BRANDON, S.D. — Exactly four years to the day of Jason Johnson’s passing, Carson Macedo brought the No. 41 Jason Johnson Racing sprint car back to victory lane.
Macedo used a little late-race magic to steal the lead from Brian Brown on lap 33 of 35 with $20,000 on the line Friday at Huset’s Speedway. His win tallied enough points to lock-in for Saturday’s $100,000-to-win High Bank Nationals finale along with David Gravel, Buddy Kofoid, and Brock Zearfoss.
It was a symbolic win in many fashions for the Albaugh No. 41 team. Friday marked the first trip to victory lane for Jace Dietz, the newborn son of owners Philip and Brooke Dietz, who ironically enough was originally due on June 24 of all dates. With Jace in arms, a little bit of Jason was taken to the winner’s circle.
Macedo made the most of his opportunity and cut the championship lead down to a mere 12 points with his sixth World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win of the season.
More importantly, he’s put himself and the JJR squad in a prime position to contend for $100,000 on Saturday night at the state-of-the-art facility.
“I think I had a co-pilot in there tonight,” Macedo said. “Winning today on June 24th, four years after we lost Jason, is pretty special. He was an incredible man and built an incredible team, and I’m privileged to continue honoring his legacy with these guys. From Craig and Deborah and Bobbi and Jaxx to now Philip and Brooke, carrying on this legacy means a lot to all of us.”
Winning it from the fifth spot, Macedo was far from the story early on in Friday’s 35-lapper.
Riley Goodno, in his seventh-career World of Outlaws start, earned the pole in his family-owned No. 22. The 19-year-old quickly deterred any “fluke” narratives as he beat Brian Brown on the opening lap and ensued to lead the first eight circuits while only building his advantage over the best sprint car drivers in the world.
Goodno’s pace was erased when Brad Sweet and Rico Abreu brought out the red flag on lap eight and created a double-file restart. This time, Brown wasn’t messing around and throttled around the top to put the Casey’s General Stores, FVP Parts No. 21 in command of the race lead on lap nine.
Brown controlled the top spot for another 24 laps until Macedo tossed a big move his way and made it stick to steal the lead with three laps left.
“Once I got behind Brown, I was hustling extremely hard, probably too hard,” Macedo contained. “I finally calmed myself down and set up that big slider on him in turns one and two. I know it was a big flyer to throw, but this is for a lot of money this week so I had to try it. It feels good to just finally get a win at Huset’s after this place had my number for so long.”
Brown completed a miraculous turnaround with a runner-up finish, 1.046 seconds behind Macedo. In only 24 hours, the Knoxville Raceway ace took his quarter-mile program from struggling into the Last Chance Showdown to competing for the $20,000 victory.
“A lot of the credit goes to Danny [Lasoski] tonight,” Brown said. “He made a ton of big changes to this car from last night, and I just let him do his thing and kept my nose out of it. It’s no secret this is a place that has always had my numbers over the years. We were 16th in the LCS last night, I mean terrible honestly, and tonight we almost won it. We’ve got a lot of work left to do tomorrow, though.”
Goodno finished third, his best finish with the series.
“This is a dream come true,” Goodno said. “I can’t thank my mom and my dad enough for everything they’ve done for me. Driving me up and down the road allowing me to chase my dreams is something I appreciate so much. My dad and I have always wanted to travel as much as possible, learn as much as possible, and be the best team that we could be, I think that is starting to show.”
Eric Moser won the Nordstrom’s Automotive Late Model Street Stocks main event.
Feature (35 Laps): 1. 41-Carson Macedo [$20,000]; 2. 21-Brian Brown [$10,000]; 3. 22-Riley Goodno [$7,000]; 4. 5-Spencer Bayston [$6,000]; 5. 2-David Gravel [$5,500]; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$5,000]; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$3,000]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [$4,000]; 9. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$3,500]; 10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$3,000]; 11. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,500]; 12. 83-James McFadden [$2,400]; 13. 11-Buddy Kofoid [$2,300]; 14. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,200]; 15. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$2,100]; 16. 88-Austin McCarl [$1,500]; 17. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$1,500]; 18. 16-Brooke Tatnell [$1,500]; 19. 1AU-Marcus Dumesny [$1,500]; 20. O9-Matt Juhl [$1,500]; 21. 7S-Robbie Price [$1,500]; 22. 19-Paige Polyak [$1,500]; 23. 24-Rico Abreu [$1,500]; 24. 11P-Parker Price-Miller [$1,500]; 25. 27-Carson McCarl .