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COWBOY CARSON: Macedo Masters Traffic for First Devil’s Bowl Speedway Victory
Macedo takes the Jason Johnson Racing #41 back to Devil’s Bowl Victory Lane for seventh with of the season
MESQUITE, TX (Oct. 20, 2023) - Throughout his time in racing, Jason Johnson always viewed Devil’s Bowl Speedway as one of his favorite tracks. The Mesquite, TX oval is roughly five hours from Johnson’s hometown of Eunice, LA. The “Ragin’ Cajun” experienced plenty of success at the half mile including a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car victory in 2017.
And on Friday night, current Jason Johnson Racing pilot – Carson Macedo – honored Johnson with a win at Devil’s Bowl on night one of the Sprint Car Stampede.
The Lemoore, CA native started on the pole of the 25-lap Feature and delivered a phenomenal drive. A strong start. A timely lane change. And excellent movement through traffic ushered Macedo to his first checkered flag at the historic facility during the track’s final weekend.
After the checkers, members of Johnson’s family joined the celebration. A jubilant Jaxx (Jason’s son) rose atop the wing of the Albaugh #41 with Macedo as the crowd roared. The Jason Johnson Racing machine made it back to Devil’s Bowl Victory Lane.
“It’s really special,” Macedo commented. “Devil’s Bowl has got a lot of history. The Johnson family, a lot of them are from this area or close to it and it’s special for them. Craig and Debra are here – Jason’s parents. Bobbi and Jaxx. Jaxx was able to get up on the wing with me.
“My guys just did an incredible job. Philip and Brooke (Dietz) owning this #41 car, they give us first class equipment. And Philip, Clyde (Knipp), and Nate (Repetz) just executed all night. I feel like we laid down a really respectable lap in Qualifying. We were able to get into the Dash, win the Dash from second, and then capitalize on that pole starting spot and lead every lap of the Feature.”
Macedo is up to 35 career victories with The Greatest Show on Dirt, moving him within one of tying Shane Stewart for 20th on the all-time win list. Devil’s Bowl becomes the 23rd different track where Macedo owns a World of Outlaws triumph. It’s Macedo’s second win in the state of Texas, and this one makes him and the JJR crew $12,000 richer.
Courtesy of topping the Toyota Racing Dash, Macedo led the field to green and jumped out to an early advantage.
An early caution with five laps complete set up a pivotal restart. Macedo darted ahead again, but second-starting David Gravel didn’t allow him to escape. Gravel ripped the cushion aboard the Big Game Motorsports #2 while Macedo stayed in the grip down low. The different lines allowed Gravel to close in. But right when it looked as if he may slip around him, Macedo shifted to the top to take the line.
“I didn’t really know where to be in (Turns) 3 and 4, especially early. It seemed to kind of be letting go on me a little bit there off of (Turn) 4,” Macedo explained. “I didn’t feel like I could get off that corner as nice as I wanted to. I could look over and see Gravel kind of trailing my right rear (tire) on the top and decided it was time to move up and felt pretty good after that.”
After moving to the top, Macedo began to pull away again as the race cleared the halfway mark. Behind him, Gravel and a surging Brad Sweet were in a duel for second. Sweet closed on Gravel’s tail tank multiple times but couldn’t quite find a lane around.
As the race dipped inside of five laps to go, both Gravel and Sweet closed on Macedo as he struggled with a slower car. The lead was trimmed below half a second with only three circuits remaining. But Macedo delivered the winning move by clearing the lapped car coming to the white flag and driving by another in the final set of turns to keep the challengers behind him and lock up the victory and end a 16-race winless streak.
“I was really nervous at the end there,” Macedo admitted. “That lapper at the end there, I was having a really hard time guessing where he was going to go. He’d kind of last minute lane change down to the bottom and kind of halfway miss it, but then grab the grip and just mess up my air enough to where my pace was slowing way down.
“Sprint Car racing is a weird thing. You could have all the tools in the world, good equipment, an amazing mechanic in Phil Dietz, and two great guys in Clyde and Nate, and I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job, but still just not quite get the job done, not winning races. And you start to kind of doubt yourself and get in a little bit of a slump. But, man, Devil’s Bowl is a great place to get out of that.”
Behind Macedo, Gravel held off Sweet to claim the runner-up spot, his sixth second place finish in the last 10 races. The Watertown, CT native increased his Series-leading podium total to 33 in 2023. The repeated runner-ups without a win continued to fuel Gravel’s hunger for a trip back to Victory Lane before the season wraps up.
“I felt like Carson was just as good as us, and I thought Brad was just as good. I heard him a few times, as well,” Gravel said. “It’s just like playing a game of chess. A guy goes high and you go low and vice versa. It sucks. We’ve finished second a lot this year. It’s not a bad thing, but you definitely want to win.”
Rounding out the top three was the championship point leader – Sweet. Another solid run contributing toward his ongoing effort of a fifth straight title as he allowed Gravel to only take two points out of the gap between the two. The difference now sits at 64 points with four races to go. Sweet felt if he could’ve lined up a little closer to the front, he might’ve been able to wheel the Kasey Kahne Racing #49 to the win.
“We made some really good adjustments for the A (Feature) and were able to kind of drive up through there and honestly contend there for second,” Sweet said. “And I didn’t feel like Carson was pulling away. I felt like we had a car capable of winning, just needed a little track position. It was definitely getting slicker and more technical.”
Completing the top five was Spencer Bayston and Robbie Price notching a season-best run of fifth.
Sheldon Haudenschild grabbed the KSE Racing Hard Charger with a 19th to 13th drive, his Series-leading seventh Hard Charger of the year.
Brad Sweet snagged his third Simpson Performance Products QuickTime in the last four races, fifth overall in 2023, and the 74th of his career.
CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One went to David Gravel. James McFadden and Spencer Bayston topped NOS Energy Drink Heats Two and Three.
Sheldon Haudenschild won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.
The Smith Titanium Brake Systems Break of the Race went to Noah Gass after he climbed as high as eighth in the Feature before slipping to 20th.
UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are back at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 21 for the final race at the birthplace of the Series. The finale of the Sprint Car Stampede will pay $20,023 to the winner and $1,978 to start. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.
RESULTS:NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps): 1. 41-Carson Macedo; 2. 2-David Gravel; 3. 49-Brad Sweet; 4. 5-Spencer Bayston; 5. 7S-Robbie Price; 6. 83-James McFadden; 7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 8. 1T-Tanner Holmes; 9. 15-Donny Schatz; 10. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 11. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 12. 52-Blake Hahn; 13. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 14. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 15. 1-Brenham Crouch; 16. 95-Matt Covington; 17. 84-Scott Bogucki; 18. 9-Kasey Kahne; 19. 11-Cory Eliason; 20. 20G-Noah Gass; 21. 72-Harli White; 22. 87J-Jace Park; 23. J2-John Carney II; 24. 19-Ayrton Gennetten