JACKSON, MINNESOTA (August 19, 2023) – After two nights of competitive racing action at the Jackson Motorplex that saw Carson record a fourth place finish on Thursday night and following it up with a third place run on Friday night, the Lemoore, California native and the JJR #41 team were locked in for the King of the Hill Challenge and championship finale at the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals. The five drivers locked-in on Saturday night by accumulating the most points combining the first two nights were: (1) James McFadden – Roth Motorsports #83 (874 Points); (2) Carson Macedo – Jason Johnson Racing #41 (867 Points); (3) Giovanni Scelzi – KCP Racing #18 (861 Points); (4) Donny Schatz – Tony Stewart Racing #15 (849 Points); and, (5) Buddy Kofoid – Roth Motorsports #83jr (847 Points). That meant that some of the best in the sprint car business were still in this small town ready to put on a show for the fans in the stands, as well as those that could not attend and were tuned into DIRTVision, as they tried to secure one of the remaining 20 positions left in the field in heat race action.
The Jackson Nationals may not be the highest paying race on the schedule, but it certainly carries the weight of being a marquee sprint car event. The leadership team at Jackson Motorplex works extremely hard to make sure they give the racers and fans every opportunity for a great experience. And they do just that year-in and year-out as they showcase their focus, determination and drive for excellence in all that they do to put on a terrific event. For the final night of this race, the infield pit area was again filled with 40 driven teams hoping to win this race and collect the $25,000 that goes to the winner. But make no mistake about it . . . they also wanted to also add their name as an exclusive winner of the Jackson Nationals.
The format for championship night would be different as there would not be any time trials. There would be three Qualifier races where the top five finishers would advance to the A-Main with the last four spots in the feature field being filled by the top four in the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown (LCS). Plus, the top five drivers who had locked themselves in based on points after the first two nights would be joined by each of the Qualifier race winners in the King of the Hill Challenge races. The Qualifier races were the first thing on the agenda and the winners were Brad Sweet, Tanner Holmes, and Justin Sanders with Lachlan McHugh winning the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.
The King of the Hill Challenge is a unique way two determine starting spots in the first four rows of the feature for the top eight drivers. There would be multiple rounds with two drivers trying to outpace the other. The driver with the quicker lap time would advance forward to take on the next driver. The results were as follows:
Round #1: Pitted Tanner Holmes in the Shark Racing #1T against Justin Sanders in the Macri Motorsports #39M. Sanders would advance forward by a small margin with a lap of 13.782 seconds that was slightly quicker than Holmes lap of 13.789 seconds. Tanner Holmes would start eighth.
Round #2: Justin Sanders would than take on Brad Sweet in the Kasey Kahne Racing #49. Brad Sweet was determined in the NAPA Auto Parts #49 and out timed Sanders with an impressive lap of 13.353 seconds. Justin Sanders would start seventh.
Round #3: Brad Sweet is a tenacious competitor and advanced forward to take on Buddy Kofoid in the Roth Motorsports #83jr the next round. He was here to do business and executed his plan as he outraced Kofoid on the clock with another good lap at 13.576 second. Buddy Kofoid would start sixth.
Round #4: Brad Sweet was fast and the 4-time World of Outlaws champion would now take on the 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz in the Tony Stewart Racing #15. Sweet again hustled the KKR #49 around Jackson Motorplex to advance on again. Donny Schatz would start fifth.
Round #5: Was Brad Sweet done yet? If so it would have to be fellow Californian Giovanni Scelzi who eliminated him in his KCP Racing #18. The green was out and Sweet’s streak in the King of the Hill continued as his lap of 13.680 was quicker than Scelzi’s lap of 13.717 seconds to advance on. Giovanni Scelzi would start fourth.
Round #6: Awaiting Sweet in the next round was Carson Macedo in the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/WELD Racing #41 Maxim. Carson knew what he was up against and stood on the gas pedal to get his hotrod up to speed working his way to the flagstand. When he arrived the flagman as displaying the green cloth as the numbers on the stopwatch started to roll by . . . quickly. Carson ran a lap of 13.597 seconds, which was quicker than Sweet’s lap of 13.750 moving Macedo on to the Pole Shuffle in the King of the Hill Challenge. Brad Sweet would start third.
Round #7: Red hot James McFadden who swept both of the preliminary night features was waiting with baited breath in the final round to see who would start on the pole. Would it be the formidable speedster from Australia or the determined racer from California? The engines were fired and the talented racers were ready to go. The green was out and the stopwatch would start clicking by when each of them triggered the timing stripe. Carson’s Kistler Engines power was generating the power needed to create more speed as Carson was doing his job to corral that speed and turn it into forward momentum. But McFadden was just fast too on this night as he ran the quickest lap gaining the pole position for the feature. Carson Macedo would start second in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41.
The starting grid was set for the $25,000-to-win 35-lap 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals feature finale to see who would collect the largest share of the purse while ending their weekend in Minnesota on a high note. Carson was slated to start the race from the outside of row one from the second starting spot in the Liquid Trucking/AutoMeter/Team Jack Foundation #41 Maxim. He would be joined in that row by James McFadden with Brad Sweet and Giovani Scelzi right behind. The feature field was loaded with an incredibly talented list of names as each drover wanted to make their mark in Minnesota.
