MERCED, Calif. — Brad Sweet clawed his way to the lead early and never looked back for his fourth career victory with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network Friday at Merced Speedway.
“The biggest thing was getting out front, working through lapped traffic and avoiding a couple of close calls, and obviously holding off a fast closing Shane Golobic but I can’t thank the Mains enough,” Sweet explained. “This one is for Kyle. We lost him last year and this was his true passion, so this is really neat.”
Getting the run over Andy Forsburg for the top spot, Sweet steadily worked away from the field as Blake Hahn worked into second. Giving chase into traffic, Hahn closed on the No. 35m while Shane Golobic stalked the pair.
Working the low line of the quarter-mile oval through turns one and two, Golobic got the run for second as the trio diced through heavy slower traffic.
With Sweet in sight, the caution brought the run to a halt on lap 15. In clean air on the restart, Sweet again started inching away from the field before the caution lights came on again on lap 19.
Again, able to keep the NOS Energy Drink No. 17x at bay, Sweet’s night nearly went sideways on lap 24 when Grant Dunkerkin got wadded up in the turn-four cushion; sending the No. 67g on its side directly in the path of the No. 35m.
Able to avoid, the final six revolutions were quick for the Grass Valley driver as he opened his run to 1.394 seconds over Shane Golobic with Blake Hahn holding off Carson Macedo in the closing laps for third.
Macedo in fourth was trailed by Andy Forsburg to complete the top five.
A field of 51 drivers assembled for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network debut at Merced Speedway.
Feature (30 laps): 1. 35M-Brad Sweet; 2. 17X-Shane Golobic; 3. 52-Blake Hahn; 4. 21-Carson Macedo; 5. X1-Andy Forsberg; 6. 22-Ryan Bernal; 7. 11-Roger Crockett; 8. 38B-Blake Carrick; 9. 41-Dominic Scelzi; 10. 77X-Alex Hill; 11. 47X-Dylan Westbrook; 12. 88N-DJ Netto; 13. 14-Jordon Mallett; 14. 37-Mitchell Faccinto; 15. 7C-Justyn Cox; 16. 21K-Thomas Kennedy; 17. 21P-Robbie Price; 18. 17W-Harli White; 19. (DNF) 67G-Grant Dunkerkin; 20. (DNF) 17-Justin Sanders; 21. (DNF) 83T-Tanner Carrick; 22. (DNF) 24C-Chase Johnson; 23. (DNF) 95-Matt Covington; 24. (DNF) 28-Scott Bogucki