Brad Sweet, driver of the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49, won his milestone 80th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature Saturday at Magnolia Motor Speedway. The win followed a string of three runner-up finishes in the previous four races, including a second-place result Friday night at Talladega Short Track. The points amassed over the weekend advanced Sweet to third in the championship point standings.
The NAPA team’s trip south began Friday with the World of Outlaws racing at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, Ala. With 29 cars in attendance, Sweet was the 13th driver to qualify; he laid down a lap time of 11.976 seconds, placing him third overall and leading him to start first in Heat Race 3. With 10 laps to hold off the competition, Sweet went wheel-to-wheel with second-place starter Buddy Kofoid when the green flag dropped. Kofoid had the preferred line and managed to pull out front, shuffling Sweet to second. The NAPA driver finished second, earning a spot in the Fast Pass Dash. Sweet then drew the sixth and final starting position for the Dash.
“I’m glad we’re in the Dash,” Sweet said. “Not pumped I drew the six, but honestly I’d rather see how good I am in traffic.”
As the Dash went green, the No. 49 surged ahead with Sweet driving from sixth up to fourth in five laps. He soon took over third as the checkered flag waved on the Dash. That placed Sweet third to start the 35-lap A-main event.
The Big Cat had his sights set on victory lane, but multiple cautions and restarts slowed the race early. When the racing resumed, Sweet managed to claim the second spot. He made several attempts to pass for the lead but just needed a little more. He ultimately finished second.
Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss., hosted the Black Ice Brawl with the World of Outlaws on Saturday night, marking only the second time the series visited ‘The Mag.’ Sweet was fourth to make a qualifying run of the 28 cars signed into competition. He posted a 11.700-second lap for eighth-quickest, placing him third to start Heat Race 2. When the heat race went green, Sweet took the second position and held it until the checkered flag flew. Sweet was again headed to the Fast Pass Dash.
“We’ve been second the last couple of nights,” Sweet said. “So hopefully we can get one spot better with our NAPA Auto Parts car tonight.”
Rolling from the front row of the 8-lap Dash, the NAPA No. 49 took off around the top of the speedway and quickly claimed the lead. The Big Cat picked up the Dash win and, with it, the first starting spot in the feature.
With 35 laps separating Sweet from victory, the green flag dropped on the feature. Second-place runner Sheldon Haudenschild took the early lead, but it wasn’t long before the Big Cat came charging back. The NAPA No. 49 had an ideal setup, allowing Sweet to steal the lead back by lap 10. After several cautions and restarts, Sweet drove the NAPA No. 49 to the checkered flag, collecting his 80th World of Outlaws feature win in front of a sold-out crowd.
“Any time you get your name mentioned with those guys, the legends of the sport, that’s pretty cool,” Sweet said of the milestone victory. “Eighty wins is just not possible without my guys and KKR for giving me the opportunity throughout these last 10 years. Ever since I teamed up with Eric (Prutzman, crew chief) and Andrew (Bowman), and now we got Tye Wolfgang… we’re clicking well. We’re making good adjustments. I was just trying to hustle; I want to win for these guys. We want to get some momentum going early on in the year.”
Start / Finish:
Friday, March 24, Talladega Short Track: 3 / 2
Saturday, March 25, Magnolia Motor Speedway: 1 / 1
Points Standing / Total: 3rd / 1,108 pts. (-32)
Next Race: Friday, March 31, Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Mesquite, Texas
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.