From Brian Walker / worldofoutlaws.com
With pressure mounting and the calendar winding down, James McFadden came through in the clutch and found his way back to Victory Lane in Saturday’s Lakeside Speedway Showdown presented by Micro-Lite.
Ending an 81-race drought that dates back to September 2021, the Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia native provided an outstanding charge as he led the final 11 laps to make his long-awaited return to the win column with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
Not only did the sigh of relief net J-Mac his fifth career win with The Greatest Show on Dirt, but it came with perfect timing on the night that his Hall of Fame car owner was being honored at the Dennis Roth Classic in California. He’s now the 15th different driver to win aboard the iconic #83 and delivered Roth his 99th win as a car owner with the Series.
Entering Saturday, McFadden’s 2022 World of Outlaws stat line read as four runner-up finishes, 10 podium appearances, 21 top-five results, 37 top-10 showings, and 0 wins. That is no longer the case, though.
“Going 70+ races without a win really wears you down,” McFadden admitted with relief. “It’s been such a long wait. This is a testament to Dennis and Teresa for sticking by us and these guys working on the car. We’ve always had good speed, but could never finish it off this season. It’s such a big relief. You talk about it and you see the stats, but think you’ll be fine. Then all of a sudden there is 10 races left, and now five races, and you really start to worry. Winning in such an iconic car is a privilege. Now I want to get them to 100 wins.”
Charging to victory from the third spot, McFadden slipped back to fourth in the early running as he trailed Giovanni Scelzi, Logan Schuchart, and Aaron Reutzel. He waited in the wings as Scelzi and Schuchart offered a sensation battle for the lead near halfway, swapping the top spot on four occasions, officially.
McFadden pounced on Schuchart to take second on Lap 17, then quickly hunt down Scelzi to clear a super slider and lead Lap 20. The final restart with seven laps left presented one final challenge for the Australia ace, but one he mastered as he ran off to a 0.557-second margin of victory.
“I wish [son] Maverick was here to stand on the frontstretch with me, but I’m gonna get back and celebrate with him tomorrow,” an elated McFadden added. “This win is big for me and it’s big for all of these guys – Brent Ventura, Gary Patellaro, Rob Beattie – who work their butts off for me. When you have bad nights and travel up and down the road together, it gets tough. It doesn’t matter what the relationship is whether it’s your wife, son, or the team. These guys deserve this.”
After leading on three separate occasions for a total of 15 laps, Giovanni Scelzi ultimately slipped back to finish second aboard the KCP Racing #18. The Fresno, CA native was trying to join Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell as the only back-to-back winners at Lakeside but fell short by 0.557-seconds following the final restart on Lap 23.
“I really wanted to win that one and go back-to-back but watching James win on the same night of the Roth Classic is really cool,” Scelzi admitted. “My car was great all night, I honestly don’t know what I would’ve changed. I was running it as hard as I could there at the end and thought I would get back to him. He just out-raced me in lap traffic, I think it was as simple as that.”
Rounding out the podium and earning his sixth-straight top-five finish was David Gravel in the Big Game Motorsports #2. The strong result snapped his nine-race spell of zero top-fives at Lakeside and chopped another two points out of Brad Sweet’s championship lead. The 30-year-old Connecticut racer now trails by 54-points with four races remaining in the $200,000 title chase.
“A great weekend for us in the grand scheme of things,” Gravel said afterward. “It’s nice to beat the #49 again, but only two points don’t help that much – he’s leading the points for a reason, though, he’s the most consistent guy out here. I felt like my car was great through the middle stages tonight, but I faded a bit near the end. I’m really happy with the product my guys are giving me right now when they send me on the track. I’m going to go home and enjoy some family time and focus on that $75,000 next weekend.”
Closing out the top five at Lakeside Speedway was Brad Sweet in fourth place aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49, and Sheldon Haudenschild in fifth place in the Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17.
Rounding out the top-10 on Saturday was a group of full-time Outlaws including the #1S of Logan Schuchart in sixth, the #41 of Carson Macedo in seventh, the #15 of Donny Schatz in eighth, the #3Z of Brock Zearfoss in ninth, and the #1A of Jacob Allen in 10th.
UP NEXT (Sat):
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will head back to “The Keystone State” next Saturday, October 22 to finish the 60th annual Champion Racing Oil National Open. The famous battle between the Outlaws and PA Posse pays out $75,000-to-win at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (30 Laps):
1. 83-James McFadden [$10,000]; 2. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$6,000]; 3. 2-David Gravel [$3,500]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,800]; 5. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,500]; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,300]; 7. 41-Carson Macedo [$2,200]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,100]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$2,050]; 10. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,000]; 11. 9-Kasey Kahne [$1,600]; 12. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$1,400]; 13. 5-Spencer Bayston [$1,200]; 14. 21-Brian Brown [$1,100]; 15. 2KS-Ian Madsen [$1,050]; 16. 5T-Ryan Timms [$1,000]; 17. 3-Ayrton Gennetten [$1,000]; 18. 1-Justin Henderson [$1,000]; 19. 22-Riley Goodno [$1,000]; 20. 7S-Robbie Price [$1,000]; 21. 8-Aaron Reutzel [$1,000]; 22. 6-Bill Rose [$]; 23. 1X-Jake Bubak [$1,000]; 24. 24X-Terry McCarl [$1,000]; 25. 24-Garet Williamson [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Giovanni Scelzi 1-8, 12-13, 15-19; Logan Schuchart 9-11, 14; James McFadden 20-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 5-Spencer Bayston[+8]
Championship Standings (70/74 Races):
1. Brad Sweet (6,752); 2. David Gravel (-54); 3. Carson Macedo (-136); 4. Donny Schatz (-240); 5. Sheldon Haudenschild (-258); 6. Logan Schuchart (-394); 7. James McFadden (-474); 8. Spencer Bayston (-620); 9. Jacob Allen (-706); 10. Brock Zearfoss (-972).
See the full story and results:
Photo: worldofoutlaws.com / Trent Gower
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