BARBERVILLE, FLORIDA (February 10, 2024) – As the old adage reminds us, “Tough times never last, tough people do.” That certain applies to Philip, Carson and the entire JJR team. The first three nights had proven to be challenging. The team was doing everything they could to do preparation wise to give Carson the best equipment possible each night and Carson was driving his heart out. But the performance results and outcomes were not reflective of the hard work and effort they were putting in to produce the JJR standard of excellence or even expectations. They were back at the Volusia Speedway Park on Saturday night for the championship finale at the 53rd Annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. There were 45 cars registered on this night to see if they could compete for the $20,000 winner’s payday. It was race day in Florida!
Carson would be the 16th driver out in Flight 2 for his two laps in Sea Foam Qualifying. When it was his turn to produce speed, the Lemoore, California racer would take to the track with Reese Nowotarski in the Specialty Riggings #10x based out of Pennsylvania. The sharp black, green and white Albaugh – Your Alternative/CASM Safety Products/Xtreme Body and Paint #41 Maxim rolled down the pit lane with the Kistler Engines power ready to work. He jumped on the accelerator and took the green flag to race around the half mile oval against the clock. His first lap was recorded in 13.709 seconds.
Carson stayed on the hammer and was searching for something, anything to reduce the number on the clock. The second lap was consistent, but slightly slower, at 13.757 seconds. The better of his two laps was good enough for only 13th quick in Flight #2. Brian Brown in the FVP #21 ran the fastest lap in Flight 2 at 13.275 seconds. But Brent Marks secured his second Simpson Quick Time Award of the week out of Flight 1 with an even faster lap of 13.223 seconds.
When the lineups for the four 8-lap heat races were posted, Carson would be in the third heat race where he would start from the seventh position aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/BMRS/Motor State Distributing #41. Carson would roll into his starting position in row four beside Creed Kemenah. Brian Brown and Rico Abreu sat on the front row followed by Brad Sweet and Tyler Courtney in row two. In row three was Danny Dietrich and Spencer Bayston with Ryan Harrison, Reese Nowotarski, and Brendan Mullen filing in rows five and six.
The yellow lights dimmed and the electricity rushed to the green lights to illuminate them. The engines roared and the race was on to see who could gain the five transfer spots to the feature from this heat race. Rico Abreu blasted into the lead as Brad Sweet maneuvered the NAPA Auto Parts #49 into the runner-up position ahead of Tyler Courtney and Brian Brown. Carson was racing from the seventh position early on but was closing in on Danny Dietrich in the race for the sixth spot. Dietrich was holding him off, but the determined driver of the forty-one was not relenting. With one lap to go, Carson was right there to make the pass and got by for the position as Dietrich slowed with a mechanical issue. Carson came home sixth, one spot short of transferring, as Abreu collected the win ahead of Sweet, Courtney, Brown and Bayston.
Missing out on an automatic transfer forced the Carson and the JJR #41 team to compete for a spot in the 12-lap Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown. Carson was slated to start from the fourth position, but when Sam Hafertepe Jr. scratched for the night the Scott Boyd Family/Vortex Racing Products/Jansen Transportation #41 Maxim moved to the inside of row two where he shared the row with Brock Zearfoss. The duo in row two paced behind Danny Dietrich and Kasey Kahne who occupied the front row. Danny Sams III and Jacob Allen were in row three with Brendan Mullen, Justin Whittall, Chris Martin, Austin McCarl, Ryan Harrison, Ryan Timms, Bill Rose, Kraig Kinser, and Creed Kemenah behind them all vying for one of the four coveted spots available to move onto the feature.
The green flag waved over the Last Chance Showdown with Kasey Kahne catapulting into the lead in the KKR #9 ahead of Zearfoss, Dietrich, and Macedo at the end of the first lap. Carson was moving in the forty-one and raced by Danny Dietrich off turn two and was closing in on Brock Zearfoss as they approached turn three. Zearfoss though had mechanical issues and slowed up in turn three to bring out the yellow flag.
They went back to green with Kasey Kahne showing the way ahead of Dietrich and Macedo who were still battling for track position. Carson was searching for speed on the high side with Dietrich running low. Entering turn one Macedo dove low to try to get under him, but the driver of the Sandoe’s Fruit Market/Weikert’s Livestock #48 held the position. The battle would continue lap after lap and when the white flag flew Carson was right there. Kasey Kahne had checked into another zip code at the front of the pack and took the LCS victory with Danny Dietrich beating Carson to the line by 0.099 seconds to secure the runner-up spot with the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 coming home third. Danny Sams III came home fourth to claim the final transfer spot to the feature.
