WEEDSPORT, NEW YORK (July 30, 2023) – After rained washed out the first night of the Empire State Challenge on Saturday night at Weedsport Speedway, Carson Macedo and the JJR #41 crew were wide eyed and ready to go on a much nicer day with mild temperatures and a bright Sunday morning in New York. This unique shaped 3/8-mile, D-shaped racing oval requires some different things from a setup perspective as well as behind the wheel. When the two closely align it typically results in the car being fast and competitive. The team was busy preparing the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 for their driver as the stakes were raised a little bit higher with $20,000 on the line for the winner of the finale. After completing their work, they rolled their Maxim Racing machine back into the hauler and headed towards the track making the turn off Towpath Road into the speedway. After registering to race along with 34 teams, Carson and the JJR #41 crew were ready to race for the final time this season in their only visit to the great state of New York with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
Each team and driver would get to test out the track and their setup for the night in hot laps before heading out for two laps in Low-E Insulation Qualifying. The qualifying order for time trials, which is determined by the luck of the draw each night, is usually pretty important at this track with an earlier slot typically raising your odds of setting a good time. But no matter what situation they are presented each driver has to make the most of what they are afforded when they get to turn laps. Carson would be the 12th driver to hit the track’s surface aboard the Tarlton and Son/Meyers Constructors/Bandy and Associates #41 Maxim as he rolled onto the speedway from the push off lane located off of turn four. He mashed the gas and took the green as he kicked the dust up through the first set of turns. He hustled his way through turns three and four and raced as fast as he could towards the waving white flag. The stopwatch recorded his first lap in 13.639 seconds, but he had no idea how good of a lap it was so he just kept trucking Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) style. He meticulously hit his marks on lap two hoping his efforts would be rewarded with a better time the second go ‘round. When the timing and scoring officials looked down and read the numbers they indicated a lap of 13.479 seconds. The better of his two laps around Weedsport was good enough his 13th Simpson Quick Time Award of the 2023 season.
The starting positions for each of the four 8-lap heat races is set based on each driver’s best lap in time trials. When the lineups were completed, Carson found himself on the inside of the front row in the first heat race. He would get started beside James McFadden in the Roth Motorsports #83. Sheldon Haudenschild lined up in third with Joe Trenca to his outside. Jacob Dykstra, Logan Schuchart, Dave Axton, Jordan Thomas, and Chase Moran filled in the remainder of the starting lineup.
The starting lineup was set as each of the drivers peered through the shields of their helmets to see the one-to-go sign as they passed by the flag stand. The yellow lights were off as they paced towards the chalk stripe in turn four. When the front row starters arrived they accelerated and were off to the races. Carson Macedo led the field into turn one followed by James McFadden and Sheldon Haudenschild. All of the drivers were trying to make the most of their early race opportunities before the field started to spread out. Haudenschild was on the move and worked his way by McFadden for second spot in the running order.
Carson led the first six laps but Sheldon Haudenschild was coming fast working the top line in turns one and two and dropping down to the bottom through turns three and four. On lap 7, Haudenschild made the pass on Macedo for the lead on lap seven and led the remainder of the way. Carson came home second ahead of McFadden and Logan Schuchart with Joe Trenca locking down the fifth and final transfer position.
Carson made his way into his 32nd Toyota Dash where by the luck of the draw he would get started in the seventh position beside Sheldon Haudenschild. Danny Varin and Brad Sweet were in row one ahead of Brock Zearfoss and David Gravel. Donny Schatz and Giovanni Scelzi were side-by side in row three.
The green flag was out and Varin was the quickest to the accelerator taking the lead over Sweet with Gravel and Zearfoss his chase mode. Carson was running in the seventh spot early as Schatz and Scelzi battled for position in front of him. Danny Varin was still leading at the front of the pack with Sweet and Gravel hunting behind him. With the white flag waving Macedo made his way by Scelzi for the sixth spot. Danny Varin raced to the win over Sweet and Gravel with Zearfoss, Schatz, Macedo and Scelzi with Haudenschild coming home eighth.
The 24 car starting field was set and ready to race in the 25-lap NOS Energy Drink Empire State Challenge feature at Weedsport Speedway. The grandstands were packed. The fueled cells were filled with methanol. It was time to go racing at Weedsport Speedway NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws style!
Carson Macedo would get the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Liquid Trucking/Team Jack Foundation #41 Maxim going from the sixth starting position beside Donny Schatz in row three. They would pace behind Danny Varin and Brad Sweet in row one and David Gravel and Brock Zearfoss in row two as these athletes and speed enthusiasts prepared to put on an exciting show for the fans in New York.
When the green flag dropped it was Danny Varin driving into the top spot over David Gravel who drove into the runner-up position by Brad Sweet by the time the first lap was in the books. Carson was up on the wheel of the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 running in the fourth spot and looking to advance forward. Gravel was patiently working the low line and wrestled the lead away from Varin.
On lap 5, the first yellow flag was thrown with Gravel leading Varin, Sweet, Macedo and Schatz. When they went back to green Gravel hustled back into the lead as Macedo raced into the third position. Sheldon Haudenschild was on the move and so was Donny Schatz. They both moved by Brad Sweet in the NAPA Auto Parts #49. It was Gravel, Varin, Macedo, Haudenschild and Schatz in the top five.
On lap 10, Carson moved the Albaugh #41 into the runner-up position as he moved by Varin. Gravel was setting a quick pace at the front of the pack and quickly approaching lap traffic. Carson was able to keep the pace up as Haudenschild and Schatz also moved by Varin for track position.
On lap 19, the yellow flag was waving again this time for Spencer Bayston who had a flat right rear tire. David Gravel was in command in the top spot with Carson Macedo right behind followed by Haudenschild, Schatz, Sweet and Scelzi. With 16 laps to go, the green flag was back out and Gravel drove back into the top of the leader board with Carson trying his best to make it a contest. Just behind them though, fourth running Donny Schatz got into the back of Sheldon Haudenschild stacking up the field behind him and bringing the yellow flag out again.
The next restart would be single file and Gravel drove the Big Game Motorsports #2 back to the green flag with Carson behind him in the Tarlton and Son #41. Sheldon Haudenschild was in third followed by Brad Sweet and Giovanni Scelzi.
With 10 laps to go, the final yellow flag was thrown for third running Sheldon Haudenschild who headed pit side with mechanical issues. David Gravel stayed in control of the lead followed by Macedo, Sweet and twelfth starting Dave Blaney with Giovanni Scelzi rounding out the top five. Gravel would not be denied as he raced to the win over Macedo and Blaney who rounded out the podium with Brad Sweet and Giovanni Scelzi completing the top five.
Another Good Run for the Forty-One in the State of New York with a Runner-Up Finish in the Empire State Challenge! Photo Credit: CS Productions – Cameron Saich
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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.