KNOXVILLE, IOWA (August 13, 2022) – After putting in the work to earn 467 points after a podium finish on Thursday in the preliminary night of action, Carson Macedo and the JJR #41 team were positioned and poised for success on Saturday night at the 61st Annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals. The point total they earned on Thursday night was fifth highest after both of the preliminary nights of action were completed, locking the team into the A-Main at the Knoxville Nationals on the championship night. They would line up on the inside of row three from the fifth starting position in the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Tarlton and Son #41 Maxim.
The sun came up over the horizon shining light on the big day in Iowa. But the real excitement was centered on who would be holding the winner’s trophy under the moon at the end of the night. The streets were bustling and the energy in the air was palpable. There are certainly other marquee events in sprint car racing, even ones that pay a lot of money, but none seem to match the energy, excitement and experience of the Knoxville Nationals. Some of the best drivers in history have won this race – Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz, Bobby Allen, Doug Wolfgang, Jerry Richert, Kenny Weld, Joe Saldana, Greg Weld, Jan Opperman, Mark Kinser, Danny Lasoski, David Gravel, Brad Sweet, Kyle Larson, and of course our own – Jason Johnson in 2016! What driver wouldn’t want to add their name to that prestigious list? Tonight was the night to do just that as there was a $175,000 winner’s check, a trophy, and a lifetime of memories for the driver as they etch their name in the record books at the end of the night. At the beginning of the week there were 101 drivers who started the pursuit and it was now time to get after it at Knoxville Raceway in the 61st Annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals as the alphabet soup of main events began on Saturday night!
When the E-Main, D-Main, C-Main, and B-Main were completed, the 24 car field was finally set for the 50-lap feature in “The Granddaddy of them All” – the 61 Annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway. The format of the race was scheduled for two 25 lap segments with a competition caution scheduled somewhere near the midway point of the race for fuel, tires and minor adjustments. Austin McCarl and Tyler Courtney earned the most points this week to sit on the front row with Donny Schatz and David Gravel in row two. Carson Macedo in the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions/Durst Inc. #41 Maxim paced from the inside of row three with the defending Knoxville Nationals champion, Kyle Larson, to his outside. Brent Marks shared row four with Daryn Pittman driving the Mike Heffner #27 with Brad Sweet and JJ Hickle following in row five.
After the synchronized light show and fireworks to start the event were completed entertaining the sold-out crowd, the drivers locked down their strategies to start the first half of the race. The green flag waved and quickly was replaced with a red one as JJ Hickle jumped the right rear tire of Daryn Pittman and flipped hard into the outside fence in turns one and two collecting Parker Price-Miller who flipped also and Kerry Madsen who sustained a flat right rear tire. When they went back to green flag racing it was Austin McCarl leading Tyler Courtney, Donny Schatz, David Gravel and Carson Macedo to the green. Courtney passed McCarl to seize the lead as sixth starting Kyle Larson raced by Macedo into fifth. On lap two both Courtney and Macedo returned the favor and passed McCarl and Larson back to gain the lead and a spot back in the top five respectively. Carson had the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 moving early as he passed Donny Schatz for fourth on lap 3, before Schatz raced back by after the flagstand. The two talented racers dueled for position for the next few laps. By lap 10, Tyler Courtney was dominating at the front ahead of Austin McCarl, David Gravel and Carson Macedo with Kyle Larson running in the fifth spot. The leaders were fast and now navigating thru traffic at speed. On lap 12, the yellow flag slowed the action and regrouped the field when fifth running Kyle Larson slowed with a shredded right rear tire. He went to the work area and replaced the tire before rejoining the field at the tail. The restart order would be Courtney, McCarl, Gravel, Macedo and Brad Sweet. When they went back to green it was again Courtney maintaining the lead as Carson was now fighting for position with the hard charging Sweet, but for only one lap as the yellow came back out for Giovanni Scelzi who got into the wall hard in turns three and four. With 37 laps to go the field got back up to speed with Courtney now leading Gravel who snuck by McCarl with a masterful slide job in turn four. Brad Sweet momentarily raced by Macedo into fourth, but Carson would have none of it and used his Kistler Engines power to drive back around. Donny Schatz re-entered the picture now as he moved by Sweet on the low side and began pressuring Carson for the fourth position on the track. This was all in just 3 laps as on lap 16 the yellow lights came back on, this time for Justin Sanders in the Swindell SpeedLab #39, who slowed to a stop at the end of the frontstretch. The running order for the restart was Courtney, Gravel, McCarl, Macedo and Schatz with 34 laps to go. When they got back up to speed there was no change at the very front of the field, but Brent Marks powered by both Schatz and Macedo and now owned the fourth position and was looking for more. The order would not change and on lap 25, as planned, the competition yellow was thrown as the competitors headed to the pit area for a brief stop for fuel and minor repairs. During the open red period, which was set to last roughly 3 minutes the crews went to work as Carson added some tearoffs to his Shifty Illusions custom painted Bell Helmet.
Following the competition caution, the field realigned in their running order side-by-side to come back to the green flag this time looking for who would lead when the checkered flag flew. It was once again Tyler Courtney driving into the top spot trying to fend off David Gravel. Meanwhile, Carson Macedo was up on the wheel of the Tarlton and Son/Liquid Trucking/WELD Racing #41 Maxim racing back by Brent Marks into fourth. On lap 19, the resurgent Donny Schatz motored by Macedo using the bottom lane coming out of turn two. Schatz also maneuvered by Austin McCarl into third and was looking for more. Carson was also able to drive by McCarl into fourth in turns one and two before McCarl exploded a right rear tire with 37 laps down. David Gravel had worked his way into the lead over Tyler Courtney with Schatz, Macedo and 17th starting Logan Schuchart now running in the fifth spot. They restarted with 13 laps to go, but the yellow flag came back out when James McFadden spun the Roth Motorsports #83 on the backstretch and kept going. David Gravel led the field back to the green flag with Courtney, Schatz and Macedo chasing. The laps were winding down and with 11 laps to go the right rear tire on the fourth running Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Border International/Winters Performance Products #41 was sliced on the sidewall and the yellow flag came out as he was off-the-pace in turn 3. The JJR #41 crew changed the tire and Carson rejoined the field at the back of the pack, but his chances for the win were deflated. Gravel again powered up to speed in the lead. Donny Schatz was focused and kept his composure as he was using the bottom and making tracks. Schatz passed Courtney for second and slowly started to reel in Gravel one lap at a time. Gravel was good and working the top side. Schatz was technical and maneuvering the bottom side. The TSR #15 was closing in on the Big Game Motorsports #2. With 5 laps to go, Donny Schatz was there and made a successful move for the lead entering turn one as he was now the leader. He would not look back as he went on to claim his eleventh Knoxville Nationals win over David Gravel, Logan Schuchart, Tyler Courtney, and Jacob Allen. Carson Macedo raced across the line with a 17 place finish. While not the outcome the team was looking for on this night, they showed well all week until they sliced the right rear. That’s racing and they will regroup and head to the Jackson Motorplex for the 3-day Jackson Nationals Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.
After a Flat Tire Late, Carson Macedo is Scored with a 17th Place Finish in the Knoxville Nationals! Photo Credit: Brent Smith
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; Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution; 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.