Sprint Cars

GATOR CHASING: World of Outlaws Prepare for Season Opening DIRTcar Nationals

After an agonizing 96-day off-season, The Greatest Show on Dirt is ready to roar back to life.

For the 18th consecutive year, Barberville, FL’s Volusia Speedway Park will host the season opener for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. Running alongside the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, the Series will compete at the half-mile over three nights from Thursday, February 10 to Saturday, February 12.

The World of Outlaws serves as the headlining portion of the six-night “Sprint Week” at the 51st DIRTcar Nationals, which also includes a practice night on Monday, February 7, and then two nights of the All Star Circuit of Champions on Tuesday & Wednesday, February 8-9.


Volusia’s three-night affair marks the official kick-off to a near 90-race slate for the World of Outlaws, as Ted Johnson’s creation enters the 45th season of competition in 2022. The Series is scheduled to appear at 45 tracks in 24 states this year, and it all starts with the lone trip to Florida in February.

With 48 previous appearances dating back to a wingless debut in 1981, Volusia Speedway Park is set to become the 16th track in history to host 50+ World of Outlaws Sprint Car events next month. Over that span, 18 different drivers have graced Volusia victory lane with eight of them scoring multiple wins.

The biggest target heading into the new year is obviously Brad Sweet and Kasey Kahne Racing, who will chase their fourth consecutive championship in 2022. The Big Cat owns eight total DIRTcar Nationals victories with six of them under the World of Outlaws banner, meaning a victory next month would make Volusia the winningest track of his 74-win career.

One of Sweet’s toughest title contenders will be Donny Schatz aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15 as he chases an 11th Series championship. The Fargo, ND native eclipsed 300 wins last year, led the points over the final 40 races, and enters 2022 with newfound momentum following an off-season of change in the TSR camp. He’s won a whopping 21 DIRTcar Nationals races with 13 of them coming with the Outlaws, making Volusia one of seven tracks with double-digit wins for Schatz.

Year two combinations David Gravel & Big Game Motorsports and Carson Macedo & Jason Johnson Racing will be aiming high following a stellar debut season in 2021. Gravel, of Watertown, CT, is a former DIRTcar Nationals winner with the All Stars, but still chases his first World of Outlaws win in Volusia as he & Crew Chief Cody Jacobs hope to kickstart their championship bid on top. For Macedo, the Lemoore, CA native enters as the defending Volusia winner following an incredible 10th-to-1st drive last March with ace Phil Dietz on the wrenches.

Both Shark Racing boys are locked and loaded for their ninth season with The Greatest Show on Dirt this year. Logan Schuchart has a fresh new scheme on the #1S and enters next month as the defending DIRTcar Nationals champion with another Big Gator Championship on his mind. Meanwhile, fan-favorite Jacob Allen has a fresh outlook and will run the Bobby Allen throwback scheme for all of 2022.

A trip to Volusia means returning to the site of Sheldon Haudenschild’s first-career victory, which came during the 2018 DIRTcar Nationals. Since then, the Wooster, OH native has climbed up the charts with 22 career victories, leaving him exactly 50 shy of his now retired and Hall of Fame father Jac Haudenschild. Lil’ Haud is back for his fifth season with Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing, vying for his first double-digit win campaign with Kyle Ripper still calling the shots on the NOS Energy Drink #17.

Kasey Kahne, who will fulfill a lifelong dream of competing full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2022, debuts the Karavan Trailers, FuelMe #9 two weeks from now. Although he still pursues his first-career Outlaws victory, Kahne is a previous winner at Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals with a 2002 All Stars victory. He’ll be among three Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contenders this season.

Joining Kahne in the Rooke of the Year race is 23-year-old Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, IN aboard the CJB Motorsports #5 and 18-year-old Noah Gass of Mounds, OK in the family-owned #20G.

Veterans Jason Sides of Bartlett, TN and Kraig Kinser of Bloomington, IN will both return full-time with the Series in 2022. The #7S and #11K round out the crop of nine full-timers with winning experience at the Volusia half-mile.

Sophomore runners James McFadden of Alice Springs, NT and Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown, PA are both back for a second swing at the full World of Outlaws season. McFadden enters a new situation driving the Roth Motorsports #83, while Zearfoss remains aboard the family-owned #3Z.

All 14 of these stars will be on hand at Volusia Speedway Park to open the grueling World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car schedule when The Greatest Show on Dirt takes over at DIRTcar Nationals on February 10-12.

Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE, or watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.

ONE FOR THE 41: Carson Macedo Makes Statement with Volusia Victory from 10th

With the spin of a wrench Phil Dietz took Carson Macedo from an uneasy feeling to the best car in the field on Friday night.

The revered crew chief at Jason Johnson Racing went to work after a mediocre preliminary performance and sent the Lemoore, CA native on track with what he called “one of the best cars I’ve ever driven in my life.”

Macedo masterfully picked his way from tenth-t0-first and executed a late-race pass to steal the win from Sam Hafertepe Jr. with four laps remaining at Volusia Speedway Park. A confidence booster and chemistry builder for a driver and team that know their potential can reach championship heights in 2021 with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.

“It’s not every night that your car is that dominant,” Macedo mentioned of his Kistler powered Maxim #41. “I mean that thing was just perfect to drive. Phil [Dietz], Clyde [Knipp], and Nate [Repetz] were incredible tonight. You know, I felt really balanced and great all through DIRTcar Nationals last month, but early tonight I just didn’t feel good. Phil and the guys made a lot of changes for the feature and nailed it. I could go anywhere I wanted. I’m so happy to get a win for this team, these sponsors, a lot of really great people involved.”

