CHICO, CALIFORNIA (September 9, 2023) – During Carson’s preliminary night at the Curb Records 69th Annual Gold Cup presented by Riebes NAPA Auto Parts, he raced to a sixth place finish in the feature and accumulated a total of 379 points. That positioned him tied for third overall with Corey Day following the conclusion of Thursday’s preliminary action – the first of two preliminary night with a split field. Day had the tiebreaker in the point standings as he finished higher (third) in Thursday’s preliminary night feature. While Carson did not race during the second preliminary night of racing on Friday, he still had to work and practice patience while he applied his math skills. Carson and the JJR team kept their calculators handy to follow the competitors in action throughout the night to see how their cumulative point total journey throughout their preliminary night would match up and compare to his points at the end of the evening when the points were combined.
On Friday night, Michael “Buddy” Kofoid raced to the win ahead of Justin Sanders as he executed a last lap pass for the top spot in another exciting race at Silver Dollar Speedway. The top five point earners from Friday night were: (1) Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (390 Points); (2) Justin Sanders (390 Points); (3) Spencer Bayston (380 Points); (4) Dominic Scelzi (379 Points); and, (5) David Gravel (374 Points). When the point totals for both preliminary nights were merged together, that positioned Carson Macedo in the Albaugh – Your Alterative #41 in a three-way tie pointwise with Dominic Scelzi and Corey Day, all with 379 points entering Saturday’s race card. The top eight in combined overall points with the preliminary nights now in the rearview mirror were: (1) Kyle Larson (391 Points) – who was not racing on Saturday night due to his NASCAR commitments; (2) Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (390 Points) – Locked In; (3) Justin Sanders (390 Points) – Locked In; (4) Shane Golobic (386 Points) – Locked In; (5) Spencer Bayston (380 Points); (6) Corey Day (379 Points) – Locked In; (7) Dominic Scelzi (379 Points); and, (8) Carson Macedo (379 Points).
The top two point earners from each of the preliminary nights, both Thursday and Friday, had locked themselves into the dash following the Gold Cup Race of Champions eventrace format. That meant Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (Friday Night – High Points), Justin Sanders (Friday – Second in Points), Shane Golobic (Thursday Night – High Points), and Corey Day (Thursday Night – Second in Points), were all guaranteed a spot in the championship finale’s Toyota Dash. The forty (40) point earners that did not secure one of the four coveted lock-in slots to the Toyota Dash would lineup up in one of the four 10-lap heat races where the top four would transfer into the money paying A-Main.
Before the heat races kicked off, Brad Sweet and Colby Copeland along with the race promotions team took a moment to recognize a long-time contributor to the sport – Lowell Moural – who ran Cycleland Speedway and headed up the track prep at Silver Dollar Speedway for many years. In a tribute to him and his family, they had a lap in his memory led by the water truck and grader. A generous gesture that is just another example of the good people involved in sprint car racing.
After the first two heat races were completed, Carson and the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Schoenfeld Headers/Greber Racing Components (GRC) #41 Maxim hotrod rolled out onto the track into the pole in the third 10-lap heat race. The winner of each of the heat races would join the four drivers already locked into the dash from the two preliminary nights of action to battle it out for their starting spot in the first four rows of the feature. The Lemoore, California racer climbed into his office and prepared for his night of work. He buckled into his Crow Enterprizes safety belts and was ready to rock and roll. James McFadden, driver of the Roth Motorsports #83, would roll onto the outside of the front row beside Macedo as they paced in front of Kalib Henry #17M and Chase Randall in the #57W. Noah Gass #20G and Cole Macedo in the Tarlton and Son #21T lined up in row three with Andy Forsberg #92 and Chance Grasty #1 in row four. Ashton Torgerson #7 and Nick Parker #115 were rolling in row five with Jake Morgan #45 and Carson Hammes #56C in row six.
Things had gone relatively smoothly through the first two heat races, but that was about to change. Macedo and McFadden brought the field up to speed when the initial green flag flew with the driver of the Roth Motorsports #83 taking the lead with Carson close behind. Before they could get a lap completed though the first yellow flag was thrown when Nick Parker slowed to a stop.
They did not get a complete lap in, so it would be a complete restart. This time Carson dropped his right foot and powered his way into the lead into turn one, but that too would be negated when the yellow lights came back on for Ryan Bernal who got up over the edge of the banking.
Would the third time be a charm? We would have to wait and see. The field lined up again and Carson got a good start again to take the lead. He entered on the high side of turn one ahead of McFadden with third starting Kalib Henry diving in low and drifting up across making contact with McFadden sending the Roth Motorsports driver off the track. McFadden came back onto the track and clipped Cole Macedo ultimately resulting in Carson Hammes flipping to stop the racing action under red flag conditions. James McFadden headed to the Federated Car Care Work Zone but was unable to make the necessary repairs in time to rejoin the field.
Maybe the fourth attempt would work? Carson lined up on the inside of the front row with Kalib Henry now to his outside. The green flag was out again with Macedo racing into the lead over Henry. But the yellow flag was quickly used gain when Cole Macedo bounced over the banking in turn one slowing the action again. Cole’s misfortune was an opportunity for McFadden as the crew continued to work and now had the #83 ready to rejoin the field at the back of the pack.
Attempt number five finally worked with Carson driving the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 to the front followed by Kalib Henry, Noah Gass, and Andy Forsberg. Under green flag conditions he was setting a quick pace around Silver Dollar Speedway building an almost 4 second lead over Henry just after the halfway point of the heat race. Carson continued to dominate, although he had a close call in lap traffic with 2 laps to go when he was trying to put Nick Parker a lap down, to race to victory over Henry, Gass, and Forsberg who secured the final transfer spots after the challenging, and long, third heat race.
The drivers were called to the frontstretch to draw for their Toyota Dash starting spots. The drivers who locked in during their preliminary nights would draw the 1-4 pills with the heat race winner selecting the 5-8 pills. The track surface was tricky and technical, but that character is what makes it a California type race track. It was a little rough and choppy around the top, but there were multiple racing lanes to compete. Interestingly enough, six of the eight drivers in the dash were California racers with the exceptions being Indianan Spencer Bayston and Pennsylvanian Logan Schuchart. When the drivers each completed their draws the starting order would look like this – Row 1: Corey Day #14 and Michael “Buddy” Kofoid #83jr; Row Two: Shane Golobic #17W and Justin Sanders #2x; Row 3: Carson Macedo #41 and Dominic Scelzi #41s; and, Row Four: Spencer Bayston #5 and Logan Schuchart #1s.
When the green flag was unfurled it was Day to the lead over Kofoid with Macedo to fourth. Carson was embroiled in a fierce battle for that position with Golobic. The two talented racers swapped the position a number of times, but Macedo had it when the yellow came out on lap 4 for Spencer Bayston who got into the wall off turn four after getting over the edge of the banking. The cushion was getting tricky, but these professional dare devils were figuring it out. When they got back up to speed it was Corey Day still leading Michael “Buddy” Kofoid as Carson was racing with Justin Sanders for the third spot. Macedo slid the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 by Sanders in the first set of turns, but Sanders returned the favor in turns three and four to regain the show position. Corey Day raced to the dash win over Kofoid and Sanders with Macedo and Golobic rounding out the top five. Logan Schuchart came home sixth followed by Dominic Scelzi with Spencer Bayston being scored in eighth.
The 24 car field of stars was set for the Curb Records 69th Annual Gold Cup presented by Riebes NAPA Auto Parts 40-lap feature. Corey Day and Michael “Buddy” Kofoid would pace the field in front of the packed house in Chico, California. The promoters did a fantastic job prepping for this event and the racing did not disappoint. But it was now time to see who would be crowned the champion of the 2023 edition of the Gold Cup Race of Champions.
Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp, and Nathan Repetz finished up their work as Carson Macedo planned his attack strategy before climbing aboard his Maxim Racing machine. He would get started from the outside of row two with Justin Sanders to his inside. When they went green flag racing it was Day to the front ahead of Sanders and Kofoid with Carson running fourth in the Albaugh – Your Alternative/FK Rod Ends/Motor State Distributing #41 Maxim. Kofoid would race back by Sanders to reclaim the runner-up spot before the yellow flag was displayed for Michael Faccinto’s #X1 who spun in turn one.
They would get restarted and get a lap in the books before another yellow flag was out this time for Justin Cox’s #42X who got sideways on the inside berm of turn two. The restart order with 37 laps to go would be Day, Kofoid, Sanders, Macedo and Golobic. Day again led the field back up to speed ahead of Kofoid as Shane Golobic moved the Matt Wood Racing #17W by Carson into the fourth position. Carson not only surrendered the position but he now has Gass Valley, California’s Brad Sweet all over him challenging him for a spot on the top five. Carson held him off and the third caution flag of the night came out for Andy Forsberg #92 who went over the edge of the banking in turn three.
Corey Day was in command of the top spot in the Meyers Constructors #14 when the green lights were turned back on. Carson drove the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 on the low side to move back into fourth as the track was becoming bottom dominant. He was getting into a rhythm when another yellow flag was unveiled for Ryan Bernal who came to a stop on the backstretch. The restart order would be Day, Kofoid, Sanders, Macedo and Golobic.
Again it was Day getting up to speed first as he led the field avoiding the chaos unfolding behind him. Carson was holding onto the fourth spot in the running order as Dominic Scelzi moved his #41s into fifth place. By lap 13, Corey Day had caught the back of the field and began the process of putting cars a lap down. Two laps later, Kofoid got up over the cushion in turn four allowing Sanders and Macedo to drive by moving into the second and third positions respectively.
Carson has the JJR #41 moving and moved by Sanders into the runner-up position on lap 15. His next goal was to track down Day, but first he had to locate him as Day had built a 2.5 second lead. At the halfway point of the race he was making some progress as Day had to trim off some speed as he maneuvered through lap traffic. Carson was up on the wheel and digging with speed.
On lap 25 Carson’s run forward was thwarted when he got up over the cushion sending him into a full wheel stand with the nose of the car up in the air. He spun on the rear nerf bar and somehow saved it and got it going back in the right direction. He blended back into the race lineup in the tenth position, but his visions of winning where now all blurred. He was holding his own in the last spot in the top ten until lap 33 when Chase Randall passed him relegating Macedo back to eleventh.
Corey Day was still out front with Justin Sanders chasing followed by Michael “Buddy” Kofoid, Dominic Scelzi, and Brad Sweet. Carson was still battling, but with 4 laps to go lost another position as Rico Abreu drove by putting Macedo back to twelfth. Corey Day would race to the win over Sander and Kofoid as he received all the treasures, and the $25,000 winner’s check, at the Gold Cup Race of Champions.
Carson raced hard all night and had a fast racecar. He would be scored with a 12th place finish to end the Gold Cup Race of Champions which was not reflective of his and his team’s efforts. But that is how racing goes. The team will use the week to prepare for the 4th Annual Tom Tarlton Classic at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, California on Friday night. While not the results they were looking for it certainly was not a reflection of their hard work, dedication and competitive efforts.
After Racing Up to Second Place, Carson’s Run Forward is Slowed When He Spins Over the Cushion Resulting in the 12th Place Finish at the Gold Cup Race of Champions! Photo Credit: Trent Gower Photography
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