Brad Sweet drove the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 sprint car to victory Friday night at the Texas Outlaw Nationals at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, marking back-to-back wins for the Kasey Kahne Racing driver. Sweet followed up the win with a top-five finish in the second and final night of the event.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returned to where it all started at Devil’s Bowl in Mesquite, Texas, with two nights of racing on the schedule. With 31 cars signed into competition, Sweet was slated as the eighth driver to set a qualifying time. Hitting the charts at 14.031 seconds placed the NAPA driver sixth overall, which positioned him second to start Heat Race 3. After lining up on the outside of the front row, Sweet took the high line early in the heat race but quickly cut to the bottom to protect his position from third-place runner David Gravel. He held his spot and crossed the line in second, punching his ticket to the Fast Pass Dash.
“The track is tricky, but it’s shaping up really nice,” Sweet said during the Dash draw. “It was windy all day, so I think there are a few factors playing into what the driver feels.”
Lined up side-by-side for the Dash, competitors took the green flag with Sweet in the fifth position. The four-time World of Outlaws champion quickly secured fourth and began to reel in third-place runner Jacob Allen. On the final lap, the Big Cat made the pass for third, besting his competitor at the line by just 0.021 seconds.
Sweet was hungry for another win as he lined up third to start Friday’s feature. At the drop of the green flag, Sweet quickly took over second and began stalking race leader Brent Marks. Remaining patient through the early laps, Sweet pounced on lap 10, driving the NAPA No. 49 to the front of the field. From there, it was all Sweet; the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 machine crossed the line with a lead of nearly five seconds. The win was the second consecutive for the Grass Valley, Calif., native, and was made sweeter by a NAPA store owner and guests in attendance.
Saturday brought the second night of the Texas Outlaw Nationals for a $20,000-to-win feature race to close out the event. Again, 31 cars signed in, with Sweet making the final qualifying run. The NAPA driver clicked off a lap time of 13.701 seconds, good for fourth-quickest and placing him second to start Heat Race 1. The NAPA No. 49 jumped out to the early lead and held the spot to the checkered flag, earning the heat race win and a spot in the Fast Pass Dash.
“Man, that five, that’s not what I wanted tonight,” Sweet said of his Dash draw. “Last night, the track was a little slicker, and it was easier to pass. It’s going to be a little trickier tonight. The sun went down; it cooled off, and there are still some greasy spots out there.”
The Dash competitors lined up before the caution lights went out, and the green flag waved on the Dash. On lap 1, the No. 49 quickly jumped to the high side to hold onto fifth. With so much moisture in the track, the cars began to spread out. Sweet struggled to close on fourth-place runner Carson Macedo and finished fifth, placing him fifth to start in the 25-lap feature.
When the feature went green, Sweet spun the tires on the start and fell back to sixth before quickly regrouping to retake fifth. Speeds on the Texas dirt track ranged from 107-110 mph as the field spread out. The racing surface was “juiced up,” sprint car parlance describing high-moisture conditions. Competitors were all running about the same speed, resulting in minimal passing. Sweet brought the NAPA Auto Parts car home in fifth place.
Following their weekend in Texas, the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 team holds second place in the points standings. Next up for Sweet and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is US 36 Raceway in Osborne, Mo., on Friday, April 7.
Start / Finish:
Friday, March 30: 3 / 1
Saturday, April 1: 5 / 5
Points Standing / Total: 2nd / 1,398 pts. (-26)
Next Race: Friday, April 7, US 36 Raceway, Osborne, Mo.
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.