T.J.’s Takeaways from the Knight Before the Kings Royal

Eldora Speedway. (Dan McFarland photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

(July 14, 2023) — The Knight Before the Kings Royal is in the books at Eldora Speedway and we are only one sleep away from seeing a sprint car driver crowned king. Thanks to an smooth night of World of Outlaws competition I plan on catching up on some sleep, but before that here are my takeaways from Friday.

  • It is safe to say that Carson Macedo is back to his normal self after his stellar performance this week at Eldora Speedway. There were signs this could happen following Macedo’s vicious crash and fire at Knoxville Raceway when he won last week at Wilmot Raceway. Comparing success at Wilmot to the high-speed track at Eldora is difficult to do, but Macedo has been up to the challenge all week finishing on the podium in every feature event so far.

    Macedo nor Jason Johnson Racing have won the Kings Royal, and it would be a huge accomplishment for both parties. Macedo’s career started to take off when he ran locally in Ohio while JJR would love to add another crown jewel event to their trophy case.

    After following in the tire tracks of Logan Schuchart last night, Macedo found himself leading the pack early and did well getting through traffic, at one point getting away from Brad Sweet by pinning Sweet behind a slower car he had cleared.

    If Macedo is still ailing from the Knoxville Crash, he has not shown it at Eldora this week, and after tonight’s performance strengthens his position as one of the favorites to wear the crown on Saturday.

  • For those that have wanted to see some vintage Eldora action, you are getting it in the feature event this week. For the first time in a while Eldora has been top lane dominant throughout the Kings Royal and Eldora Million weekend at feature event time. Drivers in every feature event have blasted around Eldora’s high wire act on top of the high banks while drivers on the bottom have not been able to make up as much ground.

    The humidity has been increasing in the evening every night this week and it felt as humid at main event time on Friday as it’s been all week. This allowed drivers to rip around the top for three days right up against Eldora’s unforgiving concrete wall. While the heat races were slick to the fence, a track rework helped pick up the pace and by main event time drivers were hammering the top.

    The difference on Friday compared to previous nights were the slower cars also running the top of the track rather than struggling on the bottom of the racetrack. This allowed Sweet to have a solid opportunity to take the lead with five laps to go in the main event. Macedo was up to the challenge and drove back to the lead before the start finish line.

    I would expect to see the same kind of conditions on Saturday unless rain moves into the area as predicted tomorrow morning. Heavy rain showers could be a game changer and alter how the track has raced compared to the rest of the week.

  • If you plan to come to Eldora for the Kings Royal on Saturday and have not purchased a ticket yet, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible. I was floored when the track announced all the reserved seats for the event were sold out for the first time before the event. At some point general admission seats will run out, and this is likely going to be one of the largest if not the largest, crowds in Eldora Speedway history.

    This just shows how well Eldora Speedway is doing right now. When I walk around the grounds employees are helpful and friendly, the staff is always working to find a way to make things better for fans and competitors alike. They have somehow managed to improve every aspect of the facility while keeping some of the traditional charm of a historic racing facility.

    Even though the Kings Royal has taken a back seat in hype to the Million on Thursday, I feel the 40th Kings Royal could be a milestone event that will be remembered for a very long time.