GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA (June 2, 2023) – It is really hard to imagine the month of May is already behind us as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series teams turn their attention forward where they have 11 scheduled competition dates throughout the 30 calendar days of June. After earning a runner-up finish at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Memorial Day, Carson Macedo and the JJR #41 team headed back to the shop in Rocky Mount, Missouri to prepare for this weekend’s racing action at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota and their inaugural visit to Ogilvie Raceway in Minnesota. Nathan Repetz safely trucked the 833 miles to the track that sits on the northern end of Grand Forks in the team’s smooth operating black Border International. When they pulled into their pit stall they were surrounded by a total of 29 race teams ready to entertain the fans from The Peace Garden State and Canada in the Gerdau Presents the First Leg of the Northern Tour event. There was no snow, thankfully, but North Dakota does hold the Guinness World Record for the most snow angels made simultaneously in one place and is also home to River Cities Speedway’s quarter mile, high-banked speed plant. Maybe the winner at the end of the night should celebrate by making a snow angel in the dirt to recognize this accomplishment.
After each driver got some heat in their engines and a few practice laps at speed, it was time for Low-E Insulation Qualifying at River Cities Speedway. The time trial order was set and the drivers knew when it was their turn to take a shot against the clock. The track record here was set back on August 21, 2009, by former WoO Champion Jason Meyers from Meyers Constructors at 9.269 seconds. A high water mark to reach for sure, but that was the time everyone was shooting for in time trials. Carson Macedo would be the sixth driver to get up to speed around River Cities for his two time trial laps aboard the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Wilwood Racing/WELD Racing #41 Maxim. Carson was waiting patiently in the staging lane located over the banking in turns three and four ready to go. When Noah Gass finished his timed laps, Carson mashed the loud pedal and had his elbows high with his Hoosier Racing Tires digging into the moist track surface propelling him forward. He build up speed and navigated under the green flag and through the first set of turns. Just like that the talented athlete was exiting the first set of turns and heading to the next set towards the waving white flag. When he crossed the timing stripe to end lap one, he clocked in at 10.402 seconds, which catapulted him to the top of the speed charts. Carson stayed on the loud pedal and was trying to work some more of his magic inside the cockpit of his Maxim Racing machine. His Kistler Engines power was roaring as he rushed under the waving checkered flag, this time stopping the clock with a slightly slower lap coming in at 10.555 seconds. The faster of his two circuits kept him at the top of the speed charts as he collected his WoO series leading 8th Simpson Quick Time Award.
The lineups were quickly tabulated and posted for each of the three 10-lap heat races to determine which two drivers would go on to the Toyota Dash, who would lock into the remaining four transfer spots to the feature event, and which drivers would have to work hard to get in the feature through the Last Chance Showdown (LCS). When scanning the lineups, the speedster from Lemoore, California would line the High Performance Lubricants/Team Jack Foundation/ISC Racers Tape/AutoMeter #41 on the inside of the front row with fellow Californian Brad Sweet flanking him on his right side in the Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) NAPA Auto Parts #49. Spencer Bayston and Jacob Allen were rolling right behind them in row two with Sheldon Haudenschild, Mark Dobmeier, Robbie Price, Zach Omdahl, Cody Ihlen, and Josh Swangler completing the starting grid. The field of competitors rolled slowly into turn three and blasted off turn four when they saw the green cloth flying in the air. It was madness with a smile sprint car style at River Cities Speedway as they entered turn one at speed with Macedo leading Sweet and Bayston. Carson was in the top spot when the first lap ended and had the Albaugh #41 hustling around the top side against the thin developing cushion. By that halfway point of the race it was all Carson Macedo with Brad Sweet comfortably behind in second place. But behind the front two there was an entertaining battle for the third spot heating up between Bayston. Allen and Haudenschild. These three thrill seekers were battling and putting on a show that kept people away from the hot dog and concession stands. When the checkered flag flew, Spencer Bayston would lock down the third spot with Jacob Allen coming home fourth, Sheldon Haudenschild fifth, and Mark Dobmeier locking down the final transfer spot. Carson Macedo picked up his 15th heat race win of the year with Brad Sweet coming across the finish line right behind him.
The six drivers you were eligible for the 8-lap Toyota Dash traipsed over to the frontstretch to pull a pill for their starting position. Carson would be the first driver to pull and he picked the biggest number possible, the six pill, which meant he would start on the outside of the third row aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Smith Titanium/Vortex Racing Products #41 Maxim for the start of the race. Logan Schuchart would line up inside Carson in row three as they paced behind front row starters Brad Sweet and David Gravel and row two drivers James McFadden and Giovanni Scelzi. The green flag dropped and David Gravel drove into the lead over Brad Sweet and Giovanni Scelzi. Carson was running in the spot he started in and on lap two made his way by Schuchart into the fifth position. Schuchart would roll back past him as the laps were winding down. David Gravel legged it out for the win over Sweet and Scelzi with McFadden, Schuchart and Macedo completing the finishing order.
