With 11 laps to go, reigning champion Brad Sweet couldn’t throw a stone far enough to reach leader Sheldon Haudenschild. The next lap, he could just about reach out and touch him.
A slip up in Turn 4 at Beaver Dam Raceway Friday night by Haudenschild allowed Sweet to grab hold and never let go. He went wherever the NOS Energy Drink #17 wasn’t, looking for an opening to victory.
He found it around the outside of Haudenschild with the white flag in the air. And once he found it, the reigning champion charged his way to his third World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win of 2020 and third at Beaver Dam Raceway – also his second in a row at the 1/3-mile track.
“I tried to drive it as hard as I could to get to him (Haudenschild),” said Sweet as he tried to catch his breath in Victory Lane. “It’s hard sometimes to know where to go in lap traffic. Hats off to the team. They had a really good race car tonight. But the NAPA Auto Parts guys keep digging. Last weekend was a tough weekend on us, but we still came out with two decent finishes. It’s nice to be back on top. That’s where this team belongs.”
Sweet showcased the poise of a champion last weekend at Lake Ozark Speedway after he got put into the wall and flipped. If there was any stress, he didn’t show it. He had to use a rare provisional to start the Feature and charged from 25th to eighth. The next night, he finished third. He and his Kasey Kahne Racing team carried that momentum into the doubleheader weekend at Beaver Dam.
The Grass Valley, CA driver won the first Team Drydene Heat Race of the night and then went on to start third in the 30-lap Feature.
Haudenschild took the lead on the first lap, leaving Shane Stewart in second and Sweet in third. His Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing car was in a different league than everyone else. Even with having to wrestle lap traffic, Haudenschild had about a straightaway lead by Lap 10.
Sweet moved by Stewart on Lap 11 for second and then looked to run down Haudenschild. His NAPA Auto Parts #49 cut into Haudenschild’s lead a little every lap but never enough to put him on a trajectory toward victory. That didn’t stop him from trying, though.
Haudenschild ran the bottom, making consistent and smooth laps. However, with 11 laps to go, he got sideways in Turn 4, almost coming to a stop. By the time to straightened out his car and made it to the front stretch, Sweet was on his bumper.
The two battled side by side in the closing laps until Sweet built a strong enough run to launch around the outside of Haudenschild off Turn 4 with the white flag in front of them. With another clean lap around the top of the track and a little help from a lap car blocking Haudenschild’s lane, Sweet drove away with the win.
“Sometimes we set these cars up to be fast for the last 10 laps and you have to try and maintain the first 10,” Sweet said. “We were probably a little too tight in the first 10, but it did come to life there. Never give up. I didn’t think for one second I wasn’t going to win. At least didn’t stop trying and settle for second. You never know what can happen in racing… Anyway, we’re happy to get the win and happy to be racing in front of fans.”
Haudenschild had to settle for a runner-up finish – his third top-five of the year – but was motivated by the car his team gave him.
“Ah, man, definitely a really good race car,” said Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH. “Kyle, Nicholas, Drew, they’ve been working their butts off to give me great race cars and getting me starting up front. Putting me in position to battle for these wins. I feel like I ran a good race. Just should have moved around a little bit.”
Rounding out the podium was current points leader Logan Schuchart, of Hanover, PA – his eighth top-five finish in nine starts this year (the most of all drivers). He now has a six-point lead over Sweet and a 30-point lead over third-place 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz, who finished fourth.
Sweet will attempt to sweep the weekend and win three races in a row at Beaver Dam Raceway when the Series returns to the track on Sat., June 6 for the $10,000-to-win event. Tickets are sold out, but you can watch all of the action live on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [$6,000]; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$3,000]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,300]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,000]; 5. 71-Shane Stewart [$1,850]; 6. 14-Parker Price-Miller [$1,750]; 7. 83-Daryn Pittman [$1,550]; 8. 41-David Gravel [$1,350]; 9. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$1,250]; 10. 2-Carson Macedo [$1,100]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,000]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [$950]; 13. 5-Brent Marks [$900]; 14. 3-Tim Kaeding [$850]; 15. 17B-Bill Balog [$800]; 16. 9-Kasey Kahne [$750]; 17. 7S-Jason Sides [$700]; 18. 73-Jake Blackhurst [$700]; 19. 10V-Matt Vandervere [$700]; 20. 5J-Jeremy Schultz [$700]; 21. 13-Mark Dobmeier [$700]; 22. 68-Dave Uttech [$700]; 23. 10W-Scotty Thiel [$700]; 24. 2C-Wayne Johnson [$700]; Lap Leaders: Sheldon Haudenschild 1-26, 28; Brad Sweet 27, 29-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 41-David Gravel[+6]
Qualifying – 1. 14-Parker Price-Miller, 11.395; 2. 2-Carson Macedo, 11.517; 3. 71-Shane Stewart, 11.525; 4. 83-Daryn Pittman, 11.533; 5. 49-Brad Sweet, 11.568; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 11.589; 7. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 11.604; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 11.607; 9. 17B-Bill Balog, 11.644; 10. 41-David Gravel, 11.67; 11. 15-Donny Schatz, 11.704; 12. 73-Jake Blackhurst, 11.739; 13. 7S-Jason Sides, 11.747; 14. 1A-Jacob Allen, 11.783; 15. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 11.793; 16. 5-Brent Marks, 11.869; 17. 9-Kasey Kahne, 11.879; 18. 2W-Scotty Neitzel, 11.892; 19. 6-Bill Rose, 11.895; 20. 3-Tim Kaeding, 11.899; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 11.938; 22. 23-Russel Borland, 11.979; 23. 10W-Scotty Thiel, 11.997; 24. 5J-Jeremy Schultz, 12.022; 25. 33M-Mason Daniel, 12.042; 26. 68-Dave Uttech, 12.061; 27. 13-Mark Dobmeier, 12.115; 28. 9K-Kyle Schuett, 12.122; 29. 12W-Josh Walter, 12.124; 30. 10V-Matt Vandervere, 12.308; 31. 10S-Jay Steinebach, 12.52; 32. 25-Danny Schlafer, 12.791; 33. 55-Austin DeBlauw, 12.796; 34. 20R-Robbie Pribnow, 13.084; 35. 18S-Bryce Schmitt, 13.82; 36. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, NT
World Racing Group PR