Determination Propels Sweet To Victory

Brad Sweet celebrated one of his finest races in Victory Lane. (Mark Funderburk photo)
Brad Sweet celebrated one of his finest races in Victory Lane. (Mark Funderburk photo)
Brad Sweet celebrated one of his finest races in Victory Lane. (Mark Funderburk photo)

BEAVER DAM, Wis. – For Brad Sweet to be even at a race track and competing was a miracle.

A feature victory for the 28-year-old Grass Valley, California, native at the World of Outlaw STP Sprint Car Series Jim Boyd Memorial on Saturday at Beaver Dam Raceway was unheard of.

That’s what Sweet did.

In a gutsy and flattering performance, Sweet led the final 16 laps of the 40-lap “A” main, holding off two teammates in the process, to pick up his fifth victory of the 2014 season and eighth of his young career.

The victory came just hours after a scary crash the night before, which left his left foot in a cast.

“I’m pretty surprised,” Sweet said about his accomplishment, adding it is the most gutsy victory of his career.

The accomplishment was jaw-dropping for his competitors.

“It’s unbelievable,” Bill Balog said. “I can’t believe he’s here.”

Likely, the competitors wish he hadn’t shown up. All night, Sweet was fast. He was the second fastest in qualifying and was third in the top-eight dash.

Sweet, who is in his first full season with the World of Outlaw Series, and Cody Darrah completed a 1-2 finish for Kasey Kahne Racing. Donny Schatz was third, followed by Daryn Pittman and Kerry Madsen. Pittman also races for Kasey Kahne Racing.

“It’s awesome to see Brad in victory lane and not upside down,” Darrah said. “You go through times where you get reminded of the dangers of our sport. Last night was one of those that hit close to home.”

Darrah’s second was a bit bittersweet because he believed he had a car good enough to win the race. However, second was OK on this night.
“Brad’s a tough guy,” Darrah said. “They’ve got a fire in their stomach and it’s cool to be able to race with them.”

The top non-World of Outlaw regular was Balog, who finished ninth. However, Balog, the six-time defending Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series champion, was coming off a World of Outlaw Series career-best third-place finish Friday night at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa. Balog was fourth fastest in qualifying and won the eight-lap dash to earn the pole position for the “A” main.

Balog also led 20 laps in the “A” main, including the first 13.

“I don’t if I used up my stuff too early,” Balog said. “We just weren’t any good at the end. But I’m happy.”

The World of Outlaw Series was joined by the Wisconsin-Illinois Mini Sprints and the Wisconsin Dirt Legends.

Nick Petska, the two-time defending series champion, won the Mini Sprints “A” main, and Chris Flick won his second straight and second career Legends feature.