Tucked away in southern Pennsylvania on his family’s 15.6-acre estate near Dillsburg, and where rolling pastures guide the eye, Anthony Macri stood alone in his race shop, shining machinery.
Ten years ago, when the Macris moved in, the shop was an old, four-stall horse barn. Now, the building is a haven of purpose for a 21-year-old sprint car racer on the rise.
The previous day, Macri had arrived home at 2 a.m. from Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway following a 970-mile journey home after three days of racing at the Sprint Car Capital of the World that ended with a messy wreck during the Capitani Classic’s C-main.
The Macris always clean the shop the morning after a race weekend, but this time there was work to be done.
“When I woke up, I was almost panicking. There was no time to mess around,” Macri said about the aftereffects of the crash. “That lights a fire under my ass. That pissed me off.”
As he labored away his frustrations, the punctured tail tank rested atop the portable toolbox behind him.
But Macri’s motivation hung above his head — two large victory checks from an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions feature and a Pennsylvania Speedweek triumph, both at Port Royal Speedway in June.
Despite all of the challenges of this year, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Macri has enjoyed a breakout season, becoming a force on the central Pennsylvania sprint car racing scene.
Macri has shown flashes of promise while racing in his home state, but that promise became dominance during a five-race winning streak at Port Royal Speedway between June 14 and July 2 that included the All Star and Speedweek victories for Macri and his family-owned No. 39 sprint car operation.
Macri later claimed the $10,000 top prize in Port Royal’s annual Living Legends Dream Race, which was run Aug. 22.
Macri tells folks how a middle-school classroom at Saint Theresa School in nearby New Cumberland birthed his desire for excellence.
“I wanted to race,” Macri said. “But dad said I needed to get all A’s on my report card. I had never gotten straight A’s in my life.”
Nick Macri, Anthony’s father, has always set the bar high. After all, he is an orderly businessman. Since 1998, he has owned Macri Concrete Inc., providing concrete works across the area. He is also familiar with greatness on the race track, having sponsored the late Greg Hodnett for a number of years.
Racing has always been stitched into the Macri family. But it never consumed the Macris until Anthony displayed a desire to race while attending middle school. Anthony’s mother, Melinda, was hesitant about this dangerous, money-sucking endeavor.
Nick Macri, on the other hand, challenged his son to obtain straight A’s for one semester with the reward being that the family would purchase a go-kart.
“The rest is history,” Anthony Macri said through a smile. “That showed me, when you put effort into something, you can achieve anything.”
Macri studied more. He paid closer attention in class and, for the first time, he earned straight A’s. He secured his go-kart but never did more than a few aimless laps around a local parking lot before a family friend suggested he start racing mini sprints in an attempt to avoid learning bad habits.
“I always wanted to become a sprint car driver,” Macri said.
In 2012, the family invested in a 600 micro sprint and 12-year-old Anthony Macri began to discover himself as a racer at the now-defunct Shippensburg (Pa.) Speedway, a flat, quarter-mile track with a slick surface.
“I literally contribute my throttle control to Shippensburg,” said Macri, who spent roughly four years competing in micro sprints, amassing nothing more than a win or two a season. “I was a field-filler.”
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