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Sweet Scores Podium Finish at Volusia

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

The first week of March took the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series back to where the 2023 season started: Barberville, Florida. While the annual Bike Week kicked off in nearby Daytona Beach, 23 competitors arrived at Volusia Speedway Park to compete in the Spring Showdown as well as to make up a rained out race from the Dirtcar Nationals three weeks prior.

Brad Sweet, driver of the No. 49 NAPA Auto Parts sprint car, was eighth in the qualifying order and hit the charts at 13.930 seconds, placing him seventh overall. That put the Big Cat third to start in Heat Race 1. With a relatively wet track at the green flag of the first heat race, cars quickly spread out and made passing difficult. Sweet finished his heat race where he started in third place.

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

Placed seventh to start the feature, Sweet and the No. 49 team were looking to advance. At the start, Sweet was shuffled back to ninth when his line was slower on the start. The four-time and defending series champion made every attempts to move forward, but the track was still too fast, and cars were lapping the circuit in a single lane. Battling dirty air from cars ahead, the NAPA No. 49 crossed the checkers in ninth place.

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

The second portion of Sunday night’s event included the make-up Dash and A-main from the rained-out Saturday night of the Dirtcar Nationals three weeks prior. With a chance to improve the car for the  current track conditions, Sweet and the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 team saw a shot at redemption. Rolling off sixth in the six-lap Dash offered Sweet a six-lap opportunity to earn improve his starting spot in the A-main. From the drop of the green flag, Sweet’s NAPA machine came to life and launched him up to third place. Sweet looked to gain another spot but ran out of time.

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

With 30 laps to contest in the feature, Sweet was ready to use all 900 horsepower the No. 49 car could offer to make his move to the front. With an ideal setup, Sweet proved quick as the field took off. Running the preferred line, the NAPA driver made several charges to pass the leader. Sweet ultimately crossed the line in second, the podium finish offering redemption for the team’s unremarkable outcome earlier in the evening.

Monday marked the second night of the Spring Showdown and the final night of racing in Florida for the 2023 season. With 23 cars signed into competition, Sweet went out 17th in qualifying and laid down a lap time of 13.668 seconds, good for ninth quickest overall. Starting third in Heat Race 3, Sweet knew he needed to pick up at least one spot to advance to the Fast Pass Dash. When the green flag dropped on his heat race, Sweet launched into second and held the spot, locking him into the Dash.

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

“We are struggling a little bit, but the Dash gets you those extra laps to get your car a little better,” Sweet said during the Dash draw. “Hopefully we can have a good finish with our NAPA Auto Parts car down here at Volusia. We’ve had a lot of fun, and I’ve been down here quite a bit, so hopefully we can finish strong.”

After drawing the fifth spot to start the Dash, Sweet had six laps to improve his starting spot in the A-main. At the drop of the green, Sweet drove around the outside to claim fourth, holding the spot to the checkered flag.

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

Sweet focused on making strides toward the front when he rolled off from fourth in the 30-lap A-main. The NAPA driver quickly advanced to third following the drop of the green flag. After a mid-race caution, the No. 49 spun its tires on the restart and fell back to sixth, where the NAPA team ultimately finished.

Brad Sweet NAPA Auto Parts 49 Spring Showdown Volusia 2023

Sweet and the NAPA Auto Parts team will enjoy some days off before they make their way to Port Royal, Penn., for the next Outlaws event.

Start / Finish: 
Sunday, Mar. 5, Spring Showdown: 7 / 9
Sunday, Mar. 5, Dirtcar Nationals make-up: 3 / 2
Monday, Mar. 6, Spring Showdown: 4 / 6
Points Standing / Total: 7th / 666 pts. (-56)

Next Race: Friday, March 10, Port Royal Speedway, Port Royal, Penn.
How to Watch or Listen:

Brad Sweet: @BradSweet49
Kasey Kahne Racing: @KKRdirt

Kasey Kahne Racing View All

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.

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