BARBERVILLE, Fla. — With the spin of a wrench, Philip Dietz lifted Carson Macedo from an uneasy feeling to the best car in the field on Friday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
The revered crew chief at Jason Johnson Racing went to work after a mediocre preliminary performance and provided Macedo with what he called “one of the best cars I’ve ever driven in my life.”
Macedo masterfully picked his way from 10th to first and executed a pass of Sam Hafertepe Jr. with four laps remaining to earn his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
“It’s not every night that your car is that dominant,” Macedo said. “I mean that thing was just perfect to drive. Phil [Dietz], Clyde [Knipp], and Nate [Repetz] were incredible tonight. You know, I felt really balanced and great all through DIRTcar Nationals last month, but early tonight I just didn’t feel good. Phil and the guys made a lot of changes for the feature and nailed it. I could go anywhere I wanted. I’m so happy to get a win for this team, these sponsors, a lot of really great people involved.”
At the start of Friday’s 30-lap, $10,000-to-win feature, Hafertepe and David Gravel paced the field. Hafertepe led the first 11 laps. The first stoppage was a surprise when point leader Logan Schuchart stopped in turn four following contact with Gio Scelzi amidst a top five battle.
Macedo made his biggest move on that first restart, advancing four spots in one lap with a great fire off the high side of the half-mile. The next restart, however, spelled trouble when the No. 41 had to line up on the low line.
Restarting with 17 laps remaining, Macedo surprised himself and quickly took third from Sheldon Haudenschild and began chasing Hafertepe and Gravel.
“Hafertepe chose the outside and I was stuck on the bottom, which made me nervous,” Macedo noted. “I was on the top every restart prior to that and the bottom wasn’t getting great starts. I didn’t really get a good start, but it was fairly decent and let me sneak back into the top groove in front of Donny. I got that run on Sheldon because he went low, and I was able to slide by him real quick. I felt like my car was as good as those guys, if not better once I got to third. I just needed traffic to move around a bit and capitalize.”
Macedo reeled in the lead duo and made it a three-way war with seven laps left.
Macedo slid by Gravel for second on the 24th lap and two laps later, he was sliding Hafertepe for the top spot. His massive turn one slider with four laps to go was a thing of beauty, sweeping through the middle and clearing Hafertepe with ease to steal the top spot in the waning circuits.
The final four laps went by like a breeze as the 24-year-old pilot drove off into the Florida night with a 2.167-second advantage at the checkered flag.
It was his seventh career WoO victory.
Hafertepe finished second with Gio Scelzi third.
To see full results, turn to the next page.