PORT ROYAL, Pa. — Anthony Macri knows he’s had the car to beat all year at Port Royal Speedway this season.
On Friday, Macri felt he let the Night Before the 50 at Port Royal slip away. Heading into tonight’s prestigious Tuscarora 50, Macri is trying to compose his 21-year-old self and put an exclamation point on a breakout season.
Once again, Macri showed top-flight speed on Friday, but he fell into the trap of chasing Kyle Larson and lost out to Lance Dewease’s patience.
“I needed to be smarter,” Macri said. “I used my stuff up at the beginning. I got a little excited racing with Larson. I think I needed to calm down a little bit racing with Larson. We would’ve been there at the end but we kind of faded pretty bad.”
Macri has won six times this season at Port Royal and practically all of them have come convincingly. If he wanted his seventh victory Friday, he needed to work for it. But Macri spent much of the 30-lap race trying to keep pace with Larson and subsequently burning too much right-rear tire.
“When it was my time to pounce, soon as I did that, I started spinning the tires real bad,” Macri said. “I just wasn’t being real smart, not driving the right part of the race track.”
Dewease, the eventual winner, passed Macri with six laps to go and that’s when he settled in, perhaps not having to stare down Larson as the next car he needed to pass. Even after his win Monday at Port Royal, Macri expressed the importance of racing with Larson with a clear mind.
“If we let Larson clog our heads, it’s not going to be good,” Macri said earlier in the week.
Last year, Macri finished second to Aaron Reutzel in the 52nd installment of the Tuscarora 50. That seemed to be the start of his rise through the sprint car ranks. Just a few weeks later, he finished second to Donny Schatz at Port Royal. Now, his seven victories this year have him eighth on the national win list.
His ninth win would be monumental: a $53,000-to-win payday and name cemented in the history books alongside sprint car racing’s elite.
“It’s going to take a whole lot of patience,” Macri said. “I think we have every single chance at winning it. I know Jim and my guys are going to give me one hell of a piece. It’s going to be up to me to not lose my cool like I did tonight. … I’m feeling pretty confident.”