There has been a lot of racing this week that started back on Wednesday night, but it would finish up with the $20,000-to-win 53rd Annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals championship night 30-lap NOS Energy Drink feature. The cars were making their way out on to the track as the capacity crowd at Volusia Speedway Park waited to be entertained by this talented field of drivers. Carson would have a lot of work to do again as he would be starting way back in the row twelve from the 23rd starting position with Danny Sams III to his outside.
At the front of the field it was an East versus West dichotomy in the front four rows with Fresno, California’s Giovanni Scelzi and Dillsburg, Pennsylvania’s Anthony Macri on the front row. Wooster, Ohio’s Sheldon Haudenschild and Penngrove, California’s Buddy Kofoid were in row two. St. Helena, California’s Rico Abreu and Myerstown, Pennsylvania’s Brent Marks were side-by-side in row three. And, Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel and Grass Valley, California’s Brad Sweet were situated beside each other in row four. It was time to battle it out at Volusia Speedway Park!
It was Giovanni Scelzi racing into the lead at the start ahead of Macri, Kofoid, and Haudenschild with Brad Sweet moving into fifth and pressuring Haudenschild for his spot on the track. Carson was moving forward too as he moved up six positions during the first lap and was running in 17th place in the Border International/RaceDiecast.com/ISC Racers Tape #41 Maxim. The Lemoore, California native wasn’t done as he was chasing down Brian Brown to get within striking distance for the 16th spot on the track. Carson would move by the Casey’s General Stores #21 on the ninth lap and was looking for more.
Up front it was Sheldon Haudenschild on the move as he held off Sweet and made the pass on Buddy Kofoid to take over the show position when the yellow came out on lap 10 for 12th running Corey Day who spun to a stop in turn four in the Sander Engineering #14. Giovanni Scelzi was leading Macri, Haudenschild, Kofoid and Sweet when they came back to the green flag with 20 laps to go. Green flag racing was short-lived because the yellow was immediately displayed again as rookie Landon Crawley shredded the right rear tire on the Sides Motorsports #7s and headed to the work area.
On the next restart, Anthony Macri bolted into the lead ahead of Scelzi as Carson picked up another two spots as he drove the Tarlton and Son #41 into the 14th position. Macri was leading Kofoid, Scelzi, Haudenschild and Sweet at the halfway point of the race but things were getting interesting as the navigated through slower traffic. Carson had picked up another position on the track as he was now running in 13th place.
On lap 24 it was Sheldon Haudenschild in the NOS Energy Drink #17 coming to life as he drove into the lead overtaking Anthony Macri using a clean slider off turn four. He had his elbows up and would not be denied as he led the remaining distance to collect the win ahead of Anthony Macri with Brad Sweet rounding out the podium. Giovanni Scelzi came home fourth with Buddy Kofoid rounding out the top five. David Gravel came home sixth as his consistency earned him the big gator trophy as the top point driver over the course of all four nights.
Carson was scored with a 14th place finish to end the 53rd Annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. As a result he earned his second KSE Hard Charger Award of the week, but he and the team wanted more. They will head back to Rocky Mount, Missouri to work hard and make the necessary adjustments in an effort to put on a better performance in early march when they return to Volusia Speedway Park for the two-night Bike Week Jamboree on March 3 and 4.
Another Run Forward Nets Another KSE Hard Charger Award at the DIRTcar Nationals! Photo Credit: Cameron Saich – CS Productions
JJR’s Valued Sponsorship Partners: Albaugh, LLC; Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT); Border International; Scott Boyd Family; Saich Family; Tarlton and Son Inc.; Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions; Durst Inc.; High Performance Lubricants, LLC; Kistler Racing Engines; Maxim Racing; Sander Engineering; Bandy & Associates Accountancy Corporation; Boltz Family; Pro Powder Coating (PPC); RaceDiecast.com; Team Jack Foundation; Mark Burch Motorsports; T-FAB Custom Metal Fabrication; Xtreme Body and Paint; All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads; AutoMeter; Bell Helmets; Ben Cook Race Car Products; BlackBeard LTD; BMRS (Brown & Miller Racing Solutions); BR Motorsports; Buckwalter Trucking; CASM Safety Products; C&R Racing; ChalkStix; Crow Enterprizes; CS Productions; Engler Machine & Tool, Inc.; Factory Kahne (FK Shocks); Fibreworks Composites; FK Rod Ends; Fuel Safe Racing Cells; Greber Racing Components; Hoosier Racing Tire; Indy Performance Composites (IPC); ISC Racers Tape; Jansen Transportation; K1 Race Gear; KSE Racing Products; LogoDaddy; Motor State Distributing; Mr. Jim’s Racing; Premium Coach Group; Saldana Racing Products; Sam I Am; Schoenfeld Headers; Smith TI; Vortex Racing Products; Walker Performance Filtration; Wilwood Racing; and Winters Performance Products.
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.