AUTO RACING: Brad Sweet, World of Outlaws return to racing action
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is back to ripping around dirt tracks, and driver Brad Sweet, a Grass Valley native, is once again proving he’s among the best in the business.
The defending series champ has a trio of top-three finishes, including a win, in five races since racing fired back up after a two-month stoppage due to COVID-19.
The series’ first race since March 7 was the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Invitational at Knoxville Raceway May 8. Sweet, along with 47 other drivers, competed in front of empty grandstands at the Iowa track. David Gravel won the race. Sweet finished in ninth place, and also nabbed the KSE Hard Charger Award, which goes to the driver who passed the most cars in the race.
After the spectatorless Invitational at Knoxville Raceway, the Series headed to Pevely, Missouri, for the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 for the Memorial Day weekend. With fans in the stands at this event, Sweet found the same groove that propelled him to his first overall Series points championship in 2019.
The Bear River grad raced to victory, narrowly edging past his brother-in-law, Kyle Larson, who took second.
“That was a lot of fun,” Sweet said after the race. “Kyle is an unbelievable talent. He’s my brother-in-law, but he makes me earn these wins … It’s a lot of fun to see fans back in the stands. It’s not a lot of fun to win in front of empty grandstands. Hopefully the crowds keep getting bigger and bigger.”
It was Sweet’s second win of the season. He also took the checkered flag Feb. 8 at the Dirtcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
“There were some developing lines on the racetrack,” Sweet said. “With him (Larson) behind me, I thought the top would be the place to be. But he found the middle and I got stuck behind in lap traffic there. Just need to do a little better job on my end. They (Kasey Kahne Racing team) gave me a great race car. It was a lot of fun to be back.”
Larson got back at Sweet on the second night of racing in Pevely, though, taking the top spot as Sweet finished in third place.
Larson, an Elk Grove native, was a star in NASCAR before being fired by Chip Ganassi Racing in April for using a racial slur during an iRacing event.
Last Friday and Saturday, the Series made its way to Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Missouri. Sweet came in eighth on Friday and took third on Saturday.
Through eight races this season, Sweet has two wins and six top-five finishes. He is currently second in the overall points standings, trailing Logan Schuchart by 12.
Sweet, also known as “The Big Cat,” is coming off a career year in 2019 in which he won 16 World of Outlaws races, tallied 47 top-five finishes and raced past 10-time series champ Donny Schatz to win his first overall points championship. Sweet also took the checkered flag at the 2019 King’s Royal race, which featured a Series record $175,000 payout to the winner.
Sweet drives the No. 49 car for Kasey Kahne Racing, and has been competing in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series since 2004. Since joining the series, he’s made more than 600 starts and won 52 races.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series continues its season today and tomorrow with a pair of races at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin. The series is scheduled to come to the West Coast in September with races in California, Oregon and Washington.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4232.
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