JACKSON, Minn. — Brad Sweet emerged victorious on Friday evening at Jackson Motorplex, which welcomed nearly 60 of the best winged sprint car drivers in the country for the opening round of the Great Lakes Shootout presented by Tweeter Contracting and Harvey’s Five Star Roofing.
Sweet, who is the defending AGCO Jackson Nationals winner at the four-tenths-mile dirt track, capitalized on a late-race move in traffic to lead the final eight laps of the $5,000-to-win, 25-lap main event featuring the Outlaw Sprints Fueled by Casey’s General Stores 410 winged sprint cars and the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series.
“I thought the race was really good,” Sweet said.
No spectators were allowed inside the facility because of the impact of COVID-19 and the race was available on pay-per-view.
Sweet started sixth and gained a spot on the opening lap. He powered into third place by the time Sheldon Haudenschild passed Donny Schatz for the lead on lap 11. Sweet took second from Schatz on lap 13 and reeled in Haudenschild in traffic as the final 23 laps of the race went non-stop.
Five laps later Haudenschild slipped off the bottom in turn four, providing the opportunity for Sweet to rocket into the lead. He then held the bottom groove for the final eight laps and won by less than seven tenths of a second.
“I was lucky to get a couple of breaks in traffic,” Sweet said. “(Sheldon) made one small mistake and luckily we were there to capitalize.”
Haudenschild finished second with Schatz third, Kasey Kahne fourth and Ian Madsen fifth.
Schatz and Daryn Pittman each set quick time in their qualifying groups before Schatz, Zeb Wise, Tony Knight, Lynton Jeffrey, Bill Balog and Mark Dobmeier each won a heat race.
Feature (25 laps): 1. 49-Brad Sweet (6); 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild (3); 3. 15-Donny Schatz (1); 4. 9-Kasey Kahne (5); 5. 18-Ian Madsen (2); 6. 83-Daryn Pittman (8); 7. 3-Tim Kaeding (14); 8. 2M-Kerry Madsen (16); 9. 17B-Bill Balog (10); 10. 11-Zeb Wise (7); 11. 57-Kyle Larson (13); 12. 87-Aaron Reutzel (15); 13. 04-Tony Knight (11); 14. 26-Cory Eliason (20); 15. 09-Matt Juhl (9); 16. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss (18); 17. 14T-Tony Stewart (23); 18. 7S-Jason Sides (19); 19. 13-Mark Dobmeier (12); 20. 2-Carson Macedo (24); 21. 16-Brooke Tatnell (21); 22. 14-Parker Price Miller (22); 23. 7-Justin Henderson (17); 24. (DNF) 83R-Lynton Jeffrey (4).