The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series traveled to the Buckeye State for a doubleheader over the weekend with dates at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio, and Sharon Raceway Park in Hartford, Ohio. Brad Sweet and the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 team entered the weekend with championship points lead and left Ohio in the top spot, too, but the sixth- and ninth-place finishes were uncharacteristic for the defending series champion team.
With 38 sprint cars in attendance at Attica, Sweet was scheduled to be the tenth driver to make a qualifying run in Flight A. The Big Cat laid down a lap time of 13.022 seconds, placing the No. 49 fourth to start in Heat Race 2. When the heat race went green, Sweet struggled to get to the bottom line. He fell back to fifth and held that spot to cross the finish line. The finish transferred the NAPA driver directly to the A-main event, placing him 19th to start.
Following the Outlaws’ signature four-wide salute to the fans, drivers lined up in pairs for the 35-lap feature. At the drop of the green flag, Sweet immediately began picking off cars one by one. Navigating through a gaggle of competitors, the NAPA No. 49 made its way up to the ninth spot, holding the position to the checkered flag. The valiant effort earned Sweet the evening’s hard charger award as he picked up ten spots, more than any other driver.
After traveling two hours to Hartford, the team was looking to repeat the success of last year, when Sweet earned his first Sharon Speedway win in September. The 34th of 36 cars to make a qualifying run, the No. 49 clocked a 13.333-second lap, placing Sweet eighth overall and second to start in Heat Race 4. From the drop of the green flag, Sweet matched the heat race leader’s efforts by keeping pace with him. The two traded slide jobs for the first two laps, and Sweet fell back to second and ultimately finished there, locking in a spot in the Fast Pass Dash.
“When we typically come here, it’s just glass, top to bottom,” Sweet said during the Dash draw. “It’s really tricky. It’s still really tricky tonight, but there is some character in it, and it makes it really fun.”
With six laps to decide the starting order for the top competitors in the feature, the Dash went green. Sweet struggled to find a preferred line that worked for him and fell back to third. A third-place finish slotted Sweet in third to start the 30-lap main event.
The caution lights at Sharon Speedway went out and the field sped to take the green flag. Sweet was navigating the slick surface and managed to make the pass for second, but a caution was soon displayed. The NAPA driver fell back to fourth on the restart, and another caution came out. On the subsequent restart, Sweet lost two positions. He tried to drive the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 back toward the front but ran out of time. Sweet crossed the finish line in the sixth position.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returns to Ohio this weekend, with dates at Atomic Speedway in Waverly on Friday and Saturday.
Start / Finish:
Friday, May 19, Attica Raceway Park: 19 / 9
Saturday, May 20, Sharon Speedway: 3 / 6
Points Standing / Total: 1st / 2,934 pts. (+20)
Next Race: Friday, May 26, Atomic Speedway, Waverly, 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.