SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Anthony Macri fulfilled a desire to win for his supporting cast by claiming another season-defining victory Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Macri led all 40 laps to claim the 38th annual Jim Nace Memorial National Open and $20,000 prize, posting a 3.031-second triumph over Freddie Rahmer. It’s his eighth win in a 410 sprint car this year.
The 21-year-old’s latest triumph was rather smooth-sailing from the pole, but Macri felt the pressure to seal the deal all night, considering engine builder Charlie Garrett had a lasting relationship with Nace.
“I was feeling some serious pressure before the feature,” Macri said. “I knew how close [Garrett] was to Jim Nace. … I really wanted to win it for Charlie and just put my name on a big-name race. It’s definitely pretty awesome to win a race like this.”
Rainfall earlier in the day and an overcast evening provided blazing quick conditions on Saturday night. Nine of the 27 drivers broke the previous track record of 15.694 seconds set by Kerry Madsen in this very race last year.
Macri asserted his untouchable self from the onset, winning quick time with a 15.544 seconds and ultimately setting the new single-lap track record.
Rahmer, Brock Zearfoss, Brian Brown, Anthony Fiore, Lance Dewease, Brent Marks, TJ Stutts, and Dylan Cisney were also under Madsen’s previous mark.
Even with wide-ranging speed throughout the night, Macri captivated from start to finish. After his comfy lead dwindled to eight tenths of a second in traffic on lap seven, Macri extended it to two seconds over Brown by the race’s first caution on lap 10.
On the following 10-lap run before the halfway fuel stop, Macri had built another two-second advantage on Brown. And by lap 30, when things were on their way again and after Brown parked it for the night for a mechanical failure, Macri continued to put the hammer down, leading Rahmer by more than two seconds.
The most anxious moment of the night for Macri, though, came with four laps to go. Sixth-running Brent Marks had a right rear tire give away and the field stacked up one last time.
“I didn’t know how much of a lead I had before the yellow and not knowing how good he was, or if I was running the right line,” Macri said. “I was kind of anxious. But I stuck to my gut and ran the top the rest of the way.”
Rahmer pulled alongside Macri on the ensuing restart, attempting a slide job that never came to fruition, and Macri raced off from there.
For Rahmer, a winner Friday at Williams Grove, he felt there wasn’t much else he could have done considering the conditions and circumstances.
“Could have gotten better restarts, but [Macri] was just faster in clean air, no doubt about it,” Rahmer said. “I think in lapped cars we were fast enough to win the race, but it didn’t work out. That’s all. It was a fast-paced race. He ran the curb really good there. We did some laps. We just weren’t as good as him.”
Cisney finished third. Dewease and Zearfoss rounded out the top five. Danny Dietrich came home sixth after starting 11th.
Montieth, Marks, Blane Heimbach, and Logan Wagner completed the top 10.
Fan favorite Rico Abreu failed to finish in 18th.
Garrett Bard led all 20 laps to win the accompanying 305 sprint car feature.
1. 39m-Anthony Macri, 2. 51-Freddie Rahmer, 3. 5-Dylan Cisney, 4. 69K-Lance Dewease, 5. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 6. 48-Danny Dietrich, 7. 21-Brian Montieth, 8. 5M-Brent Marks, 9. 12-Blane Heimbach, 10. 1-Logan Wagner, 11. 39-Justin Peck, 12. 24-Lucas Wolfe, 13. 91-Anthony Fiore, 14. 45-Jeff Halligan, 15. 99M-Kyle Moody, 16. 35-Jason Shultz, 17. 21B-Brian Brown, 18. 24R-Rico Abreu, 19. 19-Curt Stroup, 20. 8S-Trenton Sheaffer, 21. 28F-Davie Franek, 22. 17B-Steve Buckwalter, 23. 11-T.J. Stutts, 24. 91R-Kyle Reinhardt.