ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 14, 2023) – It is hard to stay focused after competing for the richest winner’s check in sprint car history in The Eldora Million, but that is exactly what Carson Macedo and the other drivers and teams had to do as they returned to Eldora Speedway on Friday night as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series presented the Knight Before the Kings Royal. After racing to a runner-up finish in The Eldora Million, Carson and the JJR #41 team were back at Eldora Speedway ready to compete at the highest level. There was another $20,000 put up to win this race that precedes Saturday night’s prestigious Crown Jewel event – the 40th Annual Kings Royal event that pays $175,000 to the winner and a lucrative purse throughout the starting lineup. Friday night and Saturday night on the Kings Royal weekend are two separate and distinct shows with no connection between the two. Friday’s format follows the usual and customary WoO format with time trial qualifying, heat races, a dash, and the feature. There were 67 race teams parked throughout the infield pit area ready to put on another entertaining show for the fans in the stands at Eldora Speedway as some drivers elected to head back to their local tracks to compete for the weekend.
With greater than 38 teams in attendance to compete at the Knight Before the Kings Royal, the field would be split into two equally distributed groups for Low-E Insulation Qualifying. Carson would be the 32nd speed athlete to take his qualifying laps in Group B. He would take the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 hotrod out for his two timed laps around Eldora. He would be joined by Justin Peck in the Buch Motorsports #13 in two car qualifying. He was going out late, but needed to put down a good lap. His Kistler Engines power fired as he drove up onto the banking in turn one. Carson pedaled down and quickly got up to speed as he raced towards the flagstand to start the clock. When he arrived on the frontstretch he was already flying. He carried that speed through the first set of turns and down the back straightaway hustling through turns three and four around the high side. This track is very unforgiving, so a slight bobble here or there will cost the driver precious time on the clock. Carson was riding his 410 cubic inch rocket and steered through the last set of turns and down the frontstretch. When he tripped the timing light to complete lap one, he was clocked at 13.437 seconds. He stayed on the loud pedal and was digging for more speed in an attempt to lower the time it took for him to get around this famous half mile oval. He completed his second lap in 13.381 seconds. The quicker of his two attempts earned him the second quickest time overall in Group B. Lance Dewease, driving the Macri #39M, was the fastest driver in Carson’s group with a lap of 13.337 seconds. Logan Schuchart, out of Group A and coming off his win in The Eldora Million, was the fastest driver of the night though as he laid down a lap in 12.934 seconds to earn the Simpson Quick Time Award.
Using each driver’s best lap, World of Outlaws (WoO) Timing and Scoring Officials built out the starting lineups for the four 8-lap heat races where the top five finishers would transfer directly to the feature from each heat race. Only the top twenty drivers in each qualifying group would lock in positions in the heat races as everyone else needed to race in the non-qualifier races. When starting lineups were posted, Carson Macedo would get rolling in the fourth of four heat races from the pole position aboard the Durst Inc./RaceDiecast.com/FK Rod Ends #41 Maxim. He would pull onto the inside of the front row beside Lebanon, Indiana’s Spencer Bayston to prepare for some high speed action sprint car style. Parker Price-Miller and Kasey Kahne lined up in row two with Sye Lynch and Hunter Schuerenberg side-by-side in row three. Kraig Kinser and Donny Schatz were rolling in row four with Landon Myers and Kerry Madsen pacing from row five and Harli White in row six.
With all the drivers correctly aligned in the starting formation the yellow lights were turned off as they slowly made their way to the chalk stripe laid down across turn four. When the starters in row one arrived the entire field of drivers dropped their right foot on the loud pedal simultaneously. Their engines responded immediately taking them on a high speed excursion around Eldora Speedway. There were early battles for position everywhere with Macedo leading Bayston and Price-Miller when the first lap was completed.
It was sprint car racing’s version of a high speed chase. Carson had the Albaugh #41 running smoothly at the front of the pack. He began to build his lead over Bayston with each completed lap. The top two drivers in the running order were the class of the field on this night as they were running away from the rest of the field. With 2 laps to go, Carson was approaching the rear of the field as he made his way by Harli White. Carson would not look back and drove to the heat race win over Bayston with Price-Miller, Schatz and Kahne securing the final three transfer spots.
