‘One of my biggest wins:’ Grass Valley native Brad Sweet wins Jason Johnson Classic | TheUnion.com

‘One of my biggest wins:’ Grass Valley native Brad Sweet wins Jason Johnson Classic

Brad Sweet, third from left, celebrates his win at the Jason Johnson Classic Saturday in Missouri.
By Trent Gower/Courtesy of World of Outlaws

Brad Sweet on Saturday won his third World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series race of the season with a dominant showing at the Jason Johnson Classic in Missouri.

“This is definitely one of my biggest wins,” Sweet said after the race. “I know it’s not the Knoxville Nationals or anything, but memorial races just mean so much. We lost Jason a few years back and I’ve missed him ever since. I think about Bobbi, Jaxx, and his whole family still sticking with the sport after everything that has happened to them. They’re a lot braver than I am. I hope Jason is looking down on us and smiling tonight.”

Saturday’s event was a memorial race for former World of Outlaws driver Jason Johnson, who died of injuries sustained in a crash at Wisconsin’s Beaver Dam Raceway in 2018.

Sweet, a Grass Valley native, led all 30 laps Saturday night at the Lake Ozark Speedway to claim the checkered flag and the $15,000 first place prize.

“The night is all about honoring Jason and his legacy as a racer, as a father, and as a husband,” said Sweet. “He was someone we all looked up to in the pits. He really made an impact on this sport. We really miss him. We want to take a moment every now and then and pause to remember him. Tonight is the night we get to do that. It’s truly an honor to win this race. This NAPA Auto Parts car was on rails. That’s a track that Jason Johnson would’ve had his elbows up on. He would’ve been tough to beat tonight.”

It was the second win in a row and sixth straight podium finish for Sweet, who drives the No. 49 NAPA Auto Parts sprint car for Kasey Kahne Racing.

Brad Sweet, top, won his third race of the season with an impressive showing at the Jason Johnson Classic on Saturday in Missouri.
By Trent Gower/Courtesy of World of Outlaws

The two-time and defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion currently holds the top spot in the series’ overall leaderboard, 32 points ahead of second-place Logan Schuchart.

Next up for Sweet is a set of races Friday and Saturday at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Peverly, Missouri. To learn more about World of Outlaws racing visit http://www.worldofoutlaws.com.


Despite starting on the back row, NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto weaved his way to a 13th place finish Monday at the inaugural Food City Dirt Race in Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.

“My spotter Doug (Campbell) deserves some serious credit after basically guiding me around the track all day and looking ahead to keep us out of trouble,” DiBenedetto said on social media. “And thank goodness our car was bright colors Menards Racing and Quaker State neon yellow and bright green were quite helpful in the dust bowl.”

The Nevada County native had qualified in the 12th spot on the starting grid, but was sent to the back row after his car was damaged while being pulled off the trailer lift gate ahead of the race. The fender on the car was damaged, which is considered an unapproved adjustment and a penalty.

DiBenedetto worked his way through the dusty conditions and into 16th place by the end of the first 100-lap stage. He would run as high as 11th in the third and final stage of the race, but took 13th in the end.

For DiBenedetto, who drives the No. 21 Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing, it was his fourth top-16 finish of the season.

Next up for DiBenedetto and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, April 10, at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com.

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