ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 12, 2023) – After a podium finish at the 35th Annual Brad Doty Classic on Tuesday night at Attica Raceway Park, Carson Macedo and the JJR #41 team turned their attention to the highly anticipated opening night for the Eldora Million. Last year Tony Stewart and his management team at Eldora Speedway put on a cool $1 million-to-win race for the late model drivers with Jonathan Davenport smiling as he made the bank deposit following his victory. This year it was the sprint car drivers turn to hustle around the high banks at Eldora Speedway as they chased the incredible money Tony and the Eldora promotions and management team were willing to put up for the winner. Who says there is no money in sprint car racing? Not Tony and Eldora Speedway. The action would all get started on Wednesday during the preliminary night of racing using Eldora’s “Every Lap Matters Points” system unique to their big event. Carson Macedo and the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) team were poised to put together a solid night of competition aboard the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41. The infield pit area was loaded with 83 entries that were split into one of two groups, Group A or Group B, for the Twin 25 program based on a variety of factors including sanctioning body point standings and results year-to-date for each driver. Both groups were loaded with incredibly talented racers that would race for points every time they hit the track around the half mile oval that was built by Earl and Berneice Baltes, Eldora’s First Lady, and brought forward to the present by Tony Stewart’s passion and commitment to the sport of sprint car racing.
To open up the drivers meeting at 5 PM, track owner Tony Stewart took to the microphone and opened with a welcome while stating, “I’m a sprint car guy. You bet your ass I was going to pay you guts a million, too.” He continued, “You’re part of history this week. Let’s make it special.” That’s his level of commitment to the sport and we certainly appreciate it! Thank you Tony Stewart!
Under the non-sanctioned format, each driver would get two timed laps in qualifying with another competitor out on the track at the same time with the exact same mission – beat the second hand on the clock with the goal of ultimately being one of the fastest to do it to earn the most points. Carson Macedo would be assigned to Group B for the night and was slated to be the 9th driver to time trial during qualifying in the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Tarlton and Son/WELD Racing #41 Maxim. The Lemoore, California native would be joined out on the track by Cody Maroske as the two talented racers rolled up the banking in turn one to get started after their engines fired. Carson was hammer down as his Kistler Engines power was coming up to speed. He accelerated through turns three and four and flew by the flagstand to start the stopwatch ticking on lap one. The determined competitor did not want to leave anything out on the track so he let it all hang out. When he completed his first lap, he was timed in 13.572 seconds. He stayed on the power pedal and remained focused on finding the quickest way around Eldora Speedway. When he took the checkered flag to end his qualifying session, lap two came in quicker at 13.503 seconds. The better of his two laps ended up being 4th quick overall in Group B out of 41 cars. Carson earned 94 points for his time trial qualifying effort. The quickest driver in Carson’s group of cars was David Gravel who clocked in at 13.383 seconds. The fastest overall driver out of both groups was Logan Schuchart in the Shark Racing #1s who took his time as part of Group A and recorded a fast lap at 12.908 seconds.
The drivers in each of the four 10-lap heat races for each group were equally distributed based on their best lap in time trial qualifying for their assigned group. The twist was the starting positions for the fastest drivers would be established by an inversion that was determined by Eldora’s “Wheel of Misfortune.” The invert would flip the field based on whatever number the dreaded wheel stopped on – either a 6, 7 or 8. Quick timer Logan Schuchart cranked the wheel and when it stopped spinning it landed on the ‘8’ to set the inversion for the heat races. That meant the fastest driver in each heat race would start on the outside of row four and have to pass some cars as only the top five finishers in each heat race would lock into their group’s assigned Twin 25 features as the balance of the finishers headed to the B-Feature for their groups. It was time to for the drivers to get their elbows up at Eldora Speedway.
Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp, and Nathan Repetz were busy getting the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Durst Inc./Complete Parts and Equipment Solutions #41 ready for Carson Macedo to make tracks in the fourth and final 10-lap heat race for Group B where he would get started from the outside of row four from the eighth position. Carson would share the row with Cole Duncan. Paige Polyak and Justin Whittall would make up the front row with Chris Windom and Tyler Street in row two. Row three found Lachlan McHugh and Lance Dewease in the Macri 39M just ahead of Duncan and Macedo as Bradley Ashford and Frank Rodgers III lined up behind them in row five. The heat race lineup was set. It was time to go racing side-by-side on the high banks unearthed in the cornfields of Ohio!
The green flag waved and the engines for the drivers in the fourth heat raced growled as they clawed up to speed. It was Paige Polyak driving into the top spot followed by Justin Whittall and Tyler Street early through the first set of turns. Carson Macedo was on the high side of the speedway digging in the Albaugh #41 from the fourth position at the end of the first lap. He was looking for a continued path forward, but needed some openings to take advantage of at speed. He found some the next lap as he raced into the runner-up position. His charge forward from his eighth starting position was not done yet as he was reeling in the leader with every completed half mile. At the halfway point of the race, lap 5, he caught Polyak and made the pass for the lead. The driver of the forty-one was on a mission and executing his plan to perfection. With 3 lap to go, Carson had caught the rear of the field and was working his way through lap traffic uncontested. He raced the remaining distance to take the victory over Polyak, Street, Whittall and Duncan. Carson’s first place finish in the heat race added another 200 points to his time trial qualifying points bringing his sub-total to 294 points heading into the feature, which topped the charts for the drivers in Group B followed by: 2nd – David Gravel (291 points), 3rd – Jacob Allen (290 points), 4th – Justin Peck (289 points), 5th – Cole Duncan (274 points), 6th – Brian Brown (273 points), 7th – Rico Abreu (272 points), 8th – Shane Stewart (271 points), 9th – Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (268 points), and 10th – Dylan Cisney (266 points).