Friday marked Macedo’s 7th career World of Outlaws Sprint Car victory. [Trent Gower]
At the start of Friday’s 30-lap, $10,000-to-win feature, it was Sam Hafertepe Jr. of Sunnyvale, TX and David Gravel of Watertown, CT pacing the field. Hafertepe, who won his second DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash of the season to claim pole position, bolted away and controlled the opening 11 laps. The first stoppage was a surprise when points leader Logan Schuchart stopped in turn four following contact with Gio Scelzi amidst a top five battle.

Macedo made his biggest move on that first restart, advancing four spots in one lap with a great fire off the high side of the half-mile. The next restart, however, spelled trouble when the #41 had to line up on the low line. Restarting with 17 laps remaining, Macedo surprised himself and quickly took third from Sheldon Haudenschild, and then set his sights on Hafertepe and Gravel out front.

“Hafertepe chose the outside and I was stuck on the bottom, which made me nervous,” Macedo noted on the final restart. “I was on the top every restart prior to that and the bottom wasn’t getting great starts. I didn’t really get a good start, but it was fairly decent and let me sneak back into the top groove in front of Donny. I got that run on Sheldon because he went low, and I was able to slide by him real quick. I felt like my car was as good as those guys, if not better once I got to third. I just needed traffic to move around a bit and capitalize.”

And capitalize he did. With heavy lap traffic in play, Macedo reeled in the lead duo and made it a three-way war with seven laps left. The #15H, #2 and #41 ran bumper-t0-bumper-to-bumper with the win on the line.

Macedo slid by Gravel for second on the 24th lap and two laps later, he was sliding Hafertepe for the top spot. His massive turn one slider with four laps to go was a thing of beauty, sweeping through the middle and clearing Hafertepe with ease to steal the top spot in the waning circuits.

The final four laps went by like a breeze as the 24-year-old pilot drove off into the Florida night with a 2.167-second advantage at the checkered flag. Friday’s feature victory marked the seventh of Macedo’s World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series career, and his first of the 2021 season.

Albeit only three of 80+ races are complete, Macedo still achieved a milestone by moving atop the World of Outlaws championships standings for the first time in his career. Something he knows is useless in the middle of March, but deep down means a lot to a California kid chasing his dreams.

“It doesn’t mean anything because we’re so early in the year it just doesn’t matter yet,” Macedo said on the points lead. “For me, personally, inside my own head, it’s really cool. My goal in this sport is to be a World of Outlaws champion. In order to do that, at some point you gotta lead the points. You have to clear those milestones and hit those accomplishments to get there, right? We have a team capable of winning it this year. I know it’s too early to think of that though, we’re just gonna do our best every night and let the cards fell where they fall.

Macedo is the fifth driver in five years that Phil Dietz has guided to a World of Outlaws win. [Trent Gower]
Settling for a second-place finish after leading the opening 25 laps was Sam Hafertepe Jr. aboard the Townline Variety #15H. A tough pill to swallow for a driver that’s hungry to end his nine-year winless drought with the Outlaws, but it’s the latest sign that his operation is as good as ever. Friday’s runner-up result is Hafertepe’s best Series finish since a third-place finish at Lernerville’s Silver Cup in 2013.

“We’ve made leaps and bounds compared to what we came here with in February,” Hafertepe commented on the progression of his program. “To be right here right now is like a win to us. We’ll keep building and look to get better.”

Rounding out the podium with a last-lap pass to finish third was Fresno, CA’s Gio Scelzi aboard the KCP Racing #18. It was his first night with trusted crew chief and friend Bernie Stuebgen of Indy Race Parts in the KCP camp and their revived relationship already appears to be paying dividends again.

“It’s huge, it’s like getting the band back together,” Scelzi said on working with Stuebgen again, who he won his first two Outlaw races with. “I’m feeling comfortable and confident with myself. If we keep running like this, the wins will come eventually.”

Closing out the top ten at Volusia Speedway Park was Donny Schatz in the Tony Stewart Racing #15, David Gravel in the Big Game Motorsports #2, Sheldon Haudenschild in the Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing #17, Cory Eliason in the Rudeen Racing #26, Parker Price-Miller in the PPM Racing #19, Logan Schuchart in the Shark Racing #1S, and Aaron Reutzel in the Roth Motorsports #83.

UP NEXT – On Saturday, March 6, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series ends a 38-year absence from Tampa’s East Bay Raceway Park. If needed, a Sunday rain date is scheduled to complete the show. You can BUY TICKETS HERE.

NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 41-Carson Macedo [10][$10,000]; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [1][$6,000]; 3. 18-Gio Scelzi [3][$3,500]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [8][$2,800]; 5. 2-David Gravel [2][$2,500]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [6][$2,300]; 7. 26-Cory Eliason [12][$2,200]; 8. 19-Parker Price-Miller [5][$2,100]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [4][$2,050]; 10. 83-Aaron Reutzel [9][$2,000]; 11. 49-Brad Sweet [14][$1,600]; 12. 5-Brent Marks [13][$1,400]; 13. 9-Kasey Kahne [11][$1,200]; 14. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [15][$1,100]; 15. 11K-Kraig Kinser [20][$1,050]; 16. 21-Brian Brown [7][$1,000]; 17. 33M-Mason Daniel [16][$1,000]; 18. 2C-Wayne Johnson [19][$1,000]; 19. 13-Justin Peck [21][$1,000]; 20. 7S-Jason Sides [17][$1,000]; 21. 1A-Jacob Allen [18][$1,000]; 22. 24-Terry McCarl [22][$1,000]; 23. 20-AJ Maddox [24][$1,000]; 24. 1C-Andrew Cobb [23][$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Sam Hafertepe Jr. 1-25, Carson Macedo 26-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 41-Carson Macedo[+9]