ELMA, WASHINGTON (September 4, 2023) – After the checkered flag flew over the field at Skagit Speedway on Saturday night, with Brad Sweet securing the victory and Carson Macedo bringing home an eleventh place finish in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41, the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) team and the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competitors headed south to Grays Harbor Raceway, located off Washington State Route 8, to present “The Greatest Show on Dirt” to the great fans in this part of the country. The teams trucked south on Interstate 5 as they passed by Mount Vernon, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia on their way to Elma for a Labor Day extravaganza of speed in the state of Washington. The stars of sprint car racing were in town, but this town is no stranger to stardom as the late Kurt Cobain, who was the co-founder, lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter of the rock band Nirvana, was born just down the road in Aberdeen at Grays Harbor Hospital on February 20, 1967. Grays Harbor Raceway, a 3/8-mile dirt oval situated just inland from the North Pacific Ocean, has produced some really good racing in the past and is always a neat place to visit when racing through the Pacific Northwest. Last year Carson Macedo was able to park the Albaugh #41 in victory lane when they visited. On Monday night there were 31 race teams registered and ready to roll with the “Outlaws” at Grays Harbor Raceway.
When hot laps were completed, the cars began to lineup in the staging lane for their shot at the clock in Low-E Insulation Qualifying. Carson was buckled and ready to go as he secured the chin strap on his Shifty Illusions custom painted Bell Racing helmet and pulled on his K1 Race Gear racing gloves. The California speedster would get the Boltz Family/Larry Davis Farms/Xtreme Body and Paint #41 Maxim out on the track 23rd for his two time trial laps. When his Kistler Engines power awoke under the hood, Carson lowered his right foot and was looking to chart his path forward at speed. Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp, and Nathan Repetz take a lot of pride in making sure they give their driver his best chance when he is at speed. Carson in return lets it all hang out while putting his car right on the edge of possibilities using his driving talent and well defined skills. It is that fine balance that delivers results – good or bad. The native of Lemoore, California took the green and was working hard inside the cockpit of the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 to make sure he hit all of his marks and kept his speed up during his first attempt. When he crossed under the flagstand to end his first circuit his lap was recorded in 13.597 seconds on the slick and technical surface. He maintained his speed as he entered turn one for the last time looking to do his work quicker the second time around Grays Harbor Raceway. When he raced under the flagstand to end lap two, the numbers on the scoreboard read 13.688 seconds. His best work, and time, positioned him 15th quick overall for the night with Rico Abreu earning the Simpson Quick Tome Award with a lap of 12.964 seconds.
When each driver’s time was ordered from top to bottom, WoO Timing and Scoring officials built out the lineups for the three 8-lap heat races. Carson would have some work to do as his time trial lap would put him back in the third row in the fifth starting position beside Kasey Kahne in the FuelME #9. Ten-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz would get started from the pole position with Buddy Kofoid to his outside with Robbie Price and Tanner Holmes pacing behind. James McFadden, Cam Smith, Bailey Jean and Justin Youngquist would make up rows four and five respectively as the field began to lineup to prepare for green flag action. When the flagman waved the green cloth it was Kofoid using the outside lane to drive into the lead over Schatz. Carson got stuck on the bottom and dropped back to seventh with Cam Smith right in front of him. Carson got his elbows up and was about to drive the Albaugh – Your Alternative/ISC Racers Tape/Premier Coach Group #41 Maxim forward. He moved back by Smith into the sixth spot and was running down Robbie Price and Kasey Kahne who were battling for the fourth position. Off turn two he split the two racers with a bold move and when lap three was completed Carson was running in the fourth spot. He immediately began to track down Tanner Holmes as he wanted to show position. Buddy Kofoid was still leading Donny Schatz out front, but all eyes were focused on Macedo and the action on the track was about to heat up. With the white flag waving, Carson was right there. He would have one shot and only one shot if he was going to make the pass for position. Entering turn three he let it rip and slid by Holmes to momentarily steal the position. Kofoid and Schatz had already raced under the checkered flag as Macedo and Holmes drag raced towards the finish line. It would be Holmes by just a scant .001 seconds at the line with Macedo securing the fourth spot in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41. What a race for position. Robbie Price came home fifth with Kasey Kahne locking down the sixth and final transfer position out of the third heat race.
Carson would sit out after not making the Toyota Dash as track officials kept grooming the racing surface to give both the drivers and fans an opportunity to see the best show possible. With all of the preliminary action completed, after the checkered flew over the Last Chance Showdown (LCS), the air horn sounded summoning the teams to the racing surface for the 30-lap NOS Energy Drink Labor Day Extravaganza feature event. Carson would get the Tarlton and Son/RaceDiecast.com/Winters Performance Products #41 started from the outside of row six from the twelfth starting spot. He paced alongside Sheldon Haudenschild in the Stenhouse Jr./Marshall Racing #17.
With Logan Schuchart and Brad Sweet leading the field from the front row the green flag dropped with Sweet leading the first lap by the thinnest of margins over Schuchart. Carson quickly moved the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 into tenth on the opening lap and picked up another position to move into ninth place when the first yellow of the race flew for Sheldon Haudenschild who slowed to a stop in turn four.
Logan Schuchart had taken the top spot away from Sweet on lap two and would lead the field back to green with Rico Abreu and Donny Schatz just behind. He was hammer down, but the speed he was generating was quickly slowed as Cole Macedo, Trey Starks and Luke Didiuk all get together. They tried again and this time the lights stayed green with Schuchart out front. Carson was on the move too as he quickly moved up a spot in the running order.
Under racing conditions Buddy Kofoid moved past Donny Schatz for fourth as Sweet stayed close enough to Schuchart to keep him uncomfortable. The defending champ saw an opportunity and tried to steal the lead but Schuchart would have none of it. Rico Abreu then seized the opportunity to move by Sweet to take over the second spot as he was making the bottom of the track work. Carson picked up another position and was now running seventh.
At the halfway point of the race the yellow flag was back out, this time for Buddy Kofoid who spun on the frontstretch. It would be Schuchart, Abreu, Sweet, Corey Day, Schatz and Carson running in the sixth position when they went back to green flag racing. Schuchart maintained the lead over Abreu as Sweet tried a slider. Carson lost a spot as David Gravel raced by in the Big Game Motorsports #2.
With 10 laps to go it was all Logan Schuchart as he had built a comfortable lead in the Shark Racing #1s. Rico Abreu was not about to give up as he closed the gap with 5 laps to go. Schuchart held him off to race to the victory with Abreu coming home second, Donny Schatz grabbing third with Brad Sweet and Cory Day rounding out the top five. Carson brought the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 home eighth as James McFadden beat him across the stripe by .001 seconds, yes the exact same amount of difference he lost a spot in the heat race, as they both crossed the line behind David Gravel who finished sixth. The Scelzi brother, Giovanni and Dominic, rounded out the top ten in the finishing order.
Carson and the JJR #41 team will now head south to Carson’s home state of California so they prepare to race on Thursday night in the their preliminary night, the first of two preliminary nights as the field is split between Thursday and Friday night, at the 69th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions in Chico, California.
A Relentless Effort in the Pacific Northwest Produces an 8th Place Finish to Cap Off Racing Action in Washington! 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.