MESQUITE, TEXAS (October 21, 2023) – When the checkered flag flew over Friday night’s action, Carson had raced the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 to the win in the next to last event ever at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. It was his 35 career WoO victory and a big one to start the weekend. As the sun came up over the horizon on Saturday morning though it shined brightly over the track as the competitive sprint car teams prepared for the last night of racing before working their way back to the facility for the last call at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in the Sprint Car Showdown finale. Back on March 18, 1978 during the inaugural World of Outlaws (WoO) race, Jimmy Boyd succeeded and he won the first series race ever. On Saturday night there were 30 talented racers to honor the track as they returned to see who would etch their name in the record books forever as the last 410 sprint car winner at the half-mile oval that features an elevated backstretch than the frontstretch that requires you to race uphill through the first set of turns and slightly downhill through turns three and four. Make no mistake about it though . . . history has been made here at Devil’s Bowl one lap at a time and the memories will fade for some but never disappear.
With Jason Johnson still being the track record holder with a lap of 13.306 seconds set back in April 27, 2018, this night would be the last chance for anyone to displace his name in the Devil’s Bowl record books. Carson Macedo would be the 25th speedster to fire up his engine and head out in the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Team Jack Foundation/Jansen Transportation #41 Maxim for his two laps in Low-E Insulation Qualifying. His elbows were up and his right foot was down as he accelerated towards the waving green flag. When the native of Lemoore, California crossed the timing light the numbers on the stopwatch started rolling by quickly. How do they go that fast? Carson was hammer down focused on hitting his marks. Only time would tell though and when Carson hustled the forty-one underneath the white flag his first lap was recorded in 15.041 seconds, which was off the pace from the competition. How did he go so fast? He continued trucking though at speed, Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) style, and the next time around with the same tenacity of purpose. Once again the clock would tell the story and it was a slightly better one as he completed his last run around the half-mile track in 15.017 seconds. The faster of Carson’s two laps positioned him 22nd quick overall at the end of time trials. Brad Sweet continued his late season speed in time trials as he again earned the Simpson Quick Time Award as he laid down a lap an impressive lap in 14.266 seconds to top the speed charts in the final qualifying session at Devil’s Bowl. The fact that no one eclipsed Jason Johnson’s lap means his legacy will forever continue throughout history at his favorite racetrack.
Following their format script, the timing and scoring officials from the World of Outlaws (WoO) used each driver’s best lap and position in the final qualifying order to establish the starting lineups for the three 8-lap heat races. That meant Carson Macedo would start pretty far back as he had the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 Maxim rolling from the outside of row four beside Riley Goodno in the Case No. 1 Engine Oil first heat event. It was an all-KKR front row made up of Brad Sweet and Kasey Kahne with Scott Bogucki and Noah Gass in row two followed by Robbie Price and Brenham Crouch in row three. Dalton Stevens and Harli White tagged the rear of the field in row five.
These cool customers were prepared to takeoff when the flagman turned on the green lights. They slowly worked their way into turn three with their right foot ready to dance on the accelerator. Off turn four it was a high speed chase sprint car style with Kasey Kahne leading the first lap ahead of Brad Sweet and Scott Bogucki. Carson was a man on a mission in the black with green and silver striped Albaugh – Your Alternative/KSE Racing Products/Durst Inc. #41 Maxim. During the opening lap he picked up two spots to move into the sixth position and quickly started to look for more. He was tracking down Brenham Crouch and tried a few times to move by cleanly to no avail. On lap 5, he raced underneath Crouch off turn two and won the drag race down into turn three to take over the fifth spot. Up front, Kasey Kahne led flag-to-flag to take the heat race win over teammate Brad Sweet as those two lacked into the dash. Scott Bogucki came home third with Noah Gass, Carson Macedo and Brenham Crouch locking down the remaining transfer spots to the feature.
To commemorate the last race at Devil’s Bowl, the winner’s share of the purse was increased to $20,023 for the 30-lap NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Stampede feature finale. Not to forget the beginning, every starter would receive $1,978-to-start signifying the inaugural event at the track. There was excitement in the air both in the stands and throughout the pit area. While nobody likes a track closing, especially one as prolific as Devil’s Bowl, embracing the reality and making the best of it turned this into a huge night of racing.
