BURLINGTON, WASHINGTON (August 31, 2023) – For the first time in 2023, Carson Macedo and the World of Outlaws (WoO) NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competitors made the almost 1,500 mile trek across the country to the West Coast to compete in the three-day Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals at Skagit Speedway. This 3/10-mile racetrack, situated in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by majestic trees which makes for one of the most beautiful backdrops the sport has to offer. The WoO traveling competitors are usually joined at this event by not only by the local racers from the state, but also some of the talented speed stars from California. The level of competition when combined with the great racing facility make the Skagit Nationals an exception event on the schedule. On Thursday night, there were 34 competitors lining the pit area ready to put on a show in The Evergreen State, the 42nd state to enter the Union, that picked up its’ nickname from the abundant evergreen forests.
After each driver had a chance to complete some hot laps on the track, it was time for Low-E Insulation Qualifying. The time trial order was determined by random draw, which meant Carson Macedo would head out 32nd after drawing a high numbered pill aboard the Albaugh – Your Alternative/AutoMeter/WELD Racing #41 Maxim. He would have two laps to lay down his best lap against the clock. When the official waved him onto the track from the infield his Kistler Engines power fired and he stomped on the loud pedal to make speed en route to the waving green flag. With his elbows up he made his way through the first set of turns and hustled down the backstretch into turn three. When he exited turn four he was digging towards the flagstand and stopped the clock on his first attempt in 11.132 seconds. He never lifted to keep his speed moving in the right direction on lap two as he was hunting for tenths, or even hundredths of a second, the next time around. He tried his best but did not find any when he raced under the checkered flag to end his session his lap two time came in at 11.362 seconds. His fastest lap was good enough though for 7th quick out of 34 when qualifying was completed. Tanner Holmes, who went out for his two laps third, set quick time at 11.023 seconds to earn the Simpson Quick Time Award.
World of Outlaws Timing & Scoring officials quickly went to work to arrange the starting lineups for the four 8-lap heat races based on each driver’s best time trial lap. When the lineups were posted each were laced with sprint car talent. After some quick track work, the heat races were ready to get started. Carson Macedo would line the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Vortex Racing Products/Pro Powder Coating (PPC) #41 on the outside of the front row with David Gravel in the Big Game Motorsports #2 sharing the row with him in the pole position. Logan Schuchart and Washingtonian Jason Solwold rolled into row two followed by Noah Gass, Greg Hamilton, Austen Wheatley and Cam Smith ready to go from their starting spots.
The field was two-by-two and nose-to-tail as they rolled slowly behind the Toyota Tundra pace truck awaiting the start with the sun beginning to set on the West Coast. The top two finishers in each heat race would advance into the dash with positions three through five earning the remaining transfer positions. It was go time to go racing at Skagit Speedway! The flagman unfurled the green flag enabling the front row starters to mash the accelerator off turn four.
David Gravel and Carson Macedo were wheel-to-wheel heading into turn one ahead of Jason Solwold, Logan Schuchart and Noah Gass. Carson used the high line and exited turn two in the top spot with Gravel right behind. He led lap one in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 over Gravel and Solwold. The track had character which made it technical, but it was still fast allowing the field to show off their speed.
At the halfway point of the race, Carson still was in command of the lead and had started to put a little distance between himself and Gravel’s #2 with 1.293 seconds separating the top two. Carson was on the gas and running clean laps. The two laps to go flag was displayed as the driver of the forty-one kept extending his lead over Gravel. Macedo would not be denied as he collected the heat race victory over Gravel by over two seconds as those two would head to the Toyota Dash. Jason Solwold came home third with Logan Schuchart and Noah Gass locking down the last two transfer positions available in the third heat race.
The top two finishers from each of the four heat races would head to victory lane to draw for their starting positions in the 6-lap Toyota Dash. The first driver to choose would be Tanner Homes in the Shark Racing #1T who selected the number one to start from the pole position. Donny Schatz was next and pulled the eight, which put the ten-time champion back on the outside of row four in the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) #15. Carson would be the third gambler to test his luck as he made his way into his 36th World of Outlaws dash in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/High Performance Lubricants/Wilwood Racing #41 Maxim this season. He headed up to meet with Chase Raudman and would pull the three pill to position the Albaugh #41 on the inside of row two. James McFadden was next and would start seventh beside Schatz. Spencer Bayston, in the TrueTimber #5, walked up and drew the five and would start from the inside of row three. California driver Giovanni Scelzi chose the two to join Tanner Holmes on the front row. David Gravel would start on the outside of row two after selected the four. The driver of the NAPA Auto Parts #49, Brad Sweet, would start from the sixth spot and the field was set.
