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Brad Sweet en route to victory Saturday at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk photo)

Four Straight For Brad Sweet

PEVELY, Mo. — Brad Sweet led all 40 laps of Saturday night’s NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series feature at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 to earn his fourth consecutive victory with the series.

It was his fifth win of the year through 11 races aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb No. 49.

The two-time and defending series champion still has an underdog-like mentality and it’s driving him to victory lane on a nightly basis.

“I feel like everyone still kind of thinks of us as the underdog, so maybe they’ll give us some credit now,” Sweet said. “We feel really good right now. Winning give you more confidence. I’m in a good place as a race car driver, the car is handling great, and this crew is doing an amazing job. We came from ninth last night and did it from the pole tonight, so we’ve won from both spectrums.”

Earning the pole following his win in the dash, the odds were already stacked against Sweet, as no polesitter had won all year with the World of Outlaws. He and the KKR No. 49 crew were motivated to snap that streak and extend their own, though.

The Grass Valley, Calif., native led the opening lap and never relinquished command, extending another streak to 62 consecutive feature laps led. His Saturday night sweep wasn’t without challenge, though, as Gio Scelzi and Sheldon Haudenschild challenged.

Scelzi had a shot through the opening stages and got close on Lap nine with the aid of lap traffic, but the savviness of Sweet’s finesse though the back markers was too much to bare. When Scelzi faltered, Haudenschild rose to second and came within six-tenths of Sweet, but again his moves in traffic separated himself from the rest.

A lap-25 red flag for Tucker Klaasmeyer was the only stoppage of the race and set up a double-file restart, but it could do no harm in slowing Sweet’s roll.

He cruised around the cushion just inches off the wall and then dipped low, slid through the middle, and made all the right moves through the last 15 laps to run off with a victory by 1.937 seconds. It was the 63rd of his World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series career.

“We were off at the end last night, but tonight we made a small change and it was much better,” Sweet noted on his setup. “I felt like I had more grip and could move around in traffic with more ease. That’s the key to winning these; even when you win, you have to come back better the next night. It’s been through 11 races, but it’s an 83-race schedule. We want to enjoy these, but our heads are down and we’re looking to win a lot more of these.”

Extending his own record streak, Haudenschild finished second to earn a career-best seventh-straight top-five finish in his Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink No. 17.

“Brad was just on top of this weekend,” Haudenschild said. “They’re the guys to beat right now and we’re chasing them as hard we can. The car was really good, but we’ll keep working on it to try and get better. We’ve got some good tracks coming up, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Rounding out the podium with his second top-three finish of the year was Gio Scelzi in the KCP Racing No. 18.

“I ran as hard as I could for 40 laps,” Scelzi said. “He just makes such good moves through traffic, he’s hard to keep up with. We were a third-place car and a third-place driver tonight. It’s honestly relieving though. We were good in qualifying, good in the heat, and good in the feature. Feels like forever since I’ve been here on the podium at Volusia.”

Logan Schuchart and James McFadden rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, Pevely, Mo., April 3, 2021

Slick Woody’s Qualifying – 1. 2-David Gravel, 10.271; 2. 18-Giovanni Scelzi, 10.276; 3. 83-Aaron Reutzel, 10.286; 4. 7S-Jason Sides, 10.334; 5. 49-Brad Sweet, 10.353; 6. 15H-Sam Hafertepe, 10.36; 7. 35-Zach Hampton, 10.378; 8. 73-Scotty Thiel, 10.382; 9. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 10.383; 10. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 10.387; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 10.404; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen, 10.415; 13. 41-Carson Macedo, 10.474; 14. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, 10.475; 15. 19-Parker Price-Miller, 10.476; 16. 33M-Mason Daniel, 10.48; 17. 21-Brian Brown, 10.526; 18. 9-James McFadden, 10.528; 19. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 10.554; 20. 15-Donny Schatz, 10.563; 21. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 10.635; 22. 24-Rico Abreu, 10.676; 23. 21S-Carson Short, 10.697; 24. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 10.757; 25. 20G-Noah Gass, 10.769; 26. 98-Clinton Boyles, 10.93

DRYDENE Heat #1 (10 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer – 1. 2-David Gravel [1]; 2. 7S-Jason Sides [2]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [4]; 4. 41-Carson Macedo [5]; 5. 24-Rico Abreu [8]; 6. 35-Zach Hampton [3]; 7. 20G-Noah Gass [9]; 8. 33M-Mason Daniel [6]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [7]

DRYDENE Heat #2 (10 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer – 1. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [1]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [2]; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser [4]; 4. 73-Scotty Thiel [3]; 5. 21-Brian Brown [6]; 6. 15-Donny Schatz [7]; 7. 3-Ayrton Gennetten [5]; 8. 21S-Carson Short [8]; 9. 98-Clinton Boyles [9]

DRYDENE Heat #3 (10 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer – 1. 83-Aaron Reutzel [1]; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [3]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [2]; 4. 1A-Jacob Allen [4]; 5. 9-James McFadden [6]; 6. 19-Parker Price-Miller [5]; 7. 2C-Wayne Johnson [8]; 8. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer [7]

DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash (8 Laps) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [1]; 2. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [2]; 3. 83-Aaron Reutzel [5]; 4. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [3]; 5. 2-David Gravel [4]; 6. 7S-Jason Sides [6]

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer – 1. 3-Ayrton Gennetten [1][-]; 2. 2C-Wayne Johnson [4][-]; 3. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer [6][-]; 4. 33M-Mason Daniel [2][-]; 5. 21S-Carson Short [5][-]; 6. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [7][-]; 7. 98-Clinton Boyles [8][$300]; 8. 20G-Noah Gass [3][$250]

NOS Energy Drink Feature (40 Laps) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [1][$10,000]; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [4][$6,000]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [2][$3,500]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart [7][$2,800]; 5. 9-James McFadden [15][$2,500]; 6. 2-David Gravel [5][$2,300]; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser [8][$2,200]; 8. 41-Carson Macedo [10][$2,100]; 9. 83-Aaron Reutzel [3][$2,050]; 10. 7S-Jason Sides [6][$2,000]; 11. 15-Donny Schatz [17][$1,600]; 12. 19-Parker Price-Miller [18][$1,400]; 13. 24-Rico Abreu [13][$1,200]; 14. 21-Brian Brown [14][$1,100]; 15. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [9][$1,050]; 16. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [24][$1,000]; 17. 73-Scotty Thiel [11][$1,000]; 18. 1A-Jacob Allen [12][$1,000]; 19. 35-Zach Hampton [16][$1,000]; 20. 21S-Carson Short [23][$1,000]; 21. 33M-Mason Daniel [22][$1,000]; 22. 2C-Wayne Johnson [20][$1,000]; 23. 3-Ayrton Gennetten [19][$1,000]; 24. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer [21][$1,000]. Lap Leaders:Brad Sweet 1-40. KSE Hard Charger Award: 9-James McFadden[+10]

 

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