TULSA, Okla. — Surprisingly, Carson Macedo will make his debut at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals when the 35th edition of the Super Bowl of Midget Racing takes place Jan. 11-16.
Macedo, from Lemoore, Calif., will wheel the No. 21 for Tarlton Motorsports inside the River Spirit Expo Center as he chases rookie-of-the-race honors.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series regular has traditionally gone to Australia during the winterto drive winged sprint cars and midgets for Dyson Motorsport, but COVID-19 travel restrictions and other factors led him down a different path this year.
“The fact that I’ve never done (the Chili Bowl) has to do just with my priorities in racing and what I want to do long term,” Macedo explained when reached by phone on Monday. “My overall goal is to be a World of Outlaws sprint car champion, so I see that as going to Australia and racing sprint cars and midgets … but mostly winged sprint cars, during the winter, because that is more important to me.
“Not only that, but I really, really enjoy my time over there. Sean and Felicity Dyson, the family that I drive for in Australia, they’re like family to me and I’m very, very close with them,” he added. “The time that I get to spend over there during my offseason months is special to me. I would rather be there with them racing winged sprint cars normally than to be here (stateside) just for the Chili Bowl, even though I do think it’s a really cool race. It just hasn’t been a main priority for me in the past.
“This year, though, with everything going on with COVID-19 and everything else, it has made it really hard to be able to go over to Australia and race. Between that and the fact I have some things that I need to get done in the month of December — just a couple of little medical things that I need to handle — it just made sense for me to stay here this year and it gave me the opportunity to race the Chili Bowl.”
Macedo competed in a full season of midget racing for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports in 2016, before he turned his focus to winged sprint cars on a full-time basis.
Macedo had a chance to compete at the Chili Bowl once before and turned the opportunity down.
“I think my best shot to do it was back at the end of 2016,” Macedo said of racing in the Chili Bowl. “I raced for KKM for that entire year and I actually had the plans to run at Chili Bowl in January of ’17. But when I realized that I wasn’t going to race full time in midgets again the following year and I was going to go and transition into sprint car racing, it just made more sense for me to stay in Australia that winter.
“I talked it over with Keith and with the Tarlton family, who was actually supporting me to be in a Keith Kunz Motorsports ride that year, I just said that I think it’d be a better decision for me to stay in Australia … and they agreed. So I ended up not running then,” Macedo continued. “Honestly, up until this point, I’ve never really worried about it, but with the opportunity to be here and not going to Australia, it just made sense to take a stab at it this go round.
“The Tarlton family has really, really good equipment with their midget program now, so that got me excited that they wanted to do it.”
Macedo collected a USAC Western States Midget Series victory aboard the Tarlton No. 21 on Oct. 30 at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, Calif., and the program has been building momentum quickly.
That has him confident that he can be a threat not only for rookie-of-the-race honors at the Chili Bowl, but for a starting spot in the 55-lap championship feature.
“I really have enjoyed racing the midget for the Tarltons. They have a King Chassis with a Speedway Toyota engine and it’s the best of the best equipment,” Macedo said. “Luckily, it makes it a lot easier for me to do well when I do bounce back and race with them every once in a while. We had a little bit of success out in California racing with the national guys and then won that race in Hanford, so I’m really excited. I think that we have a really good shot.
“It’s actually just going to be a small crew, me, my brother Cole and Drew Warner (son of champion World of Outlaws crew chief Ricky Warner), but we’ll go out and see what we can do for a week.”