HANFORD, Calif. — Fate has a funny way of making things happen.
If it wasn’t for Tom Tarlton, Carson Macedo would’ve never won 15 World of Outlaws races, he would’ve never matured into a star with The Greatest Show on Dirt and he might’ve never climbed behind the wheel of a sprint car. Because of Tom Tarlton, though, all of those things happened.
On Saturday, life came full circle as Macedo won his second-straight Tom Tarlton Classic. The entire Tarlton/Macedo family was in attendance to celebrate the emotional victory at Keller Auto Speedway.
The $21,000 payday is the second-richest victory of Macedo’s life, extending his recent remarkable run as the highest-paying win came just two weeks prior at the $25,000-to-win Skagit Nationals. It’s the ninth win of the year for Jason Johnson Racing.
What made his hometown and family-driven victory even sweeter is that he had to earn every cent over two-time and defending World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion Brad Sweet.
The 25-year-old gasser passed Sweet on lap 14 with a little help from lap traffic and never looked back.
“I’m out of breath from yelling,” Macedo told a soldout crowd. “I’m so excited, man. My emotions are so high right now. It means a lot to win back-to-back Tom Tarlton Classic’s, especially this one being against the World of Outlaws. Tom Tarlton is the reason I’m a Sprint Car driver. He literally gave me my first opportunity to drive a sprint car and it was right here at Hanford during a practice day. I’m so glad he could be here tonight to watch this win. Beating Brad, who’s by far the best guy out here right now for the win is pretty cool.”
Macedo’s hometown win didn’t come without a little adversity, as the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 suffered a broken rear end during hot laps.
The crew led by Philip Dietz, Nate Repetz & Clyde Knipp barely finished repairs in time and sent Macedo back on to the three-eighths-mile track to promptly claim his fourth Slick Woody’s QuickTime Award of the season.
When the 35-lap feature rolled around, though, it was Sweet earning the pole after he won the dash. Sweet led the opening 13 laps, but it wasn’t without a substantial challenge from Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart.
Schuchart passed Sweet on lap six, but eventually went tail-back as he brought out the caution with nose wing trouble. His misfortune is what opened the door for Macedo to restart on the front row.
Traffic is what ultimately sent Macedo to the lead, capitalizing in turn one as Sweet washed up behind J.J. Ringo and gave him a clear path to the top spot on the low line. Macedo led Sweet and his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate James McFadden to the checkered flag.
“This is home to me,” Macedo said. “I grew up in those stands watching Tommy Tarlton, Peter Murphy, Tim Kaeding, Jason Meyers, all my favorite drivers came here, won races, and put on a show. For me to now come here with the World of Outlaws and be a small part in this event that’s not only close to my home, but my heart is like a dream come true.”
Sweet slipped back to finish second.
“I had a good car, I just hesitated in lapped traffic,” Sweet said after his 33rd podium of the year. “That slowed my pace down and opened the door for Carson. This place had lots of character, so I wish we could’ve been in traffic a little bit more than we were. I just needed to do a better job myself.”
McFadden finished third.
“I just messed up those last couple laps and couldn’t challenge Carson,” McFadden mentioned. “Sucks we couldn’t get second, but third is nice. Bring on the next ride at Eldora.”
Shane Golobic and Schuchart rounded out the top five.
To see full results, turn to the next page.