet completing the top five.
On the frontstretch, Carson was pleased with his podium finish as he reflected on his night. He stated, “I think my team has continued to get my car really good. This JJR #41 team – Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp and Nate Repetz – they work so hard. I feel like my car has been super consistent. We obviously haven’t won both nights like James, and we are definitely not happy with third, but I feel like I kind of did all I could do there.” He continued, “I got a good start and kind of paced my race a little bit. I had one shot there on the restart with Gio, I hit the bottom nice in turns one and two and tried to slide him, but the top is just so fast. I actually thought I cleared him and he just ripped right around me.” Another good run for Macedo and the forty-one!
The four drivers who earned the coveted lock-in positions into the King of the Hill race, and ultimately the feature, on Saturday night by accumulating the most points combining the first two nights were: (1) James McFadden – Roth Motorsports #83 (874 Points); (2) Carson Macedo – Jason Johnson Racing #41 (867 Points); (3) Giovanni Scelzi – KCP Racing #18 (861 Points); and, (4) Donny Schatz – Tony Stewart Racing #15 (849 Points).
Macedo Stands on the Podium with A Well-Deserved 3rd Place Finish on Night Two in the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals! Photo Credit: World of Outlaws
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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.