BURLINGTON, Iowa — A nine-race losing streak was more than enough for Brad Sweet.
The two-time and defending World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion ended his month-long dry spell in exciting fashion with a Thursday night triumph at 34 Raceway.
It was fitting that Sweet’s return to victory lane came at the cost of Carson Macedo, who was going for his third-straight victory as the hottest driver on the tour.
Leading 10 laps and out-running Macedo’s Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 through lapped traffic, Sweet’s win gave his Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 a total of 10 victories on the season.
“We’ve been through some adversity this last month,” Sweet said. “At the beginning of the year it was like nothing could go wrong, but man lately everything has been going wrong; but, that’s racing. You have to keep a positive mindset, and I think we have. This was big to build our confidence with all these big money races coming. Our focus is these next 10 days right now.”
Starting Thursday’s 30-lapper from the inside of row two, Sweet’s path to the win was far from easy.
Macedo, who won the dash to claim the pole position, was fresh off a weekend sweep at Knoxville Raceway and feeling good with a third triumph on the line. He paced the opening 16 laps and survived some hefty challenges from Sheldon Haudenschild , but never let the lead slip away until Sweet soared to command on lap 17.
The Big Cat pounced in lap traffic, but 25-year-old Macedo showed the prowess of a veteran and rallied back to re-take the top spot on lap 18. He held control for another four laps until Sweet snookered him for good and pointed the No. 49 to the lead on the 23rd circuit.
Halted only by a lap-10 restart, the race ensued to run to the checkered flag with Sweet storming off to a 2.195-second advantage over Macedo.
It was Sweet’s 68th career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory, placing him only 16 away from reaching the top-10 on the all-time wins list.
“Sometimes it’s better to be running second, but honestly I was disappointed with myself when I got him and he passed me back,” Sweet admitted. “I really had to get my elbows up to work around him the second time. You have to keep your composure more than anything, that’s what wins these races.”
Over the final nine laps, Macedo survived additional challenges from Haudenschild and then David Gravel for the second spot. It came down to the final corner, but Macedo edged Gravel by 0.086 seconds for the runner-up position.
“The lappers were just so tough to get by, and that hurt us,” Macedo mentioned. “Brad did a great job with that one. I got him back there for a minute, but he went right by again when I made the same mistake. It stings, but man every time I hit the track in this No. 41 car right now I’m super comfortable. Excited for this bust stretch.”
Gravel finished third.
“We had a good car, just needed a couple of corners to go different and it could’ve been interesting,” Gravel added.
To see full results, turn to the next page.