BIG CAT STRENGTH: Brad Sweet Dominates Pevely for First Ironman 55 Title
Championship Leader Controls All 55 Laps for $20,000 Payday
PEVELY, MO - August 6, 2022 - There was simply no denying Brad Sweet on Saturday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.
As a three-time champion and winner of 77 career Features with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, the Grass Valley, CA native is still finding ways to knock out those first-career achievements with The Greatest Show on Dirt.
In July, he finally earned his first-career win at Williams Grove Speedway, and on Saturday, he finally tamed the iconic Ironman 55 presented by Festus Tourism Commission. "The Big Cat" has long been successful at the Pevely, MO 1/3-mile - proven by his now five-career wins at the track - but the track's flagship event had always eluded him until tonight.
Earning the pole position with his Series-best fifth win in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, Sweet quickly assumed the point and never relinquished it throughout 55 laps. The Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49 was in impeccable form, building an advantage as large as 4+ seconds at one point, and surviving a trio of restarts with ease.
It was a bit of redemption for the current championship leader, who lost Friday's Night Before the Ironman in heartbreaking fashion when lap traffic allowed Carson Macedo to instantly close and complete a Hail Mary slider. The 36-year-old kept that in mind as he destroyed the field in Saturday's $20,000-to-win Feature.
"After last night, I felt like we had something to prove and I was pretty pissed off to be honest," Sweet admitted. "I let my guys down and I didn't do my job to deliver the win we needed and deserved. Team morale and confidence are a big thing in this sport and now we're heading to the Knoxville Nationals after dominating 55 laps on the hardest track of the year. It's nice to finally add this one to the resume."
Although the 2018 Knoxville Nationals champion controlled Saturday's show from green to checkered, he never felt at ease in the cockpit.
"You just don't have any time to relax at this race track," Sweet continued. "You're constantly searching for a faster line and I felt like I drove 48 good laps, but there were some mistakes in there when I went looking for things. Luckily this car was so good that I could maneuver a little better than others. I was definitely a little extra tense about getting this one."
Trailing Sweet's NAPA #49 for all 55 laps was Carson Macedo in the Jason Johnson Racing, Albaugh #41. Unlike Friday night, there was no late-race magic to spoil Sweet's party this time. The Lemoore, CA native did receive his golden opportunity when the caution flew on Lap 50 and lined him up on Sweet's rear bumper, but nothing could deter the #49 from cruising to a 1.396-second margin of victory.
"I think we were competitive again and felt like we executed really well, but Brad was just so damn good in that Feature," Macedo mentioned on chasing Sweet. "He could move around and make it work wherever he needed. I feel like last year we weren't nearly this good at Pevely, so to come here with two wins and a second is pretty awesome. I'm pumped up for Knoxville."
Completing the exact same trio of podium finishers for the second night in a row was James McFadden in his Roth Motorsports #83. He'll head to the Knoxville Nationals carrying loads of speed and confidence hoping to add that first win of the season to his belt.
"He spanked us," McFadden said on Sweet. "When there's a middle like that, Brad is the guy to beat. We were competitive with Carson and I had a really good battle with Donny, too. I love racing with Donny, a guy as good as him, and how he races you. Those guys out front were in another world, but it was fun battling our little bubble tonight. I hope I can win this race one day, we've been close several times now. Onto Knoxville."
Donny Schatz finished in fourth for the second straight night aboard his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Ford Performance, Carquest Auto Parts #15. Rounding out the top five was Sheldon Haudenschild, who charged from 19th to fifth to earn KSE Hard Charger honors in the Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17.
Closing out the top-10 in Saturday's 55-lapper was Rico Abreu in sixth, Brock Zearfoss in seventh, Justin Peck in eighth, Noah Gass in ninth, and Spencer Bayston in tenth.
NOS NOTEBOOK (I-55 Raceway, 8/6/22)
Brad Sweet's 77th career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win brings him to seven wins away from tying Stevie Smith (84) for 10th on the All-Time Wins List.
