CONCORD, N.C. — World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champions Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz have solidified themselves as early favorites this season, winning three of the four races this year combined.
However, a new favorite may emerge during this month’s California swing.
Rookie contender, and Lemoore, Calif., native Carson Macedo has put together an impressive start to the season with his Kyle Larson Racing team, claiming three top-10 finishes and two Heat wins in the first four races.
While he’s found speed on the bigger half-mile tracks of Volusia Speedway Park and The Dirt Track at Las Vegas, he’s most comfortable on short tracks — like the ones he grew up racing on in California.
“My whole life I feel like I’ve been better on the short tracks than the big tracks,” said Macedo, 22. “Lately over the past couple of years I’ve been able to be a little bit better on those (bigger) tracks to try and carry that balance. When you race with the World of Outlaws, you’ve got to be good everywhere.”
Going home to tracks he grew up racing on also adds another level of confidence.
“You know what to expect, and how the race tracks are going to change,” Macedo said. “A lot of the time, for me, going to a track I’m comfortable at, it’s usually a huge advantage, because you’re usually a little bit quicker right out of the gate.”
He used that extra level of confidence to his advantage in 2014 when he won his first World of Outlaws race at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. — a track the series will return to this year on March 15, and again later in the year Sept. 6-7.
Macedo is still looking for his second Series win, having mostly raced with the All Star Circuit of Champions the last couple of years. While he’s won at Silver Dollar Speedway before, Macedo said he is most looking forward to going to Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. — the next track on the Series’ schedule March 8-9.
“It’s probably the track I’ve gotten along with the most,” said Macedo, who finished fifth at the track last year. “The past few years it seems like I’ve always been able to put together some good runs there.”
To Macedo, Thunderbowl Raceway’s best characteristic is the cushion builds up along the fence, allowing drivers to enter and drive through the turns aggressively.
Aggressiveness is a trait Macedo’s car owner, Kyle Larson said he sees in the rookie.
“He’s fun to watch,” Larson said. “I think he’ll have a good season (being paired with experienced crew chief Joe Gaerte).”
Macedo said he is looking forward to getting to the familiar California tracks and continue his early season success, which has currently left him sixth in the Series championship standings.