CONCORD, N.C. — While Brad Sweet has moved on to racing full time in the High Limit Racing Series that he co-owns with Kyle Larson, he’s left behind a road map to winning the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series championship.
Sweet, who won the title five consecutive years, enjoyed remarkable consistency during his era at the top of the series. It was consistency that consistency at which his competitors continue to marvel.
“Brad has been very tough over the past how many years,” said Logan Schuchart. “He didn’t fall out of races and if you are going to win a championship you can’t have off nights. The best way to win a championship is not fall out of races.”
“He (Sweet) hasn’t won the most races, he’s just been consistent,” said 10-time series champion Donny Schatz. “An eighth-place might have won him a championship.”
Carson Macedo is not happy that Sweet won’t be racing full time with the series.
“I’m devastated with Brad moving on. I think it is a terrible thing,” Macedo said during World of Outlaws media day at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I don’t care that we have the opportunity to win more races. That’s great, I guess. The World of Outlaws is about beating the best. Right now, I view Brad as the best. He’s won the last five championships in a row.
“When all the changes were going on, I was one of the few really bummed out about it. It is bittersweet, Brad winning the Outlaw champions, there were times I was talking to Brad and I said, ‘How would you feel if you were as close as you had ever been to having a shot at winning the championship and Donny left? You wouldn’t feel like that was a good thing.’
“There is more of an opportunity there to win more races. I feel like there is an opportunity for a lot of people to capitalize on that change.”
Sheldon Haudenschild believes it is possible for a driver to win 20 World of Outlaws features this season.
“I truly believe you can win 20 races,” the driver of the Stenhouse-Marshall Racing No. 17 said. “They’ve showed it in the past that it is doable and I think once you get rolling it is easier than it sounds. Nine is the most we have won in a season.
“Obviously, the 20 mark is a big jump, but I think how this year is, it is doable I think getting to that 12 or 13 mark is very doable.”
Ten-time series champion Donny Schatz was the last to hit the 20-win mark when he claimed 22 victories in 2018.
“Our sport is ultra-competitive,” said David Gravel, who has finished second in points three times. “I won 18 races with CJB that one year (2018) and Donny won more than me. For whatever reason, it just seems harder to win right now.
“I don’t know how many second-place finishes I had last year, but it was like 12 or 15. It was over 10. Those easily could have been wins. A lot of them weren’t bad seconds. I didn’t lose the race late. Twenty wins is definitely awesome. If I win 12 races and get to 100 (career victories) and win the championship, I will take that over 20 wins.”