KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Carson Macedo will always remember his first victory at Knoxville Raceway.
Macedo drove the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 to an emotional victory on night two of the 28th annual Knoxville 360 Nationals presented by Great Southern Bank.
Cole Duncan led the field after the green flew in the 20-lap main event, ahead of Macedo, Terry McCarl, Wayne Johnson and Saldana.
On lap two, both Saldana and Johnson squeaked by McCarl who got loose in turn two, but a circuit later, McCarl would lead Kaeding back by Johnson into fourth. McCarl’s pass of Saldana for third was negated when A.J. Moeller brought the only caution of the race with a spin in turn two.
Duncan led Macedo, Saldana, McCarl and Kaeding back to green. Saldana would get a run down the backstretch and slide by both Macedo and Duncan to take the lead. On lap six, Macedo would perform a slide job and take second, while McCarl would follow him into third on lap seven.
Saldana entered lapped traffic on lap eleven and Macedo closed. A slight slowdown by Saldana was enough for Macedo to make his winning move. While Macedo maneuvered lapped traffic well, McCarl reeled in Saldana in a battle for second. The two would make contact, but Saldana would maintain his second place standing behind McCarl, Kaeding and Scelzi.
Nate Van Haaften set quick time over the 48-car field.
“There at the end, I was just counting down the laps,” said Macedo with young Jaxx Johnson in his arms. “I’m so happy for this team…Bobbi, Jaxx and Philip (Dietz). My car was awesome anywhere I went. We’ve just got to build on it. Hopefully, we can keep this speed tomorrow night. My car was so stable, I could just run over the cushion and come off. I can’t say enough about what an honor it is to drive this race car. To be standing on the same stage that Jason Johnson was … this wasn’t the 410 Nationals but to fill this seat is definitely an honor.”
“Honestly, I know Carson is a hell of a race car driver, but I’d say he had a good co-pilot in Jason Johnson,” said Saldana, who will sit on the championship pole Saturday night. “They just did a great job all night. It’s hard to put a driver in someone else’s car and run well. They did something pretty extraordinary tonight. I felt like the Rudeen car was good tonight. We showed we had speed, but it just wasn’t meant to be. He just beat me. He put his car in the right spot and I didn’t. I’ve lost a few races that way here. You just try to learn from your mistakes and hopefully, we don’t do that tomorrow.”
“You always want to win, but you have to love it when this No. 41 car comes back out here and wins it,” said McCarl, who will start inside row two on Saturday night. “I’m a big fan of Carson Macedo too. Joey and I have been racing like that a long time. There was a little banging. He made a pretty bold move. I just have to thank my guys and Don Long. McKenna (Haase) ran this (Moyle) motor a few nights and they were kind enough to let me run it.”
Carson Macedo, Joey Saldana, Terry McCarl, Tim Kaeding, Gio Scelzi, Cole Duncan, Brooke Tatnell, Harli White, Wayne Johnson, Johnny Herrera, Trey Starks, Carson McCarl, Jeff Swindell, Jack Dover, Sammy Walsh, Seth Bergman, Bill Balog, Nate Van Haaften, Matt Covington, A.J. Moeller, Chris Martin, Scottie McDonald, Skylar Prochaska, Tom Lenz.