Sweet Sails to First World of Outlaws Victory at Clay County Cup
The Kasey Kahne Racing driver leads the final 15 laps at Clay County Fairgrounds
SPENCER, Iowa – June 8, 2012 – Rather than the traditional wing dance, Brad Sweet jumped on the first part of his car he could get ahold of in a boisterous celebration at Clay County Fairgrounds.
Sweet, a NASCAR driver who can’t be kept away from the dirt, picked up his first career World of Outlaws victory in front of an electric crowd Friday at the Clay County Cup.
“It’s like, ‘Finally!'” he said after nearly climbing on the hood of his sprint car in Victory Lane. “We’ve been out here for a couple of years trying to get this. We’ve led so many laps and came so close so many times, so to finally get the monkey off my back I feel like we’re getting some momentum coming into the good summer months and I feel like we can win some more.”
In addition to competing part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season, Sweet has made a handful of starts with World of Outlaws for Kasey Kahne Racing. He made the most of Friday’s opportunity with a powerful move to the lead during a restart on lap 16.
Sweet, who narrowly trailed polesitter Jason Sides for the first half of the 30-lap feature, rode the cushion around the track to perfection. While the duo entered turns three and four side by side, they exited with Sweet rocketing to the top spot at exactly the midpoint of the race.
“I know Jason real well,” he said. “I’ve raced against Jason a lot. He’s a clean racer and he’s really committed to the bottom most of the time. I felt like that top was getting cleaner and cleaner. Once he bobbled and I got a little bit more clean air on my nose, it was like I could run a little bit harder and feel a little bit more stuck on that cushion.”
Sweet pulled away to a sizeable margin and won by nearly a straightaway on the 3/8-mile oval. Meanwhile Sides fell to fifth after Sweet took the lead. Sides, who was riddled with four cautions while leading the first 15 laps of the feature, had to regroup in the closing laps and he was able to maneuver his way back to second place.
“We were good on the bottom,” Sides said. “When Sweet got by us there we actually tried the top and through the middle and stuff, and it wasn’t any good for us. I had to get back to the bottom and by that time we’d lost a few spots.
“I knew that we were good enough to be up there. I just had to calm myself down and get back to running my groove and hitting the marks that I needed to hit.”
After a three-way battle with Sweet and Sides for much of the first half of the race, Mark Dobmeier rounded out the podium.
“Sweet was running the top and Sides was running the bottom, and they were both good at their lanes so I just didn’t have a lane to get around them,” he said after placing third. “To be honest, it was a very racy track. We ran side by side for several laps there, so you couldn’t ask for much better of a track.”
The trio put on a dazzling show from the drop of the green flag on the dusty track. Their three-way battle for the lead was only slowed by a handful of cautions before the second half of the race went caution free.
Joey Saldana, who is fifth in the championship standings, was part of a seven-car crash on the frontstretch of the opening lap. Saldana’s car was towed to the pits, along with the race cars of Danny Lasoski, Terry McCarl, Davey Heskin and Jody Rosenboom. Lucas Wolfe and Austen Wheatley were able to continue after sustaining minor damage in the accident.
The race was then delayed on the eighth lap when Wheatley jumped the cushion in turns one and two. On the restart, Cody Darrah spun entering turn three and Wolfe had nowhere to go, sliding into Darrah.
The final caution came on lap 16 when Ian Madsen stopped on the frontstretch. That gave Sweet the opening he needed.
“It’s such a big relief to get this win and it feels really good for me and all my guys,” Sweet said. “Now I know what it takes to win these races and I should be able to get more I hope.”
Chad Kemenah, who drove from eighth and was running second with three laps remaining, finished fourth and Kerry Madsen was fifth. Sammy Swindell placed sixth and World of Outlaws championship standings leader Steve Kinser rallied from 21st to finish seventh to earn the KSE Hard Charger Award. Donny Schatz advanced from 22nd to eighth, Kraig Kinser was ninth and Brian Brown rounded out the top 10.
Saldana was the quickest in qualifying with a lap of 13.926 seconds. Sides, Ian Madsen and Dobmeier each claimed a heat race, and Craig Dollansky won the Last Chance Showdown.