McFadden tempers self-doubt with Devil’s Bowl victory
MESQUITE, TX (April 1, 2023) - Even after an early season World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car win at Volusia Speedway Park, some doubt had begun to creep into James McFadden’s mind after a tough recent stretch.
Ever since starting the season strong in Florida with four top-10s in five races, the Roth Motorsports pilot endured some struggles that saw him post four straight results of 13th or worse heading into the Federated Auto Parts Texas Outlaw Nationals finale at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
The doubt faded and confidence was restored Saturday night at the Mesquite, TX oval as McFadden engineered a dominating performance, leading all 30 laps on his way to a $20,000 payday. After managing only one World of Outlaws win in 2022, the 33-year-old now already owns two triumphs in 10 starts this year.
The victory marked the seventh of his career at the seventh different racetrack in the seventh different state and his second with the Toyota Racing Development 410 Engine under the hood.
And of course, the Alice Springs, NT native honored tradition by celebrating the win with a shoey atop the wing.
“I’m just pumped,” said an emotional McFadden in Victory Lane. “The last few races have been tough for us as a team. You start to doubt your abilities and what we’re doing with the car. We’ve just been working really hard… I give credit to my guys. They’ve been working pretty hard. We’ve been, like I said, pretty terrible, tearing up racecars and doing silly things, so to reward them with a win tonight is great.”
The race began with what proved to be a pivotal start. On what was a blazingly fast racing surface, getting ahead early was key. McFadden started second alongside Toyota Dash winner, Buddy Kofoid. As the green flag flew, McFadden ripped around Kofoid to take the early lead.
“It was really important to get that start. I feel like if I would’ve let Buddy go on the start, he would’ve checked out,” McFadden explained. “I thought he (Kofoid) would’ve gone a little earlier. We were a little bit further around the corner, so I could get a run down the straightaway down the hill, so I got lucky there. We just put ourselves in the right position, and you have to with these guys from the moment you unload.”
For Kofoid, he initially thought his start was strong, but thought he potentially should’ve attempted something else after McFadden got around him.
“I felt like I restarted really good all weekend here,” Kofoid said. “I thought I had a good start, and James was just able to get around me, and that was probably what needed to happen differently for me.”
After grabbing the lead, McFadden wasted no time in building an early lead in the Roth #83. After just two circuits, the gap had grown to nearly a second and a half. An early caution as McFadden was beginning to negotiate traffic cleared the track for him, but it would be the final time the yellow flag would fly.
On the restart, McFadden darted ahead and built up the advantage again, but lapped traffic quickly proved to be an issue. As he navigated the slower cars, Kofoid quickly closed in. Unfortunately for the driver of the CMS Racing #11, a lane didn’t open before McFadden again pulled ahead by putting a lapped car between himself and Kofoid.
Eventually, McFadden got to a point in the pack when he was confident that he could simply ride behind them without fear of losing the lead as the laps dwindled.
“We were able to maneuver through some of those lapped cars,” McFadden recalled. “Then we got to (Brian) Brown and just sort of thought he was fast enough, so I don’t need to go do anything silly.”
McFadden proved himself right by patiently driving in Brown’s tire tracks while Kofoid struggled to clear a slower car between himself and McFadden. It appeared that a battle for the lead may shape up when the car between them pulled off with an issue, but ultimately McFadden proved to be too strong. He took the checkered flag with a 1.542 second advantage, helping to rekindle his early season confidence.
“Big thanks to Dennis and Teresa Roth for giving me this opportunity,” said a grateful McFadden. “The last couple of weeks have been pretty bad to watch, but to stand on the front straight here at Devil’s Bowl is pretty special.”
Kofoid held on to second to continue his impressive early season stretch. Entering this year, the Penngrove, CA native owned a pair of podiums in 24 World of Outlaws Feature starts, and he’s already up to four top-threes through 10 starts this year. With the pace of the field, Kofoid knew he needed to rely on McFadden to make a mistake that never happened.
“The track was just super heavy where it kind of made it hard to be a whole lot better than someone,” Kofoid commented. “Everyone was pretty much going the same speed, and you kind of saw that with lapped traffic. Everyone was just so fast. Once I got clear of the one lapper, I got back to James, but it was going to take a mistake from him for me to get by him.”
Completing the top-three was Carson Macedo. Like Kofoid, Macedo found it difficult to make up much ground on the car ahead with the amount of speed everyone was carrying. So, the Jason Johnson Racing driver settled for third, his 70th career podium and first since Volusia.
