BURLINGTON, WASHINGTON (September 2, 2023) – When the team arrived at Skagit on Saturday there were two nights of WoO sprint car racing in the history books at the 2023 edition of the Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals. Carson Macedo, driving the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41, had recorded a 14th place finish on the opening night Thursday after a lap 13 accident while running fifth, and followed it up with a run forward to 8th place on night two on Friday evening. While not the results he and the team were hoping for, they were refocused and not about to surrender. They were back at the track and energized. The tough and scrappy Lemoore, California driver was looking to showcase the speed, momentum, and consistency he has shown throughout the season hoping to convert it into a winning way on Saturday night in the $26,000-to-win finale of the Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals. This racetrack, and the surrounding environment here, is simply beautiful. The aged trees define this area of the country as they soar above majestically with the forest being made up of the sum of so many incredible and unique parts. It makes for an idyllic setting for anything, but the fact that Skagit Speedway sits amongst the beauty and host sprint car racing is just magical. On the final night of their annual visit, the WoO stars of the sport were ready to get back after it on the 3/10-mile surface at Skagit Speedway. Carson Macedo and the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41 team were ready to go. There were 32 race teams prepped and ready to race again for the winner’s share of the purse in Washington.
Like so many nights, the time trial order plays a role in how your night just may play out. If you have good mojo and some speed to start the night it usually carries through the evening of action. If you miss a little, you have to find a way to recover. No excuses though On Thursday and Friday night, Sheldon Haudenschild defied and proved that as he made the most of it, including a win and a runner-up finish after timing in less than stellar both nights. For the drivers and teams though the quest all begins in Low-E Insulation Qualifying for each of the competitors. Where a driver goes out for their two timed laps is determined by random pill draw before the driver’s meeting at the WoO Command Center. For Carson, that meant he would be the fourth driver out on the track aboard the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Walker Performance Filtration/Tiger Towing #41. The always affable California smiled as he climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing machine and nestled into his Fibreworks Composites carbon fiber seat with a customized Sharp Advantage insert. Clyde Knipp pulled in behind Carson on the Polaris four-wheeler and rolled him into the staging area in the infield. When it was his turn to race against time after Greg Hamilton completed his timed circuits, Carson mashed the loud pedal and went for a quick ride around Skagit Speedway. Carson was cruising at speed when he took the green in an attempt to expedite his first lap making his way around the bullring in 11.933 seconds. He likes these demanding smaller tracks and enjoys the challenge of making speed by hitting his mark. His second lap was even better, stopping the clock at 11.743 seconds. The better of his two laps, the second lap, would represent Carson and the forty-one team as he was 7th quick overall at the end of qualifying. The driver with the quickest lap of the night though was none other than Friday night’s winner, Rico Abreu, who circled Skagit in 11.590 seconds, which earned him the Simpson Quick Time Award.
The drivers are assigned to their heat races and starting positions using their best lap in time trials, so they searched for their names in the lineups for each of the four 8-lap heat races when they posted. After a brief scan, Carson would get the Liquid Trucking/Durst Inc./Winter Performance Products #41 Maxim moving from the second starting spot in the third heat race. He would roll into his starting position beside polesitter Spencer Bayston in the CJB/TrueTimber #5 knowing he had some quick work to do in heat race action. West Coasters Jason Solwold and Dominic Scelzi followed in row two with Logan Schuchart and Cam Smith in row four. The final row of the heat race was occupied by Colby Thornhill and Bailey Jean. The drivers were all lined up and ready to go. The only thing left was racing at speed.
The front row of racers, Bayston and Macedo, hit the chalk stripe laid across turn four and the engines came to life in heat three in front of a packed house. The action at the start of these races are so close with the field all bunched together. Wheel-to-wheel the front two entered turn one with Bayston moving into the lead as Scelzi tries the bottom with Macedo holding him off. Carson’s Kistler Engines power under the Indy Performance Products (IPC) carbon fiber hood propelled him down the backstretch. He dove into turn three low and drifted up across turn four to wrestle the lead away from Bayston. Carson led the first lap with Bayston, Solwold and Schuchart racing behind. He continued to show the way and at the halfway point of the race he began to put some track surface between himself and second running Spencer Bayston. He had the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 moving and never looked back as he raced to the win by 1.974 seconds over Bayston. Jason Solwold came home third with Dominic Scelzi and Logan Schuchart locking down the last two transfer positions from the heat race.
