Brad Sweet earned his fourth win of the 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season Friday night with a dominating performance at Williams Grove Speedway. The driver of the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 sprint car extended his lead in the championship point standings with the win and a fifth-place finish on Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway.
The Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49 team rolled into Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Penn., for Wednesday’s Gettysburg Clash. Sweet, who won the event in 2021, has found his way to the podium twice in his past three starts at the 3/8-mile, high-banked oval. With 41 cars in attendance, the NAPA No. 49 was slated fifth in the qualifying order and clocked a lap of 13.604 seconds, good for third-quickest in Flight A and placing Sweet second to start Heat Race 1. When the eight-lap heat race went green, Sweet had the less preferable line and immediately settled into second place. A mid-race caution interrupted the action before a single-file restart. Sweet crossed the checkers in second, earning a transfer to the Fast Pass Dash.
“We’re not the same for sure,” Sweet said of his car’s performance with new tires. “We unloaded similar, but the car didn’t really feel that good, so we have been kind of making some changes… The track is in great shape, so I think if we get our car right, there is no reason why we can’t move forward with the NAPA Auto Parts car.”
Sweet drew the seventh starting spot for the six-lap dash and was ready to find out if the team’s changes improved the No. 49 machine. After the green flag dropped on the dash, Sweet tried to pass for sixth but struggled to get there. A final-lap caution gave the Big Cat another chance, and Sweet passed two cars on the restart to finish the dash in fifth.
The field lined up for their final appearance at Lincoln Speedway for the 2023 season with 35 laps of racing ahead. When the green flag waved, Sweet searched for a fast racing line but, unable to pass, held his position until the checkered flag flew on an uneventful main event.
Friday took the Outlaws to the 1/2-mile “paperclip” of Williams Grove Speedway. After 54 races at the Mechanicsburg, Penn., track, Sweet finally picked up the Summer Nationals win in 2022 and was looking to repeat that success. With 38 cars in attendance, the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 was scheduled to qualify 19th in Flight B. The Big Cat posted a 17.358-second lap, good for fifth-quickest in his flight and slating him third to start Heat Race 3.
When his heat race went green, Sweet held his position on the lower line through the tight corners of Williams Grove. Coming off of turn four on the second lap, the NAPA driver made the pass for second and began to stretch his lead on the third-place runner. The checkered flag flew, and Sweet punched his ticket to the Fast Pass Dash with a second-place finish in his heat race.
“This place has always been a place that I’m a little uncomfortable,” Sweet said, drawing the top starting spot for the dash. “My guys, they never give up on me, and we always keep plugging away. We need all the help we can get to see if we can keep that NAPA Auto Parts car our front.”
The green flag dropped on the six-lap dash, and the NAPA No. 49 jumped out to the early lead. Sweet immediately began to distance himself from the second-place runner. With a lead of more than 10 car lengths, the four-time World of Outlaws champion won the dash, earning the pole for the evening’s 30-lap feature.
As the field came side-by-side to the green flag, Sweet engaged all 900 horsepower of the NAPA machine and took off. Multiple cautions disrupted the on-track action, but Sweet was undeterred from his goal of again finding victory lane at Williams Grove. Crossing the checkers with a lead of over five seconds, Sweet picked up his fourth win of the season.
“My guys gave me a great race car, and we were able to get second in the heat to get to the dash and draw the 1,” Sweet said in his post-race interview. “I think that was the key to winning.”
Start / Finish:
Wednesday, May 10, Lincoln Speedway: 5 / 5
Friday, May 12, Williams Grove Speedway: 1 / 1
Points Standing / Total: 1st / 2,664 pts. (+36)
Next Race: Friday, May 19, Attica Raceway Park, Attica, Ohio
How to Watch or Listen: www.dirtvision.com
Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR), located in Mooresville, NC, was formed in 2005 and employs more than ten people dedicated to sprint car racing. The organization fields two entries in the World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series; Brad Sweet (NAPA No.49) and former NASCAR Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne (No.9). Collectively, KKR has 5 World of Outlaws Championships (Daryn Pittman in '13 and Brad Sweet in '19,'20,'21 &'22). Since the team's inception, KKR has amassed over 211 World of Outlaws wins.