NASCAR & Auto Racing

Weather permitting, Outlaws sprint cars start California swing this weekend in Tulare

Carson Macedo of Lemoore drives the Kyle Larson Racing sprint car early in the 2019 season, Macedo’s first with the team.
Carson Macedo of Lemoore drives the Kyle Larson Racing sprint car early in the 2019 season, Macedo’s first with the team. courtesy World of Outlaws

The World of Outlaws national sprint car tour is set to begin its annual March swing through California this weekend in Tulare – weather permitting.

The Outlaws have eight dates in the state this month starting Friday-Saturday at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway. There’s also a scheduled Friday, March 29 stop at Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford.

Of course, the “Greatest Show on Dirt” doesn’t work when the clay tracks get too wet, so drivers, car owners, promoters and fans will be paying close attention to the forecast. Already this season, the Outlaws have had four of seven events rained out across Florida and Texas.

When the sprint cars do hit the track, it’ll be an exciting time for central San Joaquin Valley fans because of the competitive local drivers and cars.

The Easton-based Roth Motorsports team is leading the points standings with Oklahoma driver Daryn Pittman. And last weekend in Las Vegas, 17-year-old Fresno driver Gio Scelzi jumped into another Roth car and had finishes of fifth and 12th. Scelzi will campaign this month in the Roth car but has season plans to rejoin Indianapolis car owner Bernie Stuebgen for racing in the Midwest with various organizations.. Last year, the Scelzi-Stuebgen combo produced an Outlaws win in Pennsylvania that made Scelzi the youngest winner in series history.

Lemoore 22-year-old Carson Macedo is realizing his dream with a full-time ride in Outlaws, joining Kyle Larson Racing. Macedo got his best finish of the young season (sixth) in the finale at Las Vegas. He, too, already has an Outlaws victory, from back in 2014 with the Easton-based Tarlton Racing team.

Kingsburg’s Cory Eliason, 27, is with the Washington-based Rudeen Racing team and had a best finish at Las Vegas of eighth. The Rudeen team won the final night of last year’s Trophy Cup at Tulare. Eliason figures to spend a lot of time this year racing in the Midwest with various organizations.

Many more talented Valley drivers and teams figure to challenge the Outlaws during their California swing including Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto and DJ Netto and the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports team with driver Bud Kaeding of Hanford.

The Tarlton team has partnered with West Coast veteran Ryan Bernal of Hollister.

Fresno racer Craig Stidham is recovering from injuries (broken arm, cracked ribs) suffered in a frightening crash Feb. 23 at Hanford. Stidham tweeted that he’ll be back in a few weeks.