Carson Macedo (41) races under Donny Schatz Friday at Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway. (Mark Funderburk photo)
PEVELY, Mo. — The check was all but written in Brad Sweet’s name on Friday when Carson Macedo came out of nowhere, threw a slider and pulled off an all-time stunner to steal the win on the Night Before the Ironman.
After controlling the first 29 laps at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, Sweet appeared poised to complete a clean sweep of the evening and bank his third World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win of the season. The only problem is they don’t pay you for the first 29 laps, they only pay you for those final few feet at the checkered flag and that belonged to Macedo’s Jason Johnson Racing No. 41.
Capitalizing on bad positioning in lapped traffic, Macedo chopped the gap down from .753 seconds at the white flag to virtually nothing when he went full send into turn three and committed to clearing the three-time and defending series champion.
It was a move that electrified the crowd, sent social media into a frenzy, amped up the No. 41 camp and rejected the No. 49 teams.
“There was a little bit of luck involved there,” Macedo acknowledged. “I saw him get caught up and then spin the tires down the backstretch and I knew there wasn’t much grip up top where he was pointed. I had been doing it for much of the race where I ran into turn three as hard as I possibly could to the center and found a little strip of grip with my right rear. That would get me to center off and from there I could just hope he was flustered and couldn’t cross me.”
It was Macedo’s eighth victory of the season, tying him with Sheldon Haudenschild as the winningest driver on tour.
He’s now won back-to-back World of Outlaws features at I-55 and Saturday chases a $20,000 payday with his first-career Ironman 55 title on the line.
“Beating Brad, a three-time champion and one of the best out here, like that feels really special,” Macedo added. “That was a really great race. It’s why we’re here, to put on amazing shows like that for you fans. This place is tough, but it’s a lot of fun. You really have to get your elbows up and get after it. Hopefully we can add an Ironman title tomorrow.”
A heartbroken Brad Sweet, who led by as much as 3.379 seconds at halfway, was vocal on his last-lap traffic incident.
“All you can do is hope the lappers race you with respect,” said Sweet, expressing his displeasure. “I gave Marcus [Dumesny] plenty of room there and thought I would get more in return. You know he was the caution before that and he spun out by himself, and almost took us out too. Then he did that there on the last lap and I just don’t think that is how you race people. It is what it is, though, and I could have made some different moves to not put myself in that position. It’s unfortunate for us, but Carson did a great job. We’ll be ready to get the Ironman title tomorrow.”
Behind the mayhem up front was James McFadden with his seventh podium finish of the season in third place.
“We kept it on all four wheels and that’s kind of a win with how treacherous it is out there,” McFadden kidded. “I thought I was going to bounce clear back into the trailer at one point. We had a really great car I think, but I lost too much time sliding back and forth with Sheldon [Haudenschild]. I love racing at the place, though. I reckon that the fans really had a lot of fun watching that one. We’ll come back tomorrow ready for 55 more.”
Donny Schatz and Logan Schuchart rounded out the top five.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 41-Carson Macedo [$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [$5,500]; 3. 83-James McFadden [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,600]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,350]; 6. 2-David Gravel [$2,150]; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,100]; 8. 13-Justin Peck [$1,950]; 9. 101-Lachlan McHugh [$1,900]; 10. 1AU-Marcus Dumesny [$1,850]; 11. 5-Spencer Bayston [$1,400]; 12. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$1,200]; 13. 20G-Noah Gass [$1,000]; 14. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$950]; 15. 35-Zach Hampton [$900]; 16. 22S-Slater Helt [$900]; 17. 6-Bill Rose [$900]; 18. 51B-Joe B-Miller [$900]; 19. 7S-Robbie Price [$900]; 20. 49J-Josh Schneiderman [$900]; 21. 1A-Jacob Allen [$900]; 22. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$900]; 23. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [$900]; 24. 25-JJ Hickle [$900].