Chase Randall (photo by Paul Trevino)
MERCED, Calif. — For Chase Randall, it’s not a question of if he’ll win a sprint car race at Merced Speedway but when, and that question was answered on Thanksgiving Eve.
Heading into Wednesday’s race, Randall had three consecutive sprint car top-five finishes in the quarter-mile along with a pair of podiums. After a frantic 30 laps, Randall finally stood atop the Merced podium as the winner.
The race saw five different leaders and Randall managed to position himself for the fifth and final top spot as the Waco, Texas, driver claimed the nation’s final winged sprint car race for 2022.
Corey Day and Chance Grasty made up the front row as the green flag flew, with Grasty leading the way from the outside.
With just a few laps to go, Day had gained enough momentum to slide past Grasty by one to take the top spot. Soon, a caution flew and a pattern of misfortune began to strike the leader.
Day’s left-rear tire fell off during the yellow, sending him into the works and losing the lead to Grasty.
Grasty was first, but new runner-up Dominic Scelzi didn’t let him. Scelzi made a move on Grasty and got through at the bottom of turns three and four, taking the top spot before another yellow flew.
At the start, Carson Macedo made some big moves on the outside to put himself in second place and start to take Scelzi’s lead.
As the two entered traffic, Scelzi found himself slowed by a car below, allowing Macedo to rip past him for the lead. After being passed, Scelzi adjusted his line to keep Macedo ahead. Scelzi rounded the bottom of turns three and four to draw alongside him.
Heading into the first turn, Macedo slid to protect, and Scelzi stayed door to door with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car star.
More bad luck befell the leader as Macedo, still next to Scelzi, entered turn three quite aggressively, overtaking the cushion and spinning to release another cation.
Under yellow, the lead was again not the place to be Scelzi who suffered a flat right rear and ended his night.
Those back-to-back issues gave Chase Randall the lead, and “The Quickest Chicken” benefited from his good fortune.
On the restart, Randall took a slight lead before Justin Sanders quickly began to catch up by tearing up the cushion. Sanders managed to get ahead for a lap, but Randall didn’t budge, passing Sanders with a slider to regain the lead.
From there, Sanders stayed close but couldn’t put it together for another challenge for the lead as Randall won with Sanders just behind.
“That was an up and down race for me in the car,” Randall said. “I was really good at the start and then I was a little confused about where I was going in the middle of the race. Then I kind of found a line that worked for me in (turns) three and four to hang with Dominic and Carson. We had a lot of luck on our side with Carson overdriving just a little bit and it sucked for Dominic that they had a flat tire. Luck was in our favor this time and we got the win.”
After an early flat tire, Day charged up to third to complete the podium.