By Alex Nieten
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (May 11, 2023) – Anthony Macri’s reputation has been built almost entirely on his prowess banging the boards.
“The Concrete Kid” added even more support for that reputation Wednesday night at Abbottstown, PA’s Lincoln Speedway.
Macri saw one final chance at victory in the last corner of the Gettysburg Clash. One chance to rip the cushion better than he had all race. He was prepared to do everything he could. He was ready to bring a junked racecar back to the hauler. Leader Brent Marks went low. Macri sent it around the top. It stuck.
The Pennsylvania crowd roared as the checkered flag waved. Macri powered off the cushion exiting Turn 4 and edged ahead of Marks as the two crossed the finish line. After 34 laps of chasing Marks, Macri pulled it off in the final corner in perfect Macri-fashion to score one for the PA Posse.
“He peeled to the bottom, and I saw the opportunity to hammer the top,” Macri explained of the Hail Mary move. “I was kind of expecting him to go to the top in (Turns) 3 and 4, too. When he peeled down there, I sailed it in there probably as hard as I did all Feature long, and I was prepared to either junk the thing or come out on top. It paid off. This feels pretty badass.”
The victory marked Macri’s third with The Greatest Show on Dirt. The entire trio have come in his home state of Pennsylvania after sweeping last October’s Nittany Showdown at Port Royal Speedway. But becoming the 27th different driver to win a World of Outlaws race at Lincoln had an extra layer of significance for Macri.
Before he won at Port Royal, everyone expected him to eventually beat the World of Outlaws at the half mile due to his astonishing record at the facility. But Lincoln has never been his specialty. The three-eighths mile isn’t a track where he’s automatically circled as a favorite – making the celebration all the more gratifying.
“Outlaw wins are really hard to come by,” Macri said. “Everyone probably expected them at Port Royal last year from us, but to come here and get an Outlaw win at Lincoln is pretty shocking to me because this track isn’t really my wheelhouse. But Joe (Mooney) has got us rolling on smaller tracks right now, and we had a good car. I don’t know. This is just amazing.”
Macri’s route to the win began from outside row two as he lined up fourth for the 35 lap Feature. Early on, pole sitter Marks pulled comfortably ahead.
Marks’ advantage continued to grow in large part due to the war taking place behind him. As he ran a smooth line every lap with the top spot, Chad Trout, David Gravel, Macri, and Brad Sweet were throwing haymakers for positions two through five.
Eventually, Macri was able to establish control of the runner-up spot shortly before the halfway mark and focus on running his own line. The gap between he and Marks began to shrink little by little.
As the laps dwindled, Macri began to take big chunks out of Marks’ lead. Macri pounded the top while Marks rolled the bottom. When it looked like the battle for the top spot was about to heat up in traffic, the yellow flag flew – setting up a six lap dash to the finish.
When racing resumed, Marks opted to change his line to the top, leaving Macri searching on the bottom. Working the lower line is something Macri has been strengthening in his repertoire this year, so he dove down without hesitation when the #19 took the top away.
Once he found a rhythm, Macri again began to reel in Marks. Coming to the white flag, Macri showed him a nose, enough to make Marks change his line on the final circuit. Marks went low. Macri went high. And the result was a finish that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I lifted because my ass started puckering because the wall was coming,” Macri said with a laugh of the final corner. “As soon as I got into the wall, I mashed the gas, and after that I don’t think it came off the floor pan.”
The win also marked Joe Mooney’s first with the World of Outlaws since becoming the Macri Motorsports crew chief. Mooney joined the team after a championship winning stint as car chief on Brad Sweet’s Kasey Kahne Racing #49.
Behind the #39M was the #19 of Marks when the checkered flag flew. After leading the entire race except the final few hundred feet, the Myerstown, PA native couldn’t help but be a little disappointed with the outcome as he notched his 29th World of Outlaws podium. Marks explained that when he saw Macri’s nose coming to the white flag, he didn’t want to fall victim to a move he used on Macri at the same track last year.
“Our car really changed there a lot the last 10 or so laps, just started sliding around and losing my drive and just wasn’t feeling very good,” Marks explained. “No matter where I was on the racetrack, I wasn’t feeling that great. Anthony showed his nose down here in (Turns) 3 and 4, and that’s how I beat him here last year for the Dirt Classic race rolling around the bottom there. I went down to try to protect it but we just slid up out of it and couldn’t get a run off the bottom there to hold the lead.”
Rounding out the podium was the highest finishing World of Outlaws full-timer – David Gravel – as he stopped a potential sweep of the podium for the Posse. It was not only Gravel’s Series leading ninth top three of the season aboard the Big Game Motorsports #2, but it also marked his 200th career World of Outlaws podium. Gravel became only the 16th driver to reach the mark.
“I felt like we had a really fast racecar around the top,” Gravel said. “I felt like we were just as fast as anybody around the top, but Anthony was really good running the bottom of (Turns) 3 and 4, and that’s kind of how he got back by me and won him the race. I think we had a really strong car. Hot Laps and Qualifying we weren’t very good. Heat Race, honestly, we weren’t very good. We made the car really good in the Dash. I think we had a really good car in the Feature as well but needed to be better when the track got slower and around the bottom.”
Completing the top five was Danny Dietrich and Brad Sweet. Sweet’s fifth place effort helped him extend his advantage atop the standings to 24 markers. There’s a new driver behind him as Gravel took over the runner-up spot from Carson Macedo.
The KSE Racing Hard Charger of the Feature was Kyle Moody with a charge from 26th to 13th.
Macri began the night by picking up his second Simpson QuickTime Award of the season and the sixth of his career.
CASE #No1EngineOil Heat One was claimed by Anthony Macri (seventh Heat win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heat Races Two through Four were topped by David Gravel (211th of career), Justin Peck (fifth of career), and Donny Schatz (507th of career).
Sheldon Haudenschild won the MicroLite Last Chance Showdown.
UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars head to Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA) this weekend (May 12-13) for the Morgan Cup. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action on DIRTVision.
A Feature (35 Laps): 1. 39M-Anthony Macri; 2. 19-Brent Marks; 3. 2-David Gravel; 4. 48-Danny Dietrich; 5. 49-Brad Sweet; 6. 5-Spencer Bayston; 7. 1X-Chad Trout; 8. 13-Justin Peck; 9. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 10. 5E-Brandon Rahmer; 11. 15-Donny Schatz; 12. 8-Freddie Rahmer; 13. 99M-Kyle Moody; 14. 23-Devon Borden; 15. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 16. 44-Dylan Norris; 17. 11-Cory Eliason; 18. 41-Carson Macedo; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 20. 11T-TJ Stutts; 21. 5W-Lucas Wolfe; 22. 2D-Chase Dietz; 23. 1M-Landon Myers; 24. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 25. 7S-Robbie Price; 26. 16-Matt Campbell; 27. 1A-Jacob Allen