From the Cushion: Carson Macedo wins as Williams Grove stays open

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Ed. note: Dan Beaver will be rounding up happenings in dirt racing around the country this season for Motorsports Talk in his weekly “From the Cushion.”

Last week’s endless wave of postponements and cancellations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak created a fluid situation. It also created an opportunity for Carson Macedo.

After more than a half dozen tries, Macedo finally mastered Williams Grove Speedway in the 410 sprints race March 15. Macedo set himself up to be one of the favorites when the World of Outlaws is scheduled to come to the famed track Oct. 2-3.

Macedo was supposed to be in Texas last weekend, racing at Cotton Bowl Speedway and Lone Star Speedway. But when the last-minute announcement was made that the series would postpone the start of their season, he made a phone call to car owner Kyle Larson and asked for permission to head 1,500 miles north to race.

Opening day at Williams Grove has been special throughout history. Dating back to 1939 when Tommy Hinershitz won the lid lifter, this race set a tone for a racer’s career. In the 1940s and 1950s, Ted Horn, Jimmy Bryan and Johnny Mackison Sr. won it.

A.J. Foyt took the win in 1964.

The original king of the Outlaws, Jan Opperman, won this race three times in the 1970s.

Williams Grove Speedway’s 2020 season opener also was historic. Amid the COVID-19 shutdown, it was practically the only race being run around the country last weekend.

And Macedo was the only Outlaw invader on Pennsylvania Posse turf this weekend. His persistence paid off. With nine laps to go in the season opener, Macedo passed pole-sitter Ryan Smith for good.

In Macedo’s Victory Lane speech he recognized the uniqueness that Williams Grove was able to race this weekend amid rapidly tightening social and government regulations concerning the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Thank you, Williams Grove, thanks to all you fans for coming out,” Macedo said on after the race. “I know that a lot of other places aren’t racing, so to be able to come here and race is pretty special.”

The Grove has not historically been great for Macedo. In his last eight Outlaw starts the driver has an average finish of 17.5. A slew of mediocre finishes made this track a monkey on Macedo’s back.

“This is without a doubt one of the biggest wins, which seems crazy,” Macedo said. “It’s just a local show, but it’s one of the biggest wins of my career. I’ve left this place a few times thinking ‘Maybe I just don’t got it here. I just can’t figure it out.’ But to be that good today. It definitely made the trip from Texas worth it.”

Sixteen winners of the Williams Grove season opener have been inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, along with five World of Outlaw champions.

“That’s pretty cool,” Macedo replied when track announcer Bruce Ellis informed him of the stat. “This place is very, very important on our schedule with the World Of Outlaws. We come here six times. If you want to have a shot at winning a championship or running in the top three, to be on the podium in the championship, you’re going to have to be good here”.

Williams Grove was open in no small part because Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf did not intervene to put pressure on the track to postpone their opener.

It was a decision that stood on Monday.

“No, I’m not going to force them to cancel, this is something that all of us, 12.8 million Pennsylvanians are in this together, and we owe it to each other not to expose them to any symptoms that we may have and not to expose ourselves or our family members,” Wolf said in an announcement broadcast on Twitter. “People will be making their decisions on what to do with their lives all across the commonwealth over the next few days and weeks and months.

“What we ought to do is think not what we should do in what the law is, but what we owe to our fellow citizens, and that’s what I would ask of the folks at the race course.”

Williams Grove currently is scheduled to run Friday, March 20 with a combination of 410 Sprints and Super Late Models

Four Southeastern Late Model shows got under way Friday at North Georgia Speedway in Chatsworth, Georgia.

Donald McIntosh won the Ultimate Southeast Series opener by sweeping around pole-sitter Cory Hedgecock early and controlling the remainder of the trace. Hedgecock held onto second for most of the race until he was forced to give way to Zack Mitchell with three laps remaining.

Saturday night, Joshua Bishop grabbed the checkers in a $5,000-to-win Crate Late Model race at Modoc (S.C.) Raceway. It was Bishop’s first Modoc 100 victory.

Cochran Motor Speedway in Georgia doubled down with races on Saturday and Sunday.

Kyle Bronson had to make his way into the A Main from the consolation race, which left him mired deep in the field. Starting 17th, Bronson picked his way through the field to pass Mark Whitener with five laps on the scoreboard. Whitener climbed from fifth but was slowed by lapped traffic with a handful of laps remaining before being relegated to second.

On Sunday, Bronson finished second behind Will Herrington in the $5,000-to-win Cochran Clash.

Victoria Beaver contributed to this story.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming


The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.645-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Combined

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

STARTING LINEUP: Alex Palou captured the first street course pole of his IndyCar career; click here for where everyone will begin Sunday’s race

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

6 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

7 a.m.: IndyCar garage opens

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


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Marcus Ericsson, engineer Brad Goldberg have ties that run very deep

New competition elements for 2023 include an alternate oval tire

Indy 500 will be Tony Kanaan’s final race

IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host a race

IndyCar team owners weigh in on marketing plans, double points

Alexander Rossi fitting in well at McLaren

Phoenix takes flight: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

Helio Castroneves says 2023 season is “huge” for IndyCar future

How Sting Ray Robb got that name

Kyle Larson having impact on future McLaren teammates

Simon Pagenaud on why he likes teasing former teammate Josef Newgarden

HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule