CHICO, CA – Sept. 5 – Six races into the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season, Carson Macedo found himself in victory lane for the first time as a full-time rookie at Silver Dollar Speedway.
That night was his second win overall.
Six months later, before the series’ return to the quarter-mile speedway on Sept. 6-7, Macedo and his Kyle Larson Racing team have amassed two more victories and currently sit sixth in the championship point standings.
It’s the Lemoore, Calif., native’s first year with KLR and his crew chief Joe Gaerte’s first time back on the World of Outlaws tour full-time in several years.
“I think it’s been up and down,” Macedo said about his rookie year. “I think we had a real strong start to the year, which I somewhat expected because we were running through California at the beginning of the year, which is where I’m from and probably where I ran the majority of my career, at least starting out.
“It’s easy to be up and down. You go to so many new tracks so often.”
Some of those tracks have been tough, while others he’s found speed right – including Black Hills Speedway where he won in his first appearance there. Having Gaerte, who had previously raced full-time with the series and who he had been working with since 2016, come to KLR with him as his crew chief has been a huge advantage, Macedo said.
When Macedo was hired by Kyle Larson and Paul Silva, the team’s general manager, to drive the No. 2 car for the 2019 season, Macedo said they wanted Gaerte to be his crew chief as much as he did.
“He (Gaerte) raced the World of Outlaws tour for a long time,” Macedo said. “He got off the road and he’s built engines. He’s literally been through every aspect of the sport. And I’ve been able to work with him the past two years prior to this deal. We’ve ran huge seasons, over 50 races. I think that was a big deal right off the bat. It would be hard to come out here with a new crew chief you’ve never worked with, new cars. I mean we already had a lot of new stuff thrown at us. I think he’ll be with me for a long time.
“This deal is a long-term deal. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but KLR,” Macedo added. “I just hope that we can stay together for a long time and just build something together. Because that’s the biggest thing out here. I mean the guys you see doing really well out here, they’ve built something. The 15 car, Donny has built that relationship with his crew guys. They’ve been together for so long and won a lot of championships. I just think that keeping that core together and building something is the biggest thing out here. Very rarely do you see short-term results.
“I just hope that me and Joe can stay together and keep building. With hard work on my end and obviously on his part, I think we could be anywhere we want to be someday.”
When Macedo and Gaerte first stared working together in 2016, Gaerte said they “hit it off.” Despite their age difference, the two gelled and found speed right away. They were in sync.
Last year, driving Gaerte’s car, Macedo finished second in points with the All Star Circuit of Champions after accumulating five wins.
“I can kind of read what he needs and make it work,” Gaerte said. “I know what he’s going to say before he says it. It’s been good that way. I mean, we do miss it, obviously. Some of these tracks neither one of us have seen before. Some of them he’s seen. Some of them I’ve seen.
“We struggle like anybody, but I think if we can be in the top 10 about every night, I think that’s pretty good for a first-year team.”
To continue reading, advance to the next page.