After winning his heat race to advance to the feature and completing his interview with FloRacing, Carson would get the opportunity to spin the “Wheel of Misfortune” to determine the inversion for the feature. His only options were an 8, 9 or 10. When the wheel stopped spinning it clicked in on the ‘8’, which meant as top point driver he would get started from the eighth starting spot in the Liquid Trucking/Border International/Factory Kahne (FK) Shocks #41 Maxim. His starting row partner was scheduled to be David Gravel driving the Big Game Motorsports #2. The talented duo would start behind the front row of Shane Stewart and Rico Abreu who were followed by Brian Brown and Cole Duncan in row two. Row three showcased Justin Peck and Jacob Allen with Macedo and Gravel in row four. With more event points on the line, it was time to “make it special” for all the fans in the stands and watching it live on FloRacing.
As the timed neared, the teams rolled their car and driver back from the trailer and into the staging lane in the infield as they readied to get their engines fired for their Twin 25 feature. Brad Sweet was victorious in the first group’s feature and it was now time to see who would come out on top in the second group. There would be 25 laps with $12,000-to-win on the line. Plus, and just as important, there were those critical “Every Lap Matters Points” on the line based on where each driver finished to add to their cumulative point total for the night. There were 300 points awarded to the winner of each feature with a reduction of four (4) points back through the field based on where the drivers finish.
The field was set. The always impressive pyrotechnics show exploded over the elite venue. And, it was now time to go racing at Eldora Speedway in the second Twin 25! But, before they could get started polesitter Shane Stewart headed to the work area with an issue and could not rejoin the field. That moved each driver up one position shifting the outside row to the inside row and vice versa. When the reshuffled lineup was set the yellow lights were turned off as the driver’s paced slowly down the backstretch towards turn four. When the front row starters arrived, the green flag waved high in the air as the engines came to life powering the cars forward towards turn one. It was Brian Brown into the early lead on lap one followed closely by Rico Abreu and Justin Peck. Carson moved forward and was now running in his Maxim Racing chassis from the sixth spot after the first lap was completed.
David Gravel was also charging forward getting into the mix closer to the front. On lap 5, Carson moved by Justin Peck into the fifth position and the next time around picked up another position when he rolled by Cole Duncan. Now running in fourth he began chasing Brown who was still leading over Gravel and Abreu. With 10 laps completed, Abreu worked his way back by David Gravel to gain the second position behind Brown. The next time around Eldora though Rico Abreu was your new leader as he raced by Brown through traffic.
On lap 12, Carson Macedo moved by David Gravel and was now in the show position with Rico Abreu leading Brian Brown. The leaders were still in traffic and Carson Macedo was closing in on Brian Brown. Three laps later on lap 15 he caught him and moved by the FVP/Casey General Stores #21. The leader, Rico Abreu, had built a sizable lead but Carson was determined to cut into it as the slower cars were forcing the leader to pass with caution. David Gravel was again on the move and made his way by Brian Brown to regain the third position in the running order. The laps were winding down with Abreu leading Macedo, Gravel, Brown and Peck.
After 25 laps of high speed competition throughout the second feature for the Group B entries, Rico Abreu race to the win in the non-stop event as Carson brought the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 home with a second place finish. Carson’s efforts throughout the competitive night secured him another 296 points that would be added to his heat race and time trial qualifying points to bring his cumulative preliminary night point total to 590 points, which positioned him first not only for Group B, but overall too in the combined standings. Carson was followed in the event points by: 2nd – Logan Schuchart (588 points), 3rd – David Gravel (583 points), 4th – Brad Sweet (579 points), 5th – Kyle Larson (575 points), 6th – Aaron Reutzel (573 points), 7th – Justin Peck (573 points), 8th – Rico Abreu (572 points), 9th – Jacob Allen (566 points), and 10th – Giovanni Scelzi (562 points).
Carson and the JJR #41 team would be ready to come back at Eldora Speedway on Thursday night for The Eldora Million with confidence and courage to race for all the money that was on the line for the winner. The work had just begun, but hard work, perspiration and a positive mindset are all key ingredients in the success formula both in racing and in life and the team was up to the task. Carson Macedo, Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp and Nathan Repetz embraced the challenge and were looking forward to being back at the track with an opportunity to race for The Eldora Million.
Carson Macedo Scores 590 Points During Preliminary Night Action at the Eldora Million with His Runner-Up Finish in the Tarlton and Son #41! Photo Credit: CS Productions – Cameron Saich
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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.