The air horn sounded throughout the pit area indicating to the teams to finish up their last minute work and get their cars to the track for the start of the 40-lap NOS Energy Drink First Leg of the Northern Tour feature at River Cities Speedway. There were 24 drivers who earned a starting spot on the grid ready to compete for the $10,000 winner’s check. David Gravel and Brad Sweet would lead the powerful field of competitors to the green flag, but not until after a yellow flag was thrown to clean up debris (a setup block) from turn three.
They were side by side when the yellow lights were turned off and David Gravel was on the gas as he brought them to the green flag leading the opening lap over Brad Sweet. Carson Macedo went to work quickly and drove the Tarlton and Son/Meyers Constructors/Factory Kahne (FK) Shocks #41 into the third spot in the running order. After they had the opening lap in the books though the first of many cautions on the night would fly and slow the field. This one was for Blake Egeland’s #26 who went up and over the banking in turn 4.
It was Gravel, Sweet and Macedo with James McFadden and Logan Schuchart coming back to the green flag. Brad Sweet took the lead from Gravel as McFadden worked his way by Macedo for position. It didn’t take too long before the yellow flag was back out on lap 3, this time for ninth running Spencer Bayston who also got up over the banking in turn four to slow the action.
With 37 laps to go, Sweet brought the field down the frontstretch and under the green flag ahead of Gravel, McFadden and Macedo. Before they could get into their high speed cadence and rhythm the yellow flag was again back out on lap 5 for Jade Hasting’s #8H who slowed to a stop on the backstretch. Hastings went to the work area and rejoined the field.
When they tried to restart the race they were unsuccessful as the green quickly went red when Noah Gass and Brock Zearfoss made contact off two setting off a six car melee with the Grand Forks, North Dakota duo of Jade Hastings and Jordan Graham getting the crappy end of the sick as they both flipped. Robbie Price and Nick Omdahl were also involved but were able to continue.
It would be a single file restart with Sweet racing back to the green flag with a field of hungry racers behind him. By lap 7, the leader had already tracked down the back of the field and was ready to begin his high speed chase through the maze of cars. The top line of the track was the dominant one so the drivers had to choose wisely, but not take too long to make a decision or they would get passed. That happen as David Gravel worked his way into the lead passing Sweet with James McFadden racing by both of them into the lead as he worked the high side as they rolled the bottom side of the track.
It was now McFadden, Gravel and Sweet with Carson Macedo right behind. Macedo raced by Sweet into the show position with the Albaugh #41 as the top five were now running nose-to-tail on lap 12. These entertainers were putting on a show at speed. That show was again interrupted by the yellow flag on lap 16 when the #11M of Brendan Mullen dropped over the banking off the backstretch. The running order under yellow flag conditions was James McFadden leading David Gravel, Carson Macedo, Giovanni Scelzi and Brad Sweet.
Back to green, McFadden maintained his lead over Gravel and Macedo and was setting a fast race pace in the dominant top lane. But, by lap 18 the yellow flag came back out as Mark Dobmeier was now over the banking in turn four. At this point the flagman probably decided to just hold onto the yellow flag versus putting it back into the rack. James McFadden still led Gravel and Macedo with Giovanni Scelzi and Brad Sweet rounding out the top five with Logan Schuchart in sixth.
They restarted with 22 laps to go with McFadden, Gravel and Macedo rolling the top side at speed putting some distance between themselves and fourth running Scelzi. The action was heating up behind them as Logan Schuchart moved by both Sweet and Scelzi into fourth before Sweet wrestled his way back by Schuchart. It was a high speed entertainment at its best! The fans were on the edge of their seat watching their favorite driver race for position throughout the field. But things were too good to be true as the yellow flag was back out on lap 26 for Fargo, North Dakota’s own Tim Estenson who was over the banking on the backstretch at this 1/4-mile bullring.
The field was set and they were back up to speed under green flag racing conditions with McFadden showing the way ahead of Gravel and Macedo. The racing was fast and furious and just about to get interesting again when the, you guessed it, yellow flag was back out again. This time it was out for Tim Estenson again who spun off turn four after no contact which sent him pit side.
With 12 laps to go, James McFadden in the Roth Motorsports #83 got the field back up to speed with David Gravel’s Big Game Motorsports #2 and Carson Macedo’s Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 right behind. The track was starting to take on rubber and the shifty Brad Sweet found it first and used it to his advantage as he raced by Macedo into the third spot. McFadden was still working the top with David Gravel closing the gap with each passing lap. With four laps to go, the feisty David Gravel found the rubber and drove underneath McFadden to retake the lead. Gravel would not look back as he raced to his fifth win of the season over McFadden with Sweet rounding out the podium. Carson came home fourth with Logan Schuchart rounding out the top five. Another good run for Macedo and the forty-one!
Hustling the High Banks at River Cities Speedway Results in a Fourth Place Finish! Photo Credit: Trent Gower Photography
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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.