David Gravel opened the night with his 95th career World of Outlaws QuickTime, circling I-55 in 10.512 seconds to lead My Place Hotels Qualifying. Gravel, Hunter Schuerenberg, Logan Schuchart, and Brock Zearfoss scored Saturday's NOS Energy Drink Heat Races.
Following his actions at Weedsport Speedway last Sunday - which included pushing and pulling a Series official, throwing safety equipment onto a live track, and making obscene gestures towards the crowd - Sheldon Haudenshild received a fine of $1,000 to be paid by September 1, 2022.
UP NEXT (Wed-Sat) – The Greatest Show on Dirt now prepares for The Granddaddy of 'Em All. The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series is heading for The Sprint Car Capital of the World, Knoxville, Iowa. A field of 100+ entries will compete for a million-dollar purse in the 61st NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey's from Wednesday-Saturday, August 10-13. Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE, or watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (55 Laps) - 1. 49-Brad Sweet [$20,000]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo [$6,000]; 3. 83-James McFadden [$3,500]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,800]; 5. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,500]; 6. 24-Rico Abreu [$2,300]; 7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$2,200]; 8. 13-Justin Peck [$2,100]; 9. 20G-Noah Gass [$2,050]; 10. 5-Spencer Bayston [$2,000]; 11. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [$1,600]; 12. 2-David Gravel [$1,400]; 13. 1AU-Marcus Dumesny [$1,200]; 14. 51B-Joe B-Miller [$1,100]; 15. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,050]; 16. 84-Brandon Hanks [$1,000]; 17. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,000]; 18. 9JR-Derek Hagar [$1,000]; 19. 3N-Jake Neuman [$1,000]; 20. 7S-Robbie Price [$1,000]; 21. 101-Lachlan McHugh [$1,000]; 22. 25-JJ Hickle [$1,000]; 23. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,000]; 24. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Brad Sweet 1-55. KSE Hard Charger Award: 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[+14]
NEW Championship Standings (After 47/77 Races) – 1. Brad Sweet (6,380); 2. David Gravel (-68); 3. Carson Macedo (-114); 4. Sheldon Haudenschild (-150); 5. Donny Schatz (-184); 6. Logan Schuchart (-224); 7. James McFadden (-356); 8. Spencer Bayston (-372); 9. Jacob Allen (-616); 10. Brock Zearfoss (-688).
HAIL MARY: Carson Macedo Makes Miraculous Last-Lap Pass on Brad Sweet for I-55 Win
World of Outlaws Sprint Cars to Battle 55 Laps for $20,000 on Saturday
PEVELY, MO - August 5, 2022 - The check was all but written in Brad Sweet's name on Friday when Carson Macedo came out of nowhere, threw a slider from St. Louis, and pulled off an all-time stunner to steal the win on the Night Before the Ironman.
After controlling the first 29 laps at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, "The Big Cat" appeared poised to complete a clean sweep of the evening and bank his third World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win of the 2022 season. The only problem is they don't pay you for the first 29 laps, they only pay you for those final few feet at the checkered flag and that belonged to Macedo's Jason Johnson Racing #41.
Capitalizing on bad positioning in lap traffic, Macedo chopped the gap down from 0.753-seconds at the white flag to virtually nothing when he went full send into turn three and committed to clearing the three-time and defending Series champion. It all worked out, though, as he hit the grip, slid across Sweet's nose, whipped it under the lapper, and crossed the checkered flag while most fans in attendance and those watching on DIRTVision were still trying to process what happened.
It was a move that electrified the Pevely, MO crowd, sent social media into a frenzy, amped up the #41 camp, and dejected the #49 team. There were the highest of highs, and lowest of lows, and the reasons why it's called The Greatest Show on Dirt.
"There was a little bit of luck involved there," Macedo acknowledged on Sweet being held up. "I saw him get caught up and then spin the tires down the backstretch and I knew there wasn't much grip up top where he was pointed. I had been doing it for much of the race where I'd run into turn three as hard as I possibly could to the center and find a little strip of grip with my right rear. That would get me to center off and from there I could just hope he was flustered and couldn't cross me."
