BRANDON, S.D. — Austin McCarl was set to carry the banner for the Huset’s Speedway regulars during Tuesday night’s Billion Auto Huset’s 50, but an early incident dashed those plans.
McCarl’s familiar No. 17a was collected after contact between eventual winner Aaron Reutzel and Carson Macedo on the opening lap led to Macedo’s car flipping into the turn-one catchfence.
With nowhere to go, McCarl’s car flipped in the aftermath of Macedo’s crash, sustaining heavy damage.
While Macedo was, remarkably, able to roll away from the accident scene and return to the race after his Jason Johnson Racing crew made repairs to the familiar No. 41, McCarl wasn’t as lucky.
His crash damage was too severe and forced an early end to his feature. McCarl was credited with a last-place finish in the 24-car starting field, worth $2,000.
“We wanted to get through the first half of the race as best we could so we could try to attack the second half,” tipped McCarl. “I thought it would blow off and get slicker and widen out quite a bit. Kind of like a NASCAR race, though, you have to be there at the end to win and we weren’t there this time.”
Despite the unfortunate ending to his Huset’s 50, McCarl was thankful to have been part of the field for the inaugural running of an event that may become a new crown jewel for sprint car racing.
“I grew up coming here every Sunday,” said McCarl, a four-time sprint car winner at Huset’s this season. “My dad [Terry McCarl] won a hundred or so features here … and I bet I’ve been here for probably 50 or 60 of his wins. This place means a lot to the McCarl family; there’s a lot of history here for us.
“I’m just happy to be here and thankful to Tod Quiring and everybody at the track for putting this deal on.”
— One of the most surprising statistics of the two-night Huset’s 50 spectacular was the fact that Dominic Scelzi failed to make either of the features in the No. 13 Buffalo Wild Wings-sponsored sprint car.
Scelzi, filling in for the injured Mark Dobmeier behind the wheel of the familiar entry, charged from 15th to seventh in the Last Chance Showdown Tuesday but fell three positions short of making the show.
The Fresno, Calif., native finished second to Austin McCarl during the Huset’s 50 tune-up Sunday night.
Dobmeier, who was sidelined last season with a back injury in a sprint car crash at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway last summer, is expected to make his return to competition at Huset’s during a regular weekly program on July 11.
— Motorsports fans were somewhat alarmed on social media bythe fact that NASCAR Cup Series Kyle Larson went two straight sprint car races without winning.
Larson finished fifth during the opening night at Huset’s on Monday and then charged back to fifth from 11th on Tuesday night. As Always Race Day reporter Connor Ferguson put it, “Larson looked human.”
The Elk Grove, Calif., native is riding a streak of four straight wins in a Cup Series car after his triumph last Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway, including a $1 million triumph in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
His most recent sprint car victory came June 16 at Waynesfield Raceway Park with the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions during Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek.
— Kerry Madsen’s eight-race string of top-six finishes with the World of Outlaws came to an end with an eighth-placerun Tuesday in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 14.
However, Madsen pushed his top-10 tally with the Outlaws this season to 11 in just 12 starts.
Madsen, from St. Mary’s, New South Wales, Australia, is still seeking his first World of Outlaws win of the year.
— How quickly fortunes changed from the first night at Huset’s Speedway to the second for David Gravel and Big Game Motorsports.
Gravel, who won Monday’s 35-lapper, could only muster a ninth-place finish from 13th on Tuesday. It wasn’t what he hoped for, given his car carried Huset’s Speedway branding on the top wing because team owner Tod Quiring also owns the Brandon, S.D., facility.
— With McCarl’s early issues, Justin Henderson and Sandvig Motorsports led the way for the Huset’s regulars Tuesday night with a 17th-place finish.
Henderson is a two-time winner at the quarter-mile dirt track this season in the Sandvig No. 7.
— Perhaps the most memorable moment of the Huset’s 50 didn’t come on the race track, but rather in the work area, when Stenhouse Jr./Marshall Racing crew chief Kyle Ripper went to work on the back bumper of Carson Macedo’s battered race car with a sledgehammer.
Ripper, who turns the wrenches for Sheldon Haudenschild on a weekly basis with the Outlaws, might just earn a new nickname for himself if he continues to make those kinds of highlights in the future.