No Stopping Macri During Labor Day Classic

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No Stopping Macri
Anthony Macri en route to victory Monday at Port Royal Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)

PORT ROYAL, Pa. – Anthony Macri sailed his No. 39m into the first corner of his heat race, slid past three cars, and then straightened it back out to drive by another when he rounded the backstretch.

That move – which catapulted him from seventh to third in the opening corner – encapsulated the level of confidence and pace Macri is racing with right now. He eventually rolled to his seventh overall 410 win of the season Monday at Port Royal Speedway.

Macri led 22 laps from the pole in the Labor Day Classic and topped Brock Zearfoss by 1.644 seconds.

It’s Macri’s second win in as many days. On Sunday, he led all 30 laps to win at Selinsgrove Speedway. Over that span he’s climbed from tied for 12th in the national sprint car win ranks to tied for seventh with Austin Pierce.

“It’s pretty cool,” Macri said of his positioning on the season-long 410 win list. “We don’t really think about that stuff right now because we have one main goal and that’s Saturday, [the Tuscarora 50]. But it’s nice to have a consistent weekend.”

The win capped a strong four-race weekend of podium efforts for the 21 year old. He also finished third at Williams Grove on Friday after leading 23 of the 25 laps and charged to second at Port Royal on Saturday before reeling off two wins in two days.

It’s also Macri’s sixth overall win at Port Royal, a place he’s proved time and time again to race with an edge.

Macri started seventh in his heat, but quickly moved to the front and eventually raced to a 8.8-second victory in just eight laps. He drew the pole for the main event and jumped to the top in the early going, leading the first three circuits.

But Jeff Halligan, who showed good speed early, wheeled past Macri on the bottom off turn two on lap four.

Halligan led the following three laps until he reached lapped traffic and got out of shape on lap seven, as his car slid off the bottom in turn two and touched the outside wall, slightly bending the wing panel.

Macri drove under Halligan for good and Zearfoss followed. By then, the track didn’t allow much leeway for maneuverability, and the eventual runner-up stayed within one second of Macri the rest of the way, hoping lapped traffic would play a factor.

But cautions on laps 11, 12, 17 and 20 reset the field and thwarted that chance.

“We needed traffic to make something happen there,” Zearfoss said. “It was one of those deals where clean air is everything, especially in the rubber. When we were in traffic there earlier in the race, I made a couple mistakes and just wasn’t close enough to capitalize.”

Now the focus shifts to the $53,000-to-win Tuscarora 50, which kicks off with preliminary nights Thursday and Friday and then concludes with the grand event on Saturday.

For Macri, he’s right where he needs to be, finishing first, second, and first over his past three starts at the speedway.

“Our stuff is going to be gone over with a fine-tooth comb this week, that way we are sure we don’t have any mechanical issues at all,” Macri said. “It’s fun to celebrate, but we know we have a long week ahead of us.”

Logan Wagner finished third and extended his points lead to 65 over his dad, Mike Wagner. Two races remain in the championship chase, both taking place this Thursday and Friday.

TJ Stutts finished fourth, while Halligan slipped to fifth. Danny Dietrich, Mike Wagner, AJ Flick, Dylan Cisney and Justin Peck rounded out the top 10.

Ian Madsen, racing in the Baughman-Reutzel No. 17, placed 12th.

Cory Eliason finished 14th, while Brian Brown, Aaron Reutzel, and Dave Blaney all failed to finish, placing 23rd, 24th, and 25th, respectively.

The finish:

1. Anthony Macri, 2. Brock Zearfoss, 3. Logan Wagner, 4. TJ Stutts, 5. Jeff Halligan, 6. Danny Dietrich, 7. Mike Wagner, 8. AJ Flick, 9. Dylan Cisney, 10. Justin Peck, 11. Curt Stroup, 12. Ian Madsen, 13. Zach Newlin, 14. Cory Eliason, 15. Tyler Bear, 16. Jared Esh, 17. Lucas Wolfe, 18. Ryan Smith, 19. Brett Michalski, 20. Kody Lehman, 21. Brent Marks, 22. Kyle Smith, 23. Brian Brown, 24. Aaron Reutzel, 25. Dave Blaney, 26. Justin Whittal.