SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Nothing was about to stop Anthony Macri on Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway, not even a damaging mud clot or an inconvenient redraw selection.
Macri took the field by storm to win his second straight Jim Nace Memorial National Open, the latest good enough for $20,075 and win No. 11 on the year.
From the outset, Macri showed once again he had the fastest race car in Central Pennsylvania. He paced hot laps by nearly two tenths of a second and in qualifying he was fast-qualifier by .139 seconds.
Then he drew the eighth-starting position on a blazing fast track and once he recovered to lead on lap 31 of 40, a mud clot gashed the right side of his car and nearly knocked his header loose.
“I think I wanted $20,000 more than anybody here,” Macri said. “Not only because it’s a special race, but it’s $20,000 and I just want to keep winning.
“Piece of mud came through, knocking my leg off the gas pedal,” he added. “It’s still pretty sore. I wasn’t going to let that stop us. I hung in there, had a pretty bad vibration and I just hoped and prayed nothing vibrated loose and we didn’t crash. It stayed together, and here we are.”
Brian Brown led the opening eight laps, all before polesitter Danny Dietrich turned the tide in traffic. Dietrich went on to lead laps nine through 30 but Macri brewed behind.
Right after the halfway fuel stop, Macri made easy work of Brown for second and pursued after Dietrich.
On lap 31, Macri set up the winning move into turn one, motoring to the top while Dietrich shut the door on the bottom. Macri then got a head of steam through the corner, cut down the track and pulled below Dietrich to gain position down the backstretch.
“His car was kind of fading, and my car was coming in at that point in time,” Macri said. “I knew I wasn’t going to pass him around the top, I just had to wait for him to do something with a lapped car and capitalize.”
Dietrich couldn’t get through the tail of the field fast enough to stave off Macri, ultimately getting pinned behind a pair of slower cars racing for position.
“We were good just … probably the biggest jerk in the pit area racing side-by-side with another lapped car around the top, where he knows the leaders are going to be,” Dietrich said, alluding to a car he had trouble passing in traffic. “It’s frustrating. I feel like I was as fast as Anthony, and Brian, just ran second. First loser.”
Macri mounted a two-second lead thereafter but with three laps to go the mud clot punctured his machine. Moments later, the red flag came out for Mike Walter II.
The 22-year-old didn’t think he’d make it.
“It rattled me,” Macri said. “My leg hurt for the rest of the race pretty bad. I didn’t feel I had full range of motion on the gas pedal because the body panel was pushed in on the throttle linkage.”
Full range of motion or not, Macri never slowed, racing away from the field on the final restart. He’s now tied with Brent Marks for the third-most 410 wins nationally.
Dietrich and Brown rounded out the podium. Lance Dewease and Marks completed the top five.
Freddie Rahmer raced to sixth from 11th, and Gio Scelzi, Justin Whittall, T.J. Stutts and Devon Borden finished out the top 10.
Third-fastest qualifier Logan Wagner wrecked out of his heat race when the right front tire rolled off the bead.