PAIGE, Texas — Brad Sweet led only the final lap of the inaugural ATX Rentals Outlaw Shootout at Cotton Bowl Speedway Friday night as he outdueled teammate Daryn Pittman on the final turn to capture his third World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
Sweet, who led the series points coming into the night after he piloted his Razorback/Sage Fruit No. 49 to two victories at the 45th annual DIRTcar Nationals, posted the sixth fastest time in qualifying then finished second in his heat, putting him in the dash.
The Grass Valley, Calif., native finished fifth in the dash, while Joey Saldana claimed the top spot in his Roth Enterprises/HR Livestock No. 83, putting him on the pole for the feature.
Saldana took the early lead over Daryn Pittman in the Great Clips/Team ASE No. 9. Pittman, who started third, passed David Gravel on the initial start.
The race was slowed by three early caution flags, which gave Pittman the chances he needed to challenge race leader Saldana. Saldana fought Pittman off each time the 2013 series champ tried to muscle his way to the lead. Saldana led the opening 23 laps, but was eventually slowed just enough by lapped traffic for Pittman to complete the pass with less than 10 laps remaining.
Pittman enjoyed the top spot for only a few laps as his teammate Sweet applied pressure after he quickly made his way around Saldana for second.
As the white flag waved, Sweet utilized a run off of turn two to power his way to Pittman’s inside as the leader encountered lapped traffic.
Sweet pulled even with Pittman as they entered the final turn. Sweet caught the inside cushion just enough to send his car into Pittman’s as the two made slight contact at the checkered flag.
Sweet bested his teammate by a tenth of a second.
“I just got a really good run off of turn two and I couldn’t really pass it up,” Sweet said. “It’s good that we’re both racing for the win, but I hate to make contact and hopefully there are no hard feelings because I didn’t mean to do that.
“It’s a long season and we’re off to a good start…(this win) says a lot about Kasey Kahne Racing. It seems like me and Daryn are racing for the win every single night and it’s a testament to our good guys.”
Pittman finished second.
“We got beat, there’s just no other way to say it,” Pittman said. “Second sucks. There’s too many of these races where our car is good enough to win and I am not finishing the job. I need to figure out what’s wrong and where I am making mistakes to put myself in this position on the last lap.
“This is unacceptable to me. Volusia was unacceptable and here we are two races later letting it happen again. This team deserves better and I am not going to quit or get mad. That’s four races in the last three or four months that I lost off of turn four, leading and being able to see the checkered flag and not getting there first.”
Rounding out the top three was second place starter David Gravel in the Big Game Treestands/JRC No. 5.
David Gravel finished third with Saldana and Donny Schatz completing the top five.