The sensational victory gives Macedo eight in 2022, tying him with Sheldon Haudenschild as the winningest driver on tour. The 25-year-old now sits on 25 career World of Outlaws wins with 19 of those coming in the Jason Johnson Racing #41, tying him with David Gravel as the winningest driver in team history.
He's now won back-to-back World of Outlaws Features at I-55, and tomorrow chases a $20,000 payday with his first-career Ironman 55 title on the line.
"Beating Brad, a three-time champion and one of the best out here, like that feels really special," Macedo added. "That was a really great race. It's why we're here, to put on amazing shows like that for you fans. This place is tough, but it's a lot of fun. You really have to get your elbows up and get after it. Hopefully we can add an Ironman title tomorrow."
A heartbroken Brad Sweet, who led by as much as 3.379-seconds at halfway, was vocal on his last-lap traffic incident in Victory Lane. The battle cost him his third win of the season, but he did nail down his 16th podium and extended his championship lead over David Gravel.
"All you can do is hope the lappers race you with respect," said Sweet, expressing his displeasure. "I gave Marcus [Dumesny] plenty of room there and thought I would get more in return. You know he was the caution before that and he sput out by himself, and almost took us out too. Then he did that there on the last lap and I just don't think that is how you race people. It is what it is, though, and I could've made some different moves to not put myself in that position. It's unfortunate for us, but Carson did a great job. We'll be ready to get the Ironman title tomorrow."
Behind the mayhem up front was James McFadden with his seventh podium finish of the season in third place. The Alice Springs, NT, Australia native continues to show speed in the Roth Motorsports #83, building his momentum towards that long-awaited 99th World of Outlaws win for car owners Dennis & Teresa Roth.
"We kept it on all four wheels and that's kind of a win with how treacherous it is out there," McFadden kidded. "I thought I was going to bounce clear back into the trailer at one point. We had a really great car I think, but I lost too much time sliding back and forth with Sheldon [Haudenschild]. I love racing at the place, though. I reckon that the fans really had a lot of fun watching that one. We'll come back tomorrow ready for 55 more.
Rounding out the top-five on Friday night was two-time I-55 winner, Donny Schatz, in the fourth position aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15, and the 2018 Ironman 55 champion, Logan Schuchart, in fifth place in the Shark Racing #1S.
Closing the top-10 in Pevely, MO was David Gravel, of Watertown, CT, Sheldon Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH, Justin Peck, of Monrovia, IN, Lachlan McHugh of Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, and Marcus Dumesny, of Nelson, NSW, Australia.
UP NEXT (Sat) – The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returns to Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, MO on Saturday, August 6. The Greatest Show on Dirt will be joined by the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series as the 14th annual Ironman 55 concludes. Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE, or watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (30 Laps) – 1. 41-Carson Macedo [$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [$5,500]; 3. 83-James McFadden [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,600]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,350]; 6. 2-David Gravel [$2,150]; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,100]; 8. 13-Justin Peck [$1,950]; 9. 101-Lachlan McHugh [$1,900]; 10. 1AU-Marcus Dumesny [$1,850]; 11. 5-Spencer Bayston [$1,400]; 12. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$1,200]; 13. 20G-Noah Gass [$1,000]; 14. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$950]; 15. 35-Zach Hampton [$900]; 16. 22S-Slater Helt [$900]; 17. 6-Bill Rose [$900]; 18. 51B-Joe B-Miller [$900]; 19. 7S-Robbie Price [$900]; 20. 49J-Josh Schneiderman [$900]; 21. 1A-Jacob Allen [$900]; 22. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$900]; 23. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [$900]; 24. 25-JJ Hickle [$900]. Lap Leaders: Brad Sweet 1-29, Carson Macedo 30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 20G-Noah Gass[+11]
NEW Championship Standings (After 46/77 Races) – 1. Brad Sweet (6,230); 2. David Gravel (-44); 3. Carson Macedo (-110); 4. Sheldon Haudenschild (-140); 5. Donny Schatz (-176); 6. Logan Schuchart (-190); 7. Spencer Bayston (-352); 8. James McFadden (-350); 9. Jacob Allen (-570); 10. Brock Zearfoss (-674).