PORT ROYAL, Pa. – After years of twists and turns, and countless hours learning from sprint car racing’s best, Anthony Macri finally broke through to win on the national stage Wednesday night.
Macri raced to his first victory with the Ollies’ Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions at Port Royal Speedway, topping the Keith Kauffman Classic for a $6,000 payday.
He led all 30 laps from the pole and did it against the sport’s best, with a 3.567-second triumph over red-hot Kyle Larson and Aaron Reutzel, who finished second and fourth, respectively.
“Man, I don’t know what to say,” the 21-year-old said. “This is [freaking] badass.”
Macri started his night in formidable shape, timing fourth of the 35 entrants with a lap of 16.680, compared to Brock Zearfoss’ quick lap of 16.530. He finished third in his heat, which squeaked him into one of the two dashes to decide the top 10 starting positions.
The 21-year-old started fifth in the first dash and by the backstretch of the opening lap, he streaked into clean air with the lead, from the bottom.
It was an impressive series of moves for Macri, who blew by Reutzel and eventual third-place finisher Danny Dietrich before ultimately driving away.
From there, Macri was never challenged. All he had to do was turn in two clean restarts with 20 laps to go and nine to go. Before the first caution for a slowing Tyler Bear, Macri raced out to a three-second lead over Reutzel.
Macri then saw a 1.7-second lead evaporate on the second caution for Brock Zearfoss, who slowed on the front stretch after running in the top five the entire race.
Reutzel tried throwing a slide job into turn one on the ensuing restart with nine laps to go, but appeared to abort the attempt and stay with the bottom as Macri ripped the top and pedaled away.
Two laps after the restart, Macri’s lead was back where it was before the caution at 1.8 seconds.
By the time Larson powered around Reutzel and Dietrich on one move out of turn two with five to go, the lead ballooned to three seconds, leaving the hottest racer on the planet powerless in the waning laps.
“I had the wing all the way back pretty much all race and the top lane opened for me,” said Larson, who has won nine of his past 12 races between the World of Outlaws, All Star Circuit of Champions, and USAC midgets, and finished second in the other three. “I was hoping to grip and momentum to get to second. I wasn’t very good all race.
“The last couple years, [Macri] has been up there, challenging,” Larson added. “So far this year, and even the end of last year, he’s been dominant. I know he’d be the guy to beat tonight, for sure. And then what he did in the dash tonight was impressive.
“In the feature, he was in his own zip code.”
Danny Dietrich filled out the podium, ahead of Reutzel and Brent Marks. Mike Wagner, Dylan Cisney, Cory Eliason, T.J. Stutts and Freddie Rahmer closed the top 10.
1. 39m-Anthony Macri ; 2. 57-Kyle Larson ; 3. 48-Danny Dietrich ; 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 5. 5-Brent Marks ; 6. 55-Mike Wagner ; 7. 5c-Dylan Cisney ; 8. 26-Cory Eliason ; 9. 11t-T.J. Stutts ; 10. 51-Freddie Rahmer ; 11. 35-Tyler Reeser ; 12. 1-Logan Wagner ; 13. 11-Zeb Wise ; 14. 17-Josh Baughman ; 15. 39-Cale Thomas ; 16. 14-Tony Stewart ; 17. 12-Blane Heimbach ; 18. 2-A.J. Flick ; 19. 98-Kyle Reinhardt ; 20. 20-Ryan Taylor ; 21. 13-Paul McMahan ; 22. 3z-Brock Zearfoss ; 23. 24-Rico Abreu ; 24. 91-Tony Fiore ; 25. 25-Tyler Bear ; 26. 57j-Jeff Miller ; 27. 07-Gerard McIntyre ; 28. 70-Sye Lynch .