MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Carson Macedo turned in a formidable rookie season last year with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, placing sixth in points and tallying four wins in the process.
But his experience in central Pennsylvania was far from parallel to that body work.
It was a jagged, thorny excursion, as Macedo’s rising talents were stymied and in return showed an average of finish 16.7 in six races at Williams Grove and Lincoln.
This season, though, it’s clear Macedo has worked on that rude welcoming to Posse country as an Outlaw. The past week shows it.
In three races at Lincoln and Williams Grove with the series, Macedo posted finishes of fifth, ninth, and eighth, passing a total of 28 cars combined in those features.
“Look, last year, we ran really, really bad [in central Pennsylvania],” Macedo said. “So, coming back here and doing what we did, we have a lot more speed. We’ve gotten a lot more consistent.”
To be a champion with the Outlaws, getting through central Pennsylvania unscathed is a must, and that’s exactly what Macedo did this past week.
Now, as the series rolls along to the latter half of its schedule, the 24-year-old Californian is fourth in the standings, 70 points behind leader Brad Sweet.
This recent success at the often-frustrating swing, known to chew up and spit out newcomers, isn’t just lightning in a bottle for Macedo. In March, Macedo made the tow to race Williams Grove’s opening day and parked it in victory lane.
Last Saturday, instead of chasing extra incentive money to race the first day of Weikert Weekend at Port Royal, he chose to compete in the Outlaw Tune-Up at Lincoln. He won that, too.
It paid dividends on Thursday at Lincoln, as Macedo drove from 12th to finish fifth on a track that was hard to pass. On Friday, Macedo went from 15th to ninth at Williams Grove in single-file conditions.
He topped it off with his most impressive performance of them all: charging from the B-main to finish eighth on Saturday in night two of the Summer Nationals.
“The track was somewhat narrow, so going 23rd to eight was a feat in itself,” Macedo said. “My guys did a great job. We just need to get better early in the night. I don’t know if we have to rent the track or come here more to get laps when it’s fast so we have some speed in qualifying. Some guys you can tell really make the corners nice when they’re timing in so we’ll keep working on that.
“At least right now we have a really good end of the night package.”
Even if it’s just three races in this latest central Pennsylvania swing for the Outlaws, it showed that a lot can change in a short span.
Donny Schatz entered as the points leader on Thursday at Lincoln and instead departed third in the standings. Sheldon Haudenschild reeled to 66 points off the pace after his win at Lincoln, but a DNF on Saturday at Williams Grove now puts him over 100 points out of the title race.
Macedo, though, had no such problems this time.
“We come here so often,” Macedo said. “It’s important to be good here. Luckily we’re starting to pick up some stride.”