Earning a shot to race for his feature starting position for the 37th time in World of Outlaws competition, Carson headed to victory lane to test his luck in the dash draw for starting positions in the 6-lap Toyota Dash. HE would be the third driver to pull a pill with the eight (selected by Rico Abreu #24) and one (selected by James McFadden #83) pills already gone. When it was Carson’s turn to choose a circled pill and when his hand exited the oversized NOS Energy Drink can he held the seven pill, which meant he would get the Liquid Trucking #41 started from the inside of row four beside Rico Abreu. James McFadden would be joined on the front row by Spencer Bayston #5 with Sheldon Haudenschild #17 and Buddy Kofoid #83jr in row two and Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) teammates Brad Sweet #49 and Kasey Kahne #9 behind them in row three. With the colorful dawn sky above them, the field lined up in rows of two and the green flag flew with James McFadden leading Spencer Bayston and Sheldon Haudenschild giving chase. Carson had the forty-one running in seventh searching the track for speed. On lap two, Haudenschild drove by Bayston into the runner-up position. Carson was trying his best to gain a row as he was tracking down Kasey Kahne. With 2 laps to go, Brad Sweet made his way by Bayston after a three car battle, which also included Buddy Kofoid, formed. James McFadden raced to the win to earn the pole position for the feature. Sheldon Haudenschild came home second followed by Brad Sweet, Spencer Bayston and Buddy Kofoid. Kasey Kahne held on for sixth after a last lap pass attempt failed by Macedo who finished seventh with Rico Abreu completing the finishing order in eighth.
With the calming night skies overhead in the Pacific Northwest, the feature field was set for the $26,000-to-Win Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals finale with 35 laps of racing around Skagit Speedway’s bullring of speed. The fans showed up all week to support their favorite driver at this beautiful facility and were treated to some extraordinary racing action. And, it was about to get better as the air horn sounded throughout the pit area summoning the teams to the track for the start of the championship race for the weekend.
After the engines fired, the pre-race festivities welcomed the drivers as they went four-wide to salute these great fans. Carson was pacing in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 from his seventh starting position in the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) speed machine. Beside him was Rico Abreu as they rolled behind Buddy Kofoid and Kasey Kahne. James McFadden and Sheldon Haudenschild were at the front with Brad Sweet and Spencer right behind in row two. The only thing left entertainment wise was moments away.
The green flag waved and polesitter James McFadden gassed it up as he brought the field up to speed down the front straightaway with Sheldon Haudenschild right beside him and Brad Sweet and Spencer Bayston right behind entering turn one. They were all fast and looking to keep the pressure on McFadden for the top spot. Carson got shuffled back in the early going and was wheeling his Maxim Racing machine from the tenth spot in the running order with some close racing action throughout the field. Carson would lose another spot and was now running in eleventh with two laps in the books.
McFadden was out front but Brad Sweet and Sheldon Haudenschild were fighting it out for second. Sweet moved by to take control of the runner-up spot away from Haudenschild. Brad Sweet was not done yet as he was working the bottom side and closing in on the race leader. On lap 8, the driver of the NAPA Auto Parts #49 made the pass for the lead stick as he was now your new leader. The top five in the running order was Sweet, McFadden, Haudenschild, Kofoid, and Corey Day.
The field was logging laps as they passed the halfway point of the race as Kofoid moved by Haudenschild for the show position. There was action everywhere, but nothing was more interesting than the three car battle developing for fourth place between Haudenschild, Day, and David Gravel. On lap 23 that action was abruptly halted when Sheldon Haudenschild flips in turn four after making contact with the wall with his tail tank.
With 12 laps to go it would be Brad Sweet leading the field back to green ahead of McFadden, Kofoid, Day and Gravel. They would go green but the yellow flag would be out fast as there was a multi-car incident involving Tanner Holmes, Cole Macedo and Greg Hamilton.
The next restart would be single file as the front five stayed the same as they came up to speed. Corey Day made his way by Kofoid into third place as Carson was racing as the last car in the top ten. He was wheeling and dealing in the Albaugh #41 as he was trying to get by Kasey Kahne with no luck. On lap 26 he finally would get by the Karavan #9, but Kahne raced right back by relegating Carson to eleventh. The two racers would continue to race until lap 27 when the yellow flag flew again for Greg Hamilton who spun to stop.
Carson would restart tenth and was willing to try anything to move forward. They went back to green flag racing with 8 laps to go with Brad Sweet leading Corey Day and James McFadden. The racing speeds were again stalled when Brock Zearfoss flipped the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill #3z up in turn two.
The engines re-fired with Sweet leading Day and McFadden as they got back up to speed. Corey Day was all over the leader, but the seasoned racing veteran held him at bay. Carson would get by Kahne for ninth again, but Kahne used his speed to drive back around bringing Donny Schatz along. Macedo was now running in the eleventh position with only two laps to go. Brad Sweet raced to the win over Day and McFadden with Buddy Kofoid and David Gravel rounding out the top five. Carson Macedo was scored with an eleventh place finish for the night. Carson and the JJR #41 team will refocus and head to Grays Harbor Raceway for some racing WoO style on Labor Day.
Standing Tall in the Washington Timbers During the Finale of the Skagit Nationals Salvaging An 11th Place Finish! Photo Credit: Nick Coward
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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.