JACKSON, Minn. – The Granddaddy of ‘Em All is officially in the rearview mirror, but The Greatest Show on Dirt keeps marching on this weekend at the Jackson Nationals.
A three-day trip to Minnesota’s Jackson Motorplex brings the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series to town for the 44th annual AGCO Jackson Nationals. Preliminary action on Thursday and Friday leads into Saturday’s $25,000-to-win finale as the Series makes its final stop in Minnesota this season.
Donny Schatz is fresh off an 11th Knoxville Nationals crown and leading the charge into the second half of 2022 aboard his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing Sprint Car machine. He’s joined by championship contenders Brad Sweet, David Gravel, Carson Macedo, Sheldon Haudenschild, and Logan Schuchart as favorites for the win this weekend.
With an 11th Knoxville Nationals title added to the collection, Donny Schatz now eyes a second Jackson Nationals crown. The 2018 master of Minnesota owns three total wins in Jackson, MN with 11 top-five finishes through 22 Series starts at the track.
The Fargo, N.D. native currently sits fifth in the championship standings (-184 points) aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Carquest Auto Parts, Ford Performance No. 15. It’s a large obstacle to overcome, but the 10-time World of Outlaws champion has proved he’s up for the task. Over the second half of 2021, he earned more points than any other driver and looks to do the same this year with a $175,000 payday last week boosting momentum and confidence.
Logan Schuchart will have a chance to do something never done before in the 44-year history of the AGCO Jackson Nationals this weekend. The Shark Racing No. 1S pilot has already joined the likes of Jack McCorkell (1980-81) and Terry McCarl (2003-04) as a back-to-back champion of the Minnesota staple, but now he could become the first driver to win three-straight Jackson Nationals.
The DuraMAX Oil, Drydene Performance Products entry is as hot as ever, coming off a week in Iowa where they won the Capitani Classic, won Wednesday’s preliminary night, and charged from 17th to third in Saturday’s Knoxville Nationals finale. All told, the 29-year-old left Knoxville with more than $60,000 in earnings.
He’s currently sixth in the championship standings (-224 points) and ready to make a charge in the second half as he continues to chase his second World of Outlaws win of the 2022 season. Schuchart finished second, then third, and eventually first in Jackson, Minn. last year, proving he’ll be a threat to make it a three-peat this week.
For Big Game Motorsports, a trip to the Jackson Motorplex means racing close to home this weekend. The Tod Quiring-owned operation – based out of Windom, Minn. – will have a quick 30-minute jaunt down the road to Jackson, Minn. to race at another entity owned by Quiring.
The No. 2 driver, David Gravel, has yet to win at Jackson but has always recorded solid results at the three-eighths-mile. Through 19 starts, Gravel has earned nine top-five finishes with four podium appearances headlining his winless resume at his boss’ home track.
He matched his career-best of second in last year’s Jackson Nationals and hopes 2022 is the year he delivers a title for Tod Quiring at his own track. Gravel is fresh off a second-place outing at the Knoxville Nationals, which paid out $80,000 and crucial momentum as he continues to sit second in the standings (-68 points) with his first-ever World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series championship on the line.
Back To Points
With the Knoxville Nationals in the rear-view mirror, the full-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car competitors return to points racing this weekend. The Series still has 26 races remaining this season and entering Jackson, Brad Sweet holds a 68-point advantage with his fourth consecutive championship on the line this season.
The Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 left Knoxville a bit disappointed with a ninth-place finish, but they return to one of their strongest tracks this weekend. In his last 15 starts at Jackson, Sweet has never run worse than seventh and owns an average finish of 3.0 with four victories and two Jackson Nationals titles (2017, 2019) to his credit.
All eyes will be on the points battle over the next three months as the Series continues the path to the season-ending World Finals (Nov. 2-5) at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
The Race To 10
Through 51 races, both Carson Macedo and Sheldon Haudenschild are sitting on eight victories with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. This weekend’s tripleheader at Jackson presents each with three opportunities to win the race to double-digit wins in 2022.
Macedo is a former winner at Jackson Nationals during preliminary competition in 2019 and recently finished in the top-five of all three nights last year aboard the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41. Macedo currently sits third in the championship standings (-114 points) with plenty of his best tracks still left on the calendar to close out 2022.
Haudenschild has yet to win at the Jackson, Minn. venue, but he does own a career-best result of second in IRA competition. The Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink No. 17 has finished as high as fourth at Jackson in 2020 and comes into this weekend fresh off a hard-charging 23rd to eighth performance at the Knoxville Nationals.