When James McFadden and David Gravel came off turn four they saw the green flag waving with McFadden leading Gravel. Carson started in the 13th position in the Tarlton and Son/Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions/Jansen Transportation #41 and was ready to race forward. The talented Australian driver led the opening lap with Gravel close behind. With one lap in the books the yellow flag flew for Brandan Crouch who slowed to a sop in turn four.
With 29 laps to go, the field was lined up again as McFadden got a terrific start in the Roth Motorsports #83 to reclaim the lead ahead of Gravel. The green flag racing was sort-lived though as they only got one more lap in the books before the yellow flag was back out for Noah Gass and Matt Covington who both stopped on different parts of the track.
When they went back to green flag racing there was a huge pileup on the restart collecting many cars including Brad Sweet, Kasey Kahne, Scott Bogucki, Blake Hahn and Logan Schuchart who was also involved in the melee of machines. Most of the cars went to the work area as the KKR team did a terrific job getting the NAPA Auto Parts #49 repaired and back out. Carson was able to miss the on track incident.
The yellow lights were turned back on as the engines re-fired with McFadden bringing them back to the green when it was time to get back up to speed. Carson raced into the top ten on lap 3 and by lap four he had advanced up to sixth in the running order. McFadden was building a huge lead over Gravel with nine laps in the books with Donny Schatz catching everyone’s attention as he was moving forward fast using the bottom. James McFadden was catching traffic when the yellow came back out as Brad Sweet blew a tire. He went to the work area again and returned to the field.
When they went back to racing it was again brief as the yellow flag was quickly thrown for another mess in turn four this time including Carson along with Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jennings, and Riley Goodno. It appeared that the NOS Energy Drink #17 of Sheldon Haudenschild did not fire correctly and Carson got into him to start the accident. Carson took the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 to the Federated Car Care Work Zone as the JJR team went to work to get him back out where he would tag the rear of the field and be scored in 18th place.
The restart order would be James McFadden, David Gravel, Donny Schatz, Sheldon Haudenschild and Spencer Bayston when they returned to racing at speed. Carson would restart at the back of the field with work in front of him. When the green lights were turned back on McFadden again locked down the top spot with everyone chasing. One of the hot shoes on the move though was Giovanni Scelzi as he quickly moved into the top five for his 15 starting spot and soon advanced forward into the third position. Carson was trying to make the best of his night as he methodically picked up a spot in the running order.
At the halfway point of the race, with McFadden still leading, the yellow came back out as Carson slowed in turn two and then headed back to the Federated Car Care Work Zone. He took the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 back for more repairs but did not have any guaranteed time left since they were at the halfway point of the race. He was able to rejoin the field but had to tag the rear of the field again.
They went back to green flag racing, but the green cloth was again replaced by the yellow cloth when John Carney got into one of the inside tractor tires and spun in turn two. There were 15 laps down and 15 to go when the green lights came back on with McFadden showing the way ahead of Gravel. David Gravel was staying close though and soon began to close the gap on the leader with each passing lap.
With 9 laps to go, the yellow lights were turned on again as Sam Hafertepe Jr. spun and backed into the turn 4 fence. It was McFadden leading Gravel, Schatz, Scelzi and Bayston with Carson running in 15th place. McFadden drove the #83 back into the lead as Donny Schatz and David Gravel were in a tremendous battle for the second spot behind him.
The laps were winding down and it was still McFadden ahead of Gravel who was coming quickly. The white flag was thrown with McFadden leading but Gravel was coming on strong around the top of the track with McFadden working the bottom line. On the last lap, in the last turn McFadden went low again as Gravel went high in the Big Game Motorsports #2 carrying his momentum down the frontstretch to narrowly beat McFadden to the finish line by a nose as they both raced around the lap car of Riley Goodno. Ten-time WoO champion Donny Schatz rounded out the podium with Giovanni coming home fourth and Cory Eliason fifth. What a finish in the final race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway as David Gravel will forever have his name etched in the record books as the last winner at the famed facility.
Carson and the team had a challenging night but salvaged a 14th place finish as they raced under the checkers in the Final Stampede at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. The team will now focus their attention and efforts to conclude the World of Outlaws season at the World Finals in Charlotte, North Carolina November 1-4.
The JJR #41 Salvages a 14th Place Finish After a Tough Night in the Sprint Car Stampede Finale at Devil’s Bowl Speedway! Photo Credit: Speedway Shots
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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.