Brad Sweet Scores First Win of Season at Salina Highbanks
Story By: Anthony Corini/WoO
Photo By: Tim Aylwin/WoO
SALINA, OK – May 5, 2018 – Brad Sweet landed in Victory Lane for the first time in 2018 with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, coming from fifth to pass early leader Donny Schatz on Lap 5. Schatz, who was searching for his third straight win, would hold on for second with Daryn Pittman completing the podium, continuing his recent hot streak.
Oklahoma native Shane Stewart won the Craftsman Club Dash, earning the pole for the 30-lap Feature as the Kyle Larson Racing team looked for their first win of the season. Stewart took command of the field down the backstretch, but disaster struck as the Bixby, OK native got too high in turn three and hit the tire on the outside of turn four. Stewart’s crew was able to make repairs and tag the rear on the complete restart.
Donny Schatz officially led the opening lap with Brad Sweet quickly asserting himself into the runner-up position. Sweet, while running a car-length higher than Schatz, closed in and pulled even with the nine-time Series Champion at the completion of Lap 4. Sweet used the momentum to shoot underneath Schatz and take control down the backstretch to officially lead Lap 5.
Zach Chappell, a former Outlaw regular who was making his first winged 410 start in 11 years, brought out the caution with 21 laps remaining, when he failed to clear the racing surface after coming to a stop. Sweet elected the high line on the double-file restart and continued to control the pace with Schatz and Kerry Madsen in tow.
As rubber became more prominent on the racing surface, Sweet was forced to follow lapped traffic, allowing Schatz and company to close in. Daryn Pittman continued his charge forward from eighth to take third from Kerry Madsen before the caution came out for Jason Johnson, who blew a right rear tire with seven laps to go.
Schatz tried to power around Sweet by going a car-length higher than the NAPA Auto Parts No.49, but was unable to close in and settled back in line. Sweet would go on to take the checkered for the first time this season by a margin of 1.064 seconds over Schatz.
“These guys have been giving me great race cars all year, it’s nice to get the monkey off our back. It’s never fun to win rubber races, but we passed the best in the business to do it,” Sweet said. “I can’t thank my guys enough. We’re back in Victory Lane where we belong, we’ll celebrate this one and try and get on a roll here,” the Grass Valley, CA native added.
When asked about the late restart, Donny Schatz said, “I tried to rip the top on the restart, but the track was pretty locked down. We did the best we could and tonight that was second.” Schatz continues to lead the Series Point Standings in search for his 10th Series Championship.
Daryn Pittman was in good spirits and his effort was good enough to earn KSE Hard Charger honors. “We’ve had a good car for the last few weeks, it has been a blast to drive. The track changed a lot throughout the night and I’m glad to see the NAPA Racing team get their first win of the year, I know they’ve been working hard,” Pittman said. After the top three crossed the finish line, Jason Sides shredded a tire, bringing the race to an official end.
Madsen, last year’s winner at Salina, settled for fourth, his second consecutive top-five finish with the Outlaws with David Gravel completing the top-five. Shane Stewart charged back to finish 10th. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series continues its 40th Anniversary Season with its first trip of the season to the historic Eldora Speedway with the running of the Let’s Race Two program with USAC on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13, before hauling back to Indiana for the third-attempt at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, IN. If you can’t make it to the track, be sure to watch all the action LIVE on DIRTVision.com!
Abbreviated Results from Salina Highbanks – May 5, 2018
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 49-Brad Sweet [$10,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [$5,500]; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman [$3,200]; 4. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$2,800]; 5. 5-David Gravel [$2,500]; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,300]; 7. 19-Brent Marks [$2,200]; 8. 83-Cory Eliason [$2,100]; 9. 3-Sammy Swindell [$2,050]; 10. 2-Shane Stewart [$2,000]; 11. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$1,500]; 12. 18-Ian Madsen [$1,200]; 13. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,100]; 14. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,050]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides [$1,000]; 16. 41-Jason Johnson [$900]; 17. 13-Clyde Knipp [$800]; 18. OO-Dane Lorenc [$800]; 19. W20-Greg Wilson [$800]; 20. 50Z-Zach Chappell [$800]; 21. 1J-Danny Jennings [$800] Lap Leaders: Donny Schatz 1-4, Brad Sweet 5-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 9-Daryn Pittman[+5]