BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Defending World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion Brad Sweet survived a wild skirmish with Ian Madsen to claim his first Outlaw win of the season Saturday night during Volusia Speedway Park’s DIRTcar Nationals.
While battling for the lead, the duo touched in turn two, launching Madsen into the new backstretch catchfence and back onto the backstretch, tearing a segment of fencing loose.
The huge crowd let out a collective gasp, then a huge sigh of relief and round of applause when Madsen emerged from his shredded KCP Racing No. 18 unhurt.
Madsen had scored a convincing win in the dash to claim the pole, then blew away from front row companion Sweet on the initial start. But the yellow flag flew when Tim Shaffer, subbing in Tony Stewart’s No. 14, went over in turn four before the lap could be scored.
The second try saw Madsen hit turn one high and Sweet go low, with the Australian winning the battle and leaving Sweet to fend off the advances of third-starting Brian Brown.
By lap six the leaders were lapping the backmarkers, with Sweet then getting a big run on Madsen into turn one when a lapped car caused him to check up slightly.
Sweet got the lead, but Madsen dug deep and tried to get it back by squeezing between Sweet and the outside wall in turn two – only to run out of room and take a vicious flip.
“I thought I had Ian cleared but I guess he thought he could make it,” offered Sweet after the race. “I feel really bad for both him and his team. After that, the lapped cars were tricky, but we survived and made some good moves late in the race that sealed the deal.”
With the track crew needing the better part of an hour to repair the catch fence, crews had time to work on their cars on the frontstretch, with many making substantial changes.
After order was restored, Sweet blew away from the field on the restart, with James McFadden in the sister KKR No. 9 shooting by Sam Hafertepe Jr. on the break and then Brown the next time around to claim second.
Fast-timer Daryn Pittman followed in his tracks and by lap 10, the podium of Sweet, McFadden and Pittman was set.
By lap 12, Sweet was back in traffic again, playing it like a virtuoso. He passed high and low, splitting side-by-side lappers when he had to, and still McFadden got a run on him through the late teens with Pittman hot on his tail.
A yellow to retrieve a stalled Kyle Larson – slowed with a shredded right-rear tire – from turn four on lap 26 finally got the leaders out of traffic. After that, Sweet was home free.
Behind them, Logan Schuchart turned in the drive of the night, advancing from 25th to place fifth in his Drydene No. 1s.
Brown hung on for fourth while Donny Schatz led a second five that included Carson Macedo, Sheldon Haudenschild, Aaron Reutzel and Hafertepe.
“I really didn’t want that last caution,” said McFadden. “I thought I might get a run on Brad, but Brad’s always fast and he’s really good in clean air.”
Pittman, who was one of the drivers who made major changes to his Roth Motorsports No. 83 during the open red, completed the podium.
“We made some good decisions on the red that made our car even better, but some nights third is all you can do,” noted Pittman.
Jacob Allen was the B-Main winner.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.