PORT ROYAL, Pa. — It didn’t matter who it was — winner Kerry Madsen, polesitter Anthony Macri, kingpins Lance Dewease or Brad Sweet — everyone experienced the fluctuation of Friday’s race program at Port Royal Speedway.
Madsen led all 25 laps on night one of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series Nittany Showdown, but he needed to fight off Macri, Donny Schatz and Dewease, whose last-lap charge came up .081 seconds short.
For Macri, botched restarts nearly snowballed his run. Macri did end up salvaging his third WoO podium of the year. Logan Schuchart and Brad Sweet — running second and third at the time — fell out of the race midway through.
Dewease could never grasp double-file restarts all night. He did enough in runs of six, three, six, four and six laps to finish second.
“If the fans didn’t love that race … wish I would have won, but that was a helluva race,” Dewease said. “Schatz got the lead, Kerry got him back. Macri got the lead on the start. I went from sixth to, what felt like, 12th on the start, drove by those guys, lost those spots, then drove by them. I mean, there was a lot of good racing, I thought.”
A lot of Friday’s shuffling had to do with the four double-file restarts. The top has been the preferred groove at Port Royal all year. That was the status quo in the 25-lap, $10,000-to-win feature.
“Restarts at Port Royal are stressful,” Madsen said. “Make a good one, you’ll be fine. Make a bad one, you lose five spots. Just try to make good restarts.”
A bad start in the heat race robbed Sheldon Haudenschild of a dash spot. It also burned Macri, who got freight-trained to third on the opening lap.
• Saturday’s 30-lap, $15,000-to-win Nittany Showdown finale will start at 5 p.m., a two-hour move-up to beat inclement weather later in the evening.
• Kerry Madsen and the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 14 team returned for the first time since the Aug. 14 Knoxville Nationals.
The team was shelved for two months for its continual development of the Ford Performance Stewart engine.
Post-race with The Mad Man!
Texted @kmr29 this past week asking what’s up. He showed the Sprint Car world tonight.
Led all 25 but had to earn it: .081 of a second over Lance Dewease. pic.twitter.com/f9spVPvGtg
— Kyle McFadden (@ByKyleMcFadden) October 9, 2021
• Carson Macedo, who won last week’s National Open at Williams Grove Speedway, used a provisional Friday for the first time in 71 races this year.
He finished 21st and lost 30 points to David Gravel in the series standings.
• Lance Dewease is in jeopardy of going two full seasons without a victory on the World of Outlaws tour, something that hasn’t happened since 2012 and ‘13.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Famer gets one last chance today, but there’s another urge that lingers within.
“I’ve never won an Outlaw show here [at Port Royal], so that’s more in the back of my head,” Dewease said. “The back-to-back years I’ve never thought about. I’ve never won an Outlaw show here yet, so that kind of has me fired up.”
Granted, Friday marked the ninth series race at Port Royal. Dewease has finished second twice in that span.
Post-race with @LanceDewease.
More ebb than flow — particularly restarts — for Dewease these evening but he about sent @PortRoyalSpdway into pandemonium.
A couple windows on restarts & .081 of a second too short. There’s a part two but that’ll be for tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/yZKTjernbD
— Kyle McFadden (@ByKyleMcFadden) October 9, 2021
His last seven series races go like this: second, third, second, fifth, sixth, seventh and second.
“There’s probably not an Outlaw guy who has that good of an average than we do in all the races we’ve ran,” Dewease said. “Yeah, we’re really good.”
Dewease’ last World of Outlaws win came May 18, 2019, in the Morgan Cup at Williams Grove.
• Anthony Macri inched closer to World of Outlaws victory lane Friday, but even then he felt distant from the winner’s circle.
Macri started from the pole and held on to finish third, never entering the picture for the lead once Kerry Madsen drove by him on the start.
“Outside row obviously had the advantage on the starts, but we just really didn’t have the best car,” Macri said.
It did, however, stand as Macri’s third straight top-five finish with the World of Outlaws. Last week Macri finished fourth twice in both National Open races at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
“We worked with what we had and salvaged a third. We’ll take our notes, see what we can do better tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll be standing on the frontstretch.”
• Brent Marks and Freddie Rahmer rebounded from mistakes earlier in the night to finish fifth and ninth, respectively.
For Marks, a flat tire from contact with the retaining wall in his heat made him scramble just to make the main event. He drove from the 20th-starting spot to earn hard-charger honors.
Rahmer, meanwhile, qualified 18th of 19 cars in his group, nearly a full second off fast-qualifier Logan Wagner (16.704 seconds to 15.832 seconds).