Auto racing roundup: Sweet returns to victory lane
DiBenedetto notches another top-5 finish; Rossi derailed early in Texas
Two-time and defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Brad Sweet earned a trio of victories last week.
Sweet, who drives the No. 49 NAPA Auto Parts car for Kasey Kahne Racing, opened the week’s three-race slate with a win Thursday at Jacksonville Speedway in Jacksonville, Illinois. The Grass Valley native then closed the week with back-to-back victories at the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown, held Friday and Saturday in Odessa, Missouri.
Saturday’s win was Sweet’s eighth of the season, and marked his 66th career win on the World Of Outlaws circuit, tying him for 12th all-time.
“We’ve still got a long summer ahead of us with a lot of big races left,” Sweet said. “We’ve got to keep our heads down, keep capitalizing, keep executing and keep winning. We’re the best team out here and I feel like I’m at the highest level I’ve ever been at as a driver. I want to win as many as possible this year.”
Sweet’s three victories last week snapped a four-race winless streak for the reigning series champ. He currently sits atop the World of Outlaws overall point standings with 2,592. The next closest driver is David Gravel (2,502).
Up next for Sweet is a pair of races, on Friday and Saturday, at Eldora Raceway in Rossburg, Ohio.
DIBENEDETTO NOTICES 2ND STRAIGHT TOP-5 FINISH
Driver Matt DiBenedetto had another strong showing over the weekend, continuing his climb up the NASCAR points standings and proving he can compete with the best in NASCAR.
The Grass Valley native earned a season-best fourth place finish at the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
“P4 today. I will absolutely take that,” DiBenedetto said. “We had to fight our butts off for that one. That was not an easy one. Those are the days you’re super proud of. … We had to fight hard and defend, and it’s those days when you’re on defense a lot that are the really tough ones. So, proud of that. Good job by the team.”
Kyle Busch won the race, his first of the season, beating out runner-up Kevin Harvick to the checkered flag.
The top-five finish for DiBenedetto is his second in a row and eighth of his seven-year career.
DiBenedetto, who drives the No. 21 Ford Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing, is currently in 16th place in the NASCAR Cup Series overall point standings.
Next up for DiBenedetto is the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The race will be broadcast at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on FS1.
ROSSI’S OPTIMISTIC DESPITE EARLY SEASON STRUGGLES
IndyCar’s Alexander Rossi had another disappointing weekend on the track.
The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner opened the two-race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway with an eighth place finish in the Genesys 300 on Saturday, but was caught up in a lap 1 crash in Sunday’s XPEL 375 race which ended his day and led to a 20th place finish.
“A lot of people are already drawing comparisons of this year to last year, and while last year we did get taken out before a green flag, the difference was we never really felt like we had a car to win,” Rossi said. “I feel like that’s a lot different this year. Andretti Autosport has done a really good job with giving us the tools we need. It just hasn’t been meant to be yet, but there’s been a lot of different factors. Ultimately, we’ll just keep our heads down and do what we’re doing.”
Through four races this season, Rossi has finished ninth, 21st, eighth and 20th. The Nevada City native is currently in 15th in IndyCar’s overall points race.
Rossi, who drives the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts/AutoNation Honda for Andretti Autsport, gets back on track May 15 for the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast at 11:30 a.m. on NBC.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nevada Union surged past Bear River on the diamond Friday, topping the Bruins, 11-1, to complete the series sweep.