by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher
Coming into Friday night at Attica Raceway Park, just 39 points separated the top four in points. Cole Macedo had a nice 34 point lead over second place DJ Foos, then Trey Jacobs and Travis Philo were 37 and 39 points back, respectively. With four races remaining, including a double points night on Season Championship night in two weeks time, the door was still open for one of the top four to come away with a championship. No one had a bigger target on his back than Cole Macedo, and Macedo certainly stepped up to the plate in a big way.
The top five in points took up the top five starting spots as the field came to green for the 30 lap feature. Cole Macedo and Travis Philo were on the front row, with Trey Jacobs, DJ Foos, and Stuart Brubaker rounding out the top five. The start between Macedo and Philo was frantic. Philo threw a slider on Macedo going into the first turns, taking the lead for a split-second before Macedo cut under and powered-by down the backstretch, retaking the lead. Philo wasn’t done, and found himself side-by-side with Macedo in turns three and four and down the front stretch. Macedo led the first lap, barely. Philo and Macedo avoided disaster in turns one and two on the following lap, as they almost made contact coming out of turn two. Macedo had the better run down the backstretch and was able to pull away from Philo.
The first yellow of the feature came on lap two as Jordan Ryan spun out of fifth spot as he was trying to make a move on DJ Foos for fourth in turns one and two. Macedo nailed the ensuing restart and started clicking off laps. The Californian’s lead went from 1.046 seconds on lap three to 1.438 seconds on lap five as he approached lapped traffic. Even with lapped traffic, Macedo still put a little bit of time on Philo, until the lapped traffic got heavier around lap seven. Macedo was able to get around some of the lapped cars, and then continued to put more time between himself and Philo, eventually building a 3.021 second lead at the halfway point, as Philo had his hands full with Trey Jacobs.
“Every time I got to lapped traffic I struggled for a couple laps, just not knowing where the cushion was and where I needed to be. They were throwing stuff up in front of me and it was hard to see. I’m glad we had a couple of good cautions that were able to get us lined back up and give me another ten to fifteen laps before I got to them again,” Macedo said.
The yellow came out for a second time on lap 15, which wiped out Macedo’s lead, but put him back in clean air. Philo tried the bottom on the restart, since that was where Jacobs was making his time, but it was all Macedo as he ripped the top. From laps 18 to 19, Macedo’s lead grew from 2.015 seconds to 2.909 seconds, as Jacobs claimed the second spot from Philo. That’s where things started to get interesting.
Jacobs was still on the bottom, and he was making up considerable time on Macedo. By lap 22, Jacobs had Macedo’s lead down to 1.409 seconds, and lapped traffic was ahead for Macedo. It was exactly what Jacobs wanted to see as he closed in on the leader. What Jacobs didn’t want to see, was what exactly came out: the yellow flag.
“Trey is really good on the bottom. Most of the races he’s won here, and kind of everywhere is right around the bottom. I saw he was in second, and he kind of pulled up next to me, maybe trying to get into my head,” stated Macedo.
“I was really contemplating what I needed to do; whether I needed to go down and protect or not. I finally decided that I’m not as good as him to run the bottom, so I committed to the top and luckily it paid off,” continued Macedo.
This once again put the Ray Brooks Racing 18 car back in clean air for the restart. The green flag was short-lived as Thomas Schinderle found himself going for a ride off of turns one and two, bringing out the red flag. On the next, and final restart, Macedo went to the top as Jacobs rolled the bottom. The top was just too good and Macedo cruised to the lead as Philo and Jacobs reignited their battle for second on laps 23 and 24. That would be exactly what Macedo wanted to see as he put 2.483 seconds between the battling Jacobs and Philo.
Macedo would cruise to his tenth win of the season between 360 and 410 competition, and his third Attica Raceway Park win by a margin of 3.982 seconds over Philo and Foos. This win will extend Macedo’s lead in the Attica points standings with three races left on the calendar in Attica as everyone prepares for a double-header at Attica next weekend.
“It was definitely a good night, and we definitely took advantage of a good starting spot,” said Macedo. “We haven’t had very many front rows [starting spots] here this year, we’ve had a lot of luck at other tracks, but for some reason, we haven’t been able to start on the front row. So I’m glad we could take advantage of that pole starting spot.”