The eight drivers who finished in the first and second positions in each of the heat races headed to the stage to draw for their starting spots in the 6-lap Toyota Dash. Carson would be the fourth driver to have the opportunity to pull a pill from the oversized NOS Energy Drink can. He brought along his lucky charm, Peyton Dyson, to pull his pill and she did an amazing job pulling the ‘1’ pill. That put Carson on the pole in the Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions/Tarlton and Son/Boltz Family #41 beside Giovanni Scelzi for the dash. Brad Sweet and Spencer Bayston were in row two, Tyler Courtney and Sheldon Haudenschild in row three, and Logan Schuchart and Rico Abreu in row four. The field was set. It was time to go racing. Carson got the jump on Scelzi at the start of the dash as he led lap one. Brad Sweet was opportunistic and slid by Scelzi to take over the second spot in the running order. Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp and Nathan Repetz had the Albaugh #41 on rails for their driver and he was doing a masterful job using the speed. Carson was driving around the top in turns one and two and diving low through turns three and four. The six laps whizzed by with Macedo picking up the win over Sweet and Scelzi as the top three were followed by Bayston, Haudenschild, Abreu, Schuchart and Courtney.
After a long night of trying to earn their way into the money paying 30-lap NOS Energy Drink Knight Before the Kings Royal feature, only 24 drivers completed the task. But, each of their nights was just getting started as they had quite a bit of work to do with their engines roaring yet. Carson Macedo and Brad Sweet would pace the field from the front row with Giovanni Scelzi and Spencer Bayston right behind in row two. Sheldon Haudenschild and Rico Abreu in row three with Logan Schuchart and Tyler Courtney close behind in row four. The field was set and the engines fired. It was time to go racing and put on a Friday night fight for the fans at Eldora Speedway!
Macedo and Sweet brought the powerful field to the green flag off turn four with the driver of the forty-one taking the lead ahead of Scelzi and Sweet. He had the Albaugh #41 moving before on track action was halted on lap two when Tyler Courtney flipped hard in turn two in his NOS Energy Drink #7BC. Courtney was ok.
When the accident scene was cleared, Carson re-fired the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Meyers Constructors Inc./Walker Performance Filtration #41 Maxim and drove down to the inside of the front row with Giovanni Scelzi’s #18 to his right side. When the green flag came back out it was Macedo and Scelzi, two California speedsters, side-by-side down the front straightaway and into turn one. When they exited turn two it was Carson to the lead with Brad Sweet driving underneath Scelzi back into the runner-up spot.
They were all out and at the halfway point of the race it was Macedo, Sweet, Scelzi, Haudenschild and Bayston. The track was top dominant, but there were drivers making the bottom work. Carson was carrying his speed forward with 10 laps to go, but Brad Sweet was hunting him down. Sweet was quickly closing the distance between himself and the leader as Carson maneuvered through lap traffic. With 5 laps to go, Brad Sweet was right there and the next time around made a move to drive by Macedo. Carson turned back underneath Sweet and retook the lead putting another lap car between himself and “The Big Cat” on the track. Carson kept the pedal to the metal over the course of the last four laps to race to the win over Sweet and Scelzi to make it an all-California podium at the 2023 edition of the Knight Before the Kings Royal. Rico Abreu came home fourth with David Gravel rounding out the top five from his 15th starting position.
The happy driver climbed out of his cockpit and celebrated with his team, friends and family before climbing atop the wing to celebrate again in the falling confetti for for a knight. He had a fast race car, but that did not deter Brad Sweet from putting up a good late race fight for the win. Carson reflected on that battle with the four-time WoO Champion and always tough Brad Sweet stating, “I slid myself in three and four. I knew I lost a lot of time, but I didn’t think he would slide me right then.” The winner continued, “I didn’t feel like my run was that bad, so he must have been pretty close before that. He slid me and just woke me back up. I didn’t realize how uniform you could run the fence in one and two. Once he drove by me I kind of grabbed another gear and got my elbows way up in the seat and just started to running as hard as I possibly could.” It worked and he drove the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 to his fifth World of Outlaws win in 2023, and sixth victory overall. By virtue of his win in the Knight Before the Kings Royal, Carson will be allowed to qualify in time trial whenever he chooses to, no matter what pill he draws, for Saturday’s 40th Annual Kings Royal. A special benefit for the winner. Another great run for Macedo and the forty-one!
Macedo Masterfully Drives to Victory on Friday in the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway! 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.