The drivers only had six laps to make their moves as they headed to the green flag side-by-side. Polesitter Tanner Holmes protected the top position the start with Giovanni Scelzi in hot pursuit. David Gravel moved into third as Brad Sweet drove around the outside of Macedo’s JJR #41 to take over the fourth position. Carson settled into the fifth spot and was searching for where his car felt best. He was taking in information at that point so he could share with his team so they could make some adjustments for the feature. Meanwhile, Tanner Holmes still had his hands full at the front of the pack as Scelzi was on an all-out blitz. Holmes held him off to take the win with Scelzi coming home second followed by Gravel and Sweet. Carson brought the Tarlton and Son #41 home fifth with James McFadden Spencer Bayston and Donny Schatz completing the finishing order.
With qualifying and preliminary action in the rearview mirror, the 24 car field was set for the 30-lap opening night Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals feature event. The sun had already hid beyond the horizon, but the talented field of drivers were about to shine under a full moon overhead. They showed their appreciation to the fans in the stands as they went four-wide during the Whiskey Myers parade lap. What a sight. What a field. Carson would get the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Bandy & Associates/Crow Enterprizes #41 Maxim started from the fifth starting spot.
Each driver raced back into their starting position and were side-by-side as they followed the front row of Tanner Holmes and Giovanni Scelzi to the green flag off of turn four. It was Scelzi racing down the frontstretch with Holmes and Sweet stalking right behind entering the first set of turns. At the end of the first lap it was Scelzi, Holmes, Sweet, McFadden and Gravel with Macedo running in the sixth position.
On lap 6, Giovanni Scelzi was showing the way at the front of the pack and beginning to maneuver through lap traffic. He was fast, but behind him Brad Sweet and James McFadden were coming quick. The action was slowed four laps later when Giovanni Scelzi hit the frontstretch wall and careened off making contact with James McFadden who was ready to make the pass for the lead. The contact sent McFadden spinning to a stop.
The restart order with 20 laps to go would be Scelzi, Sweet, Holmes, Gravel and Macedo in fifth. They got back going under green flag conditions with the running order at the front staying the same. On lap 13 though the yellow flag came out and this one was for Carson who bicycled in turn four almost flipping and collects the Sanders Engineering #14 of Corey Day who was battling with Macedo for the fifth spot.
When Carson arrived in the Federated Car Care Work Zone Philip, Clyde and Nate along with some members from other team went to work to change the front axle as they were now on the clock. They had two minutes to get the work done. The seconds were ticking by and just in the nick of time they completed the work and were able to get Carson back out on the track.
Carson would tagged the rear of the field and have some work to do. The determined driver had 17 laps to improve his position Race leader Giovanni Scelzi brought the field back up to speed with point leader Brad Sweet chasing with a vengeance with Tanner Holmes running in third. Spencer Bayston made his way by David Gravel and was now running in the fourth spot. Carson quickly drove the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 into the top 20 and was eagerly looking for more.
The driver grabbing everyone’s attention though was 16th starting Sheldon Haudenschild in the NOS Energy Drink #17. He restarted in the tenth spot and was running in the top five with 10 laps to go. Carson had advanced up to the 18th position and still digging. By lap 25, Carson had gained two more positions and was now in 16th place. But Sheldon Haudenschild was still on the move as he raced into third by Tanner Holmes. He then made an aggressive and clean move into the runner-up position as he moved by Scelzi. He now had his sights set on Sweet in the lead.
Carson was on the hammer too trying to recover after his earlier incident. His number was now listed 15th on the scoreboard with 4 laps to go. At the front for the lead though it was an exciting Sweet and Haudenschild show. They were racing each other and mired in lap traffic. It was chaos to the average fan, but these professional athletes as they were making it look like a drive in the pack.
When the white flag waved, Haudenschild made the pass around Sweet to take the lead and collect the win. Giovanni Scelzi came home third with Tanner Holmes and Spencer Bayston rounding out the top five. Carson recovered and crossed under the checkered flag in the Albaugh #41 persevering to salvage and collect a 14th place finish. Carson and the JJR #41 crew will turn their attention to night two as they prepare for success on Friday back at Skagit Speedway for night two of the Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals.
A 14th Place Run to Start the Skagit Nationals for Carson Macedo After an Early Race Accident in Turn Four! Photo Credit: Jessica McIntyre
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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.