2024 410 Sprints at Lincoln Speedway

Anthony Macri Returns To Winning Form With No. 39M Family Team At Lincoln

Anthony Macri Returns To Winning Form With No. 39M Family Team At Lincoln

Prior to Sunday at Lincoln Speedway, Anthony Macri hadn't won in the Macri Motorsports No. 39M since last July.

Mar 4, 2024 by Kyle McFadden

Eight months. That’s how long it’s been since Anthony Macri last won a Sprint Car race before Sunday’s rejuvenating victory at Lincoln Speedway, the Dillsburg, Pa., driver’s first triumph since last July 4’s Pennsylvania Speedweek finale at Port Royal Speedway.

Well, not quite eight months. If Lincoln's second race of the year had been a day later, then it'd be. But the point is the nation’s wins leader from 2022 who had an adverse season a year ago didn’t need reminding of how long it's been. He brought the day into proper perspective himself.

“I wanted that one pretty bad,” Macri said. “I haven’t won since last July.”

All told, Sunday’s triumph at the 3/8-mile oval over an equally-determined Kyle Moody, who raised eyebrows by snatching the lead away from Macri midway through the 30-lap feature, dispelled a 39-race winless drought. The last time Macri weathered a drought of that nature?

From Aug. 31, 2019 through June 14, 2020, he also went 39 races between victories.

“I thought about it a lot,” Macri said. “I’m not going to lie. As a driver, when you’re not winning races, you ultimately start thinking about it yourself and what you can do differently. Not winning races, I can’t blame anybody but myself. I’m the one behind the wheel out there. I should be able to deal with anything that (crew chief) Joe (Mooney) gives me.”


WATCH: Anthony Macri discusses slump-busting win from March 3 at Lincoln Speedway.

Little did Macri know, much less anyone else, that those months following his eighth and eventual final victory of the 2023 season would bring on such difficulty. Through that time, Macri stepped away from his family’s Macri Motorsports No. 39M team for a change of scenery.

Even during Sprint Car racing’s most exciting times, when Eldora Speedway hosted the Eldora Million that awarded a short-track racing record $1,023,000-to-win, Macri abruptly took two weeks off from July 4-18. He tried part-time stints aboard Bernie Stuebgen’s No. 71 Indy Race Parts machine as well as subbing for the then-injured Tyler Courtney in Clauson-Marshall Racing’s No. 7BC.

But even then, while thankful for the opportunities (he qualified for the Knoxville Nationals main event in the Clauson-Marshall No. 7BC) he wasn’t at his best.

“It was mentally exhausting at some points,” Macri said. “But I knew I had to not let those races bother me and move into the next week with a clear mindset, and try as hard as I could; work as hard as I could. It’s been a — I don’t want to say mentally challenging seven months — but I mean, it makes you question things and to work a little bit harder, studying video and see what you can do differently.”

As far as returning to where he’s most comfortable, the family-owned No. 39M machine, Macri’s regained exactly that — comfort — both with his personnel and among himself at the wheel. Mooney, who’d been part of Brad Sweet’s four-straight World of Outlaws title run, has Macri’s trust. And the team hired Nate Repetz over the winter, a notable acquisition from Jason Johnson Racing.

Anthony Macri and the Macri Motorsports team after their March 3 victory at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pa. (Kyle McFadden)

“We’re all in a really good spot,” Macri said. “I don’t think there’s any complaints from anybody.”

Macri would also appreciate if onlookers left the backend of 2023 in the rearview, just like he and his team has.

“We’ve put all that behind us. Nobody thinks about it,” Macri said. “Nobody talks about it. It’s behind us. We’re not worried about that anymore. I don’t know how to talk about it more than that. That’s behind us and we’ve moved forward.”

What Macri does constructively take from the past eight months is a change of approach. Burnout, just like every other job, isn’t something to be glossed over, even for a race car driver living out their dream. Oftentimes burnout doesn’t have to be prevented by racing or traveling less, but by valuing downtime all the more and keeping a healthy outlook.

“I say it was definitely more of a different perspective and a different level of appreciation,” Macri said. “A change of scenery, it makes you think about a lot of different stuff. I needed a break. And I took a break. I took some trips, needed to get back to having fun, and I came back refreshed and ready to race. I worked a little harder on racing and concentrated more. It’s pretty much why I changed. I needed a break. And I took one.”

Macri’s had a mixed bag of results out of the 2024 gate. He finished runner-up to David Gravel with the World of Outlaws on Feb. 10 at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park, but then placed outside of the top-10 in two of the next four races between Florida’s East Bay Raceway Park and Georgia’s Golden Isles Speedway.

“We had speed at the beginning of the night but struggled when the track slowed down,” Macri said of Golden Isles with High Limit Racing. “Those two nights were a frustrating learning curve for us, but with it our first two nights there, we couldn’t weigh our expectations too much. We had a lot of speed. Joe and Nate have been working really hard.”

This year, Macri “(doesn’t) see why 12 wins isn’t out of the equation,” especially in light of winning on eight occasions through 50 races last year. That 16 percent win rate isn’t terribly far off his 24.7 percent win rate from 2023 where he won 23 features in 93 starts.

But that season, Macri contested only 25 of those races outside Central PA. Forty-nine of the 103 races on his tentative schedule are slated to be coursed on the road this season, a kind of schedule that’s never been this far-flung apart from home.

The omen from Sunday, though, is a good one. Consider the Macri group back to where they were when they won at Lincoln the first weekend of March two years ago — the win that ignited their 23-win season that led all of Sprint Car racing — and back to their winning standard with as much to look forward to as ever before.

“I hope the pattern follows,” Macri said through a laugh.