West Coast swing: The Greatest Show on Dirt returns to California in September
Not since September 2019 has the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competed on the West Coast.
In two weeks, that finally changes as “The Greatest Show on Dirt” returns to Washington and California for a thrilling three-week swing across the pacific.
Packaged inside the three-week, eight-race trip are two premier events, one brand new and one filled with history. Washington’s Skagit Speedway will debut the Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals with a $25,000/win purse Sept. 2-4, while Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway resumes the iconic Gold Cup Race of Champions on Sept. 10-11.
Other races on the docket include a Monday night under the lights at Washington’s Grays Harbor Raceway on Sept. 5, and a weekend split between Keller Auto Speedway on Sept. 17, and Placerville Speedway on Sept. 18.
For the top-two in the World of Outlaws championship, Grass Valley’s Brad Sweet and Lemoore’s Carson Macedo, it’s a chance to return home and race close to family. For the California locals, it’s their first chance in more than 700 days to pursue World of Outlaws glory in their home state.
The trek west officially begins this weekend and next as the series travels through the Dakotas, but the western territory isn’t officially reached until September, when the Outlaws return to Washington for the 68th time in series history.
Skagit Speedway opens the journey west with the Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals from Friday to Sunday, Sept. 2-4. The three-day event offers a $175,000 purse with the champion on Sunday night claiming $25,000, the second-highest payday left this year.
Following Skagit, a one-night stand for 10 grand goes at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington, for the Outlaws’ 30th appearance at the track. Ten-time series champion Donny Schatz will have a chance to equal Sammy Swindell as the winningest driver in series history at the track.
RETURN TO CALIFORNIA
With four nights in Washington done and dusted, the traveling band of Outlaws will make their long-awaited return to California. A two-week stay with four races on the calendar is opened up by the 67th running of the Gold Cup Race of Champions.
This race has been creating legends and offering the upsets of a lifetime since the 1950s. Within the last decade alone, five first-time winners have found their Outlaw moment at Chico, including the likes of Kyle Larson, Sean Becker, Jonathan Allard, Kyle Hirst and Macedo.
“Chico will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Macedo, who is second in World of Outlaws points. “I mean, not only is it in my home state, but I got my first-ever Outlaw win there, and that really helped launch my career and eventually got me on the road full time. It’s been a long two years away from California, I don’t think most people understand how tough it’s been not going. I can’t wait to get back home and see all of the family and friends I grew up with. Hopefully, we can get a few wins, rack up some points, and make them proud.”
After Gold Cup, one weekend remains in “The Golden State” with a trip to Hanford’s Keller Auto Speedway on Sept. 17. David Gravel enters as the defending winner of the Kings Outlaw Shootout, aiming to soar beyond Macedo and get back on Sweet’s bumper for the championship chase.
On Sept. 18, the West Coast swing is concluded with the 49er Gold Rush Classic at Placerville Speedway. This will mark the Outlaws’ 10th all-time appearance at the northern California bullring.
For Sweet, the two-time defending champion and current points leader, Placerville is where “The Big Cat” grew up. His Grass Valley home was only about an hour away from the track, and he already banked one emotional Outlaw win on his home turf in 2018, something he hopes he can do one more time.
“I’m just glad we can finally get back to California and Washington,” Sweet said. “Obviously, for me, the travel out here is much lighter being close to home, but more than that these fans haven’t seen us in two years. It wasn’t in our control, but that’s a tough pill to swallow for a region that is so dedicated to sprint car racing and the World of Outlaws. I hope we can give them eight great shows and come back to normal with two swings in 2022.”
Before the agenda at hand goes west, the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars have a triple-header through the Dakotas to focus on this weekend. The three-night swing took The Greatest Show on Dirt to River Cities Speedway on Friday, and will bring it to Red River Valley Speedway today and Huset’s Speedway on Sunday.
The action an be viewed live on DIRTVision at either DIRTVision.com or through the DIRTVision App on iPhone, Android, Roku, FireTV or Xbox One.
Source: Brian Walker, World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series PR coordinator
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