World of Outlaws–Triple Threat: Brad Sweet Picks up Third Win of the Season in NAPA Rumble in Michigan

Triple Threat: Brad Sweet Picks up Third Win of the Season in NAPA Rumble in Michigan
Snaps Donny SchatzÂ’s five-race Win Streak
LAKE ODESSA, Mich. – June 24, 2015 – Racing on the bullrings of his home state of California early in his career taught Brad Sweet how to negotiate some pretty intimidating cushions. A nearly foot and a half cushion that resembled more a ledge on Wednesday night at I-96 Speedway in Michigan didn’t faze Sweet, nor did a battle with six-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz.

Sweet used a slide job in turns one and two on lap 29 to take the lead from Schatz and withstood a number of late restarts to win the NAPA Auto Parts Rumble in Michigan which marked his third win of the season and first since April. Sweet, who was the final of three leaders on Wednesday night, became the sixth different winner in the last five races for the World of Outlaws at I-96 Speedway.

“It was a tricky track tonight,” said Sweet, who drives the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet machine for Kasey Kahne Racing. “I got a terrible restart and I think I just got really mad and got my elbows up. I had a win it or wear it mentality. The (No.) 15 has been making it tough on everyone out here and we all have been fighting and clawing to try to figure it out. We still have a lot of work to do to beat Donny (Schatz), but tonight we were able to get the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet car in victory lane and it feel really, really good.”

Sweet lined up fourth and was up to second following the first caution of the night on the seventh lap. After he took the lead on lap-29, he briefly lost it on a restart, but Schatz was called for a jump and Sweet retained the lead. The final six laps were slowed by three cautions and a red flag period. Sweet used strong restarts each time to hold the top spot en route to the win.

“It was hard to tell which way to go sometimes on those restarts,” noted Sweet. “I chose the bottom because it seemed like the bottom was winning of the restarts before. I wasn’t sure about that tricky cushion. Donny got a run there on that one and they called back. We did everything we could tonight. We fought and we clawed.”

Schatz, who was seeking his sixth straight win, started on the outside of the front row next to his teammate Steve Kinser, who led the opening 15 circuits. Schatz would pace the field for 13 laps, while Sweet and Kerry Madsen stalked him. While his win streak was snapped, Schatz was able to extend his lead in the series standings as he chases his seventh series title aboard the Bad Boy Buggies J&J.

Following a late restart, Schatz went over the banking off the back straightaways, falling back a few spots. He would use a late charge to get back by Paul McMahan and Kerry Madsen to finish second.

“You only see a cushion like that once every 30 or 40 races,” said Schatz. “My crew is awesome and they are working to make the car so we don’t have to run the cushion like that. The goal is to find something to make the car a little better so we can get off the cushion. We had some laps where we were better moving around the race track. I think at one point we were back to fourth or fifth and got back up there.”

Madsen, who is seeking his first win of the season, charged from the sixth starting spot to move up to third by the sixth lap. The native of St. Marys, New South Wales, Australia, who now calls Knoxville Iowa home, ran as high as second during the 35-lap contest.

“We were sputtering and ran out of fuel the last six laps, so we’re glad to finish third,” said Madsen. “We had a great race car and it was capable of winning and just didn’t do the right things. Congratulations to Brad (Sweet) and Donny (Schatz), it is still awesome to be on the podium. I am very proud of my guys. Thanks to all of the Michigan fans. It was a great race track and very challenging and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Paul McMahan was fourth with Shane Stewart fifth. Jason Sides, who opened the night by setting a new track record in time trials finish