The field of powerful and mean sprint cars paced around the track as the driver’s finalized their early race strategies. The drivers received the signal to show the fans the most awesome sight in motorsports – the Whiskey Myers four-wide salute at the Jackson Nationals – before bunching back up as they prepared for green flag racing action. As the remnants of smoke cleared from the pre-race fireworks, the leaders exited turn four as they exploded down the frontstretch in a race into turn one with the remainder of the field chasing them. Before a lap could be completed though the red flag was thrown for Brooke Tatnell who flipped in turn one after making contact with Sam Hafertepe Jr.
It would be a complete restarts with McFadden and Macedo bringing the field back up to speed. The front two drovers raced side-by-side down the frontstretch and through the first set of turns. James McFadden led the opening lap as he raced in front of Carson Macedo and Giovanni Scelzi.
James McFadden was using the clean air and his Toyota power to set the pace. Carson was hard at work in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 racing in the runner-up spot pacing the leader. McFadden was fast so it did not take him long to catch the rear of the field. By lap 8, he began navigating lap traffic allowing Macedo in the JJR #41 to start closing the gap that had been created.
On lap 11, McFadden was still leading Macedo and Scelzi but the top three were nose-to-tail. The race leader was stuck behind fellow Australian racer Lachlan McHugh. The racing up front was getting more exciting fast and furious. Brad Sweet was closing in on Giovanni Scelzi’s KCP Racing #18 and the top four in the running order were all relatively close on the track. Brad Sweet would move into the show position on lap 15 as he made his way by Scelzi. Meanwhile, also on lap 15, fifth running Buddy Kofoid quietly retired to the infield pit area with mechanical issues as the race continued.
At the halfway point of the race it was McFadden showing the way over Macedo, Sweet, Scelzi and Schatz. With 25 laps in the books, the competition between McFadden, Macedo and Sweet was getting exciting in the race for the lead. Carson was right on the rear nerf bar of the race leader with Sweet patiently stalking at speed.
On lap 26, Carson turned his flame designed Maxim Racing hotrod underneath McFadden off turn two as they drag raced down to turn three. Macedo used his Kistler Engines power to drive arrive first as he took the lead from McFadden entering turn three. Carson did not waste any time using his power to extend his lead building a 1.3 second lead over McFadden in the runner-up spot over the next three laps.
That gap was eliminated on lap 30 when the yellow flag was displayed for Ian Madsen who slowed to a stop with engine issues in turn two. When the field came back to the green flag it would be Carson Macedo leading in the Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions #41 followed by James McFadden, Brad Sweet, Giovanni Scelzi and Donny Schatz.
With 5 laps to go it was about to get interesting, and dare I say exciting, all at once. It would be a single file restart with Carson Macedo at the front of the field. When he exited turn four he floored it as roared by the flagstand. She entered turn one low with McFadden following suit. Brad Sweet though went where they did not as he blasted around the high line to move by McFadden into the runner-up position. Sweet repeated that line and move in the last set of turns to get side-by side with Carson for the lead. The two California based drivers drag raced down the front stretch with Macedo on the inside and Sweet on the outside. When they raced by the flagstand Sweet was officially scored as the leader of lap 31.
Carson slid Sweet in turn one to retake the lead as he led laps 32 and 33. But the talented and relentless Brad Sweet was not going anywhere. He was right there and seized the opportunity to pass Macedo for the lead on lap 34 as the two racers took the white flag. Carson powered off turn four on the bottom and raced back underneath Sweet on the entry of turn one. The defending Jackson Nationals champion made the last lap pass to regain the lead. Macedo exited turn two with Sweet in chase mode. Carson slid himself in the last set of turns and when he brought the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 off turn four he raced under the checkered flag to take the win at the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals to defend his title and earn the $25,000 winner’s share of the purse. Brad Sweet came home second with Donny Schatz rounding out the podium. James McFadden finished fourth with Giovanni Scelzi completing the top five.
What a final last five laps! That is why sprint car racing is unmatched. After clearing the scales and being congratulated by Clyde Knipp as he took his helmet off in victory lane, Carson climbed up and celebrated the win amongst the falling confetti. With the crowd cheering, he made his way around to meet with Chase Raudman where the back-to-back Jackson Nationals winner smiled and paused and shared, “I have the utmost respect for Brad Sweet. He is an unbelievable race car driver, so to duel with him there at the end like that is pretty cool.” He continued to beam explaining, “I am just super thankful for this Albaugh #41 team. Philip Dietz is unreal. To win this race back-to-back is pretty special. I feel like Phil has an extremely good package, good car here. And, Clyde Knipp and Nate Repetz, they are the hardest workers out here on the tour. They grind it out every day. They do an incredible job, so I am happy to reward them with a win. Just hats off to this Jason Johnson Racing team.” That is the eighth overall win in 2023 for Carson Macedo and the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41 team. A testament to teamwork. Another great run for Macedo and the forty-one!
A Last Lap Pass Secured An Exciting Win in the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals for Carson Macedo and the JJR #41 Team As They Go Back-to-Back! Photo Credit: Trent Gower Photography
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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.