PORT ROYAL, Pa. – Anthony Macri doubtlessly gunned his No. 39 into turn three of his heat race Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway, attempting an eyebrow-raising slide job on then-leader Jeff Miller.
Contact ensued, but as imagined, it stuck.
That hearty move marked a sign for things to come on Saturday night, as nothing could contain Macri, who raced from seventh to win the 25-lap, $5,000-to-win 410 sprint car feature at Port Royal Speedway. Macri earned a 1.120-second win over Dylan Cisney.
It was also his second victory in a row at the track, justifying an elite level of confidence from the 21-year-old.
“Confidence is an all-time high right now,” Macri said. “I’d say our car tonight was better than it was last week. I could really maneuver around when other guys seemed like they couldn’t. I could get through lapped traffic better than them.”
Macri knew from the onset he had another race-winning machine, and it became apparent through that eyebrow-raising slide-job that sent him off to the races.
“It was kind of a dumb move,” said Macri, his boldness yielding to honesty. “But I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to make money.”
Thanks to a caution for an idle Brent Marks with nine laps to go, Macri made his race-winning move following the restart.
After racing from seventh to second up to that point, it took not even two laps for Macri to overtake Cisney, who thought he was well positioned for his third win of the season in Central Pennsylvania.
“We were really good,” Cisney said. “I don’t think I needed the yellow. The car was about perfect. I don’t know what we needed to do to get better. I was kind of surprised he got by us.”
But that seems to be the kind of advancement Macri is making in Pennsylvania and the statistics back it up. Over the past 11 races at Port Royal Speedway, dating back to Aug. 24, 2019, Macri has three wins and six total podium finishes.
In fact, three of those podium finishes are runner-ups, with two of those runner-ups coming to Donny Schatz and Aaron Reutzel, respectively. He’s also finished outside the top five just twice.
“It’s crazy to think about, really,” said Macri, whose rise to stardom centers around crew chief Jimmy Shuttlesworth.
Shuttlesworth, a veteran presence with loads of knowledge, came on board with Macri after last year’s Knoxville Nationals the second week of August and things have resoundingly trended upward since.
“This is what Jim and I do during the week,” Macri said, referring to this tenacious pursuit. “We do our homework. We scratch our heads and figure out how we can better.”
Justin Whittal drew the pole and led the opening 11 laps before Cisney drove from sixth to first on lap 12.
Whittal and Cisney’s battle for the lead that spanned three laps allowed Macri to close in, and on lap 13, the three leaders were separated by just .105 seconds at the stripe.
While Macri impressed again, Logan Wagner put on a show himself. The reigning two-time track champion finished fifth from 20th on Saturday night, but that wasn’t all.
A torn-up race car in his heat race due to a slide-job gone awry forced Wagner to the B-main, where he raced his way from 10th to finish second. Between the A- and B-mains, Wagner advanced 23 positions in 35 laps.
“Still a lot of equipment tore up,” Wagner said. “Sucks to trash the car. We were good. We got better from the B-Main to the feature. Hats off to the crew. They worked their [tails] off.”
While Macri reflected on another dominant, triumphant night, three well-known figures approached the 21-year-old in a matter of 10 seconds.
“You ran a helluva race,” one of Cisney’s crew members told.
Moments before, two-time track champion Mike Wagner congratulated him with a handshake.
“Kid’s terrible!” joked Robbie Kendall, before sticking out his beer. “Here’s your beer. You can have one now.”
Macri did just turn 21 this past Tuesday, so it was a legal offer. It’s also a humbling reminder that Saturday night is just the beginning for Macri and company.
“He wants to learn,” Shuttlesworth said. “He wants to get better.”