“The track was just really fast,” Macedo noted. “It made it tough to pass there in the Feature. I felt like we got to traffic, and I thought that would maybe mix it up, but it seemed like the lapped cars, once we got to them, we would kind of stall out behind their wings and go just as fast as them.”
UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars begin a major Midwest swing next weekend with trips to US 36 Raceway in Osborn, MO and 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS. The latter is the fifth Jason Johnson Classic, awarding $20,000 to the winner. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action on DIRTVision.
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 83-James McFadden; 2. 11-Michael Kofoid; 3. 41-Carson Macedo; 4. 2-David Gravel; 5. 49-Brad Sweet; 6. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 7. 19-Brent Marks; 8. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 9. 5-Spencer Bayston; 10. 9-Kasey Kahne; 11. 15-Donny Schatz; 12. 20G-Noah Gass; 13. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 14. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 15. 17B-Bill Balog; 16. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 17. 24-Rico Abreu; 18. 88-Austin McCarl; 19. 21-Brian Brown; 20. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg; 21. 3-Ayrton Gennetten; 22. 1A-Jacob Allen; 23. 6-Bill Rose; 24. 2C-Wayne Johnson; 25. 7S-Robbie Price
KSE Hard Charger: Logan Schuchart (24th to 14th)
Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps): 1. 2C-Wayne Johnson; 2. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 3. 6-Bill Rose; 4. 21-Brian Brown; 5. 3-Ayrton Gennetten; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 7. 1J-Danny Jennings; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen; 9. 52-Blake Hahn; 10. 4-Austin Mundie; 11. 2B-Brett Becker; 12. 1-Brenham Crouch; 13. 6M-Blake Mallory
Toyota Dash (6 Laps): 1. 11-Michael Kofoid; 2. 83-James McFadden; 3. 19-Brent Marks; 4. 41-Carson Macedo; 5. 49-Brad Sweet; 6. 2-David Gravel
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 49-Brad Sweet; 2. 41-Carson Macedo; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 4. 9-Kasey Kahne; 5. 17B-Bill Balog; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 8. 6-Bill Rose; 9. 1A-Jacob Allen; 10. 52-Blake Hahn; 11. 2B-Brett Becker
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 11-Michael Kofoid; 2. 2-David Gravel; 3. 5-Spencer Bayston; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 5. 20G-Noah Gass; 6. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg; 7. 21-Brian Brown; 8. 1J-Danny Jennings; 9. 4-Austin Mundie; 10. 2C-Wayne Johnson
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 19-Brent Marks; 2. 83-James McFadden; 3. 7S-Robbie Price; 4. 15-Donny Schatz; 5. 88-Austin McCarl; 6. 24-Rico Abreu; 7. 3-Ayrton Gennetten; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 9. 1-Brenham Crouch; 10. 6M-Blake Mallory
Qualifying: 1. 41-Carson Macedo, 00:13.617; 2. 11-Michael Kofoid, 00:13.689; 3. 19-Brent Marks, 00:13.695; 4. 49-Brad Sweet, 00:13.701; 5. 2-David Gravel, 00:13.780; 6. 83-James McFadden, 00:13.784; 7. 9-Kasey Kahne, 00:13.784; 8. 18-Giovanni Scelzi, 00:13.878; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 00:13.898; 10. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 00:13.901; 11. 5-Spencer Bayston, 00:13.916; 12. 7S-Robbie Price, 00:13.920; 13. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 00:13.938; 14. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 00:13.965; 15. 24-Rico Abreu, 00:14.002; 16. 17B-Bill Balog, 00:14.007; 17. 20G-Noah Gass, 00:14.091; 18. 88-Austin McCarl, 00:14.092; 19. 6-Bill Rose, 00:14.103; 20. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg, 00:14.177; 21. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, 00:14.211; 22. 52-Blake Hahn, 00:14.272; 23. 4-Austin Mundie, 00:14.302; 24. 1-Brenham Crouch, 00:14.325; 25. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 00:14.339; 26. 21-Brian Brown, 00:14.376; 27. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 00:14.425; 28. 1A-Jacob Allen, 00:14.492; 29. 1J-Danny Jennings, 00:14.495; 30. 6M-Blake Mallory, 00:14.635; 31. 2B-Brett Becker, 00:14.934
Simpson Quick Time Award: Carson Macedo
Story - World of Outlaws
Photo - Trent Gower