RAPID CITY, SD — Brad Sweet used a double-file restart with seven laps remaining to get by race-long leader Jacob Allen and win his fifth World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Feature of the 2018 season Friday night at Black Hills Speedway. Schatz used that same restart to surge from ninth to finish second with Dominic Scelzi completing the podium.
Jacob Allen won the Sears Craftsman Dash to earn the pole for the 25-lap Feature alongside 2018 Knoxville Nationals Champion, Brad Sweet. The initial start saw David Gravel blast from fourth to the lead down the backstretch, but Allen muscled his Shark Racing No.1A underneath Gravel’s CJB No.5 off of turn four to lead the opening lap.
The first of two cautions in the Feature flew with two laps complete as Sheldon Haudenschild spun to a stop after battling for fifth. Haudenschild’s crew thrashed to get the Stenhouse Jr-Marshall No.17 back out, which would prove crucial later. The ensuing double-file restart saw 2017 Black Hills winner Shane Stewart move into second as Gravel got shuffled back to fifth.
Allen, in search of his first career Outlaw triumph, motored away from the field as the rest of the field waged war behind him. Intense racing action on Lap 4 saw Sweet move into second, Dominic Scelzi into third as Stewart got shuffled back to fourth. Scelzi, also in search of his first Outlaw triumph, pounded the cushion in turn one and two, to get by fellow California native Sweet for second on Lap 7 and set his eyes on Allen.
Allen navigated lapped traffic like a veteran and appeared to be on his way for the long-awaited first Outlaw win. Sweet worked back by Scelzi on Lap 17 for second and the next lap Sheldon Haudenschild brought out the final caution of the evening with seven laps remaining.
The caution erased the 2 and half-second lead Allen had accumulated and put one of Sprint Car Racing’s elite talents right next to him for the double-file restart.
Allen elected the bottom, but Sweet was able to remain even for the lead on the restart. Sweet edged in front to lead Lap 19, but a determined Allen threw a slide job to grab the lead momentarily off of turn two.
While all eyes were on Sweet and Allen’s torrid battle for the lead, Donny Schatz surged forward from ninth to third.
Back up front, Sweet’s momentum allowed him to regain control down the backstretch and into turn three and four. As a last-ditch effort to get the lead back, Allen threw the car low, but spun the tires off turn four, scrubbing his speed and allowing Donny Schatz and Dominic Scelzi to split him down the frontstretch for position.
Scelzi and Schatz jockeyed for position briefly, allowing Sweet to extend his lead and go on to win his fifth Feature of the year.
“I kinda feel bad for Jacob, he’s been working really hard and has a really fast car. He was probably the guy to beat, sometimes those late restarts will get you. I’ve been fortunate to have been out here a couple of more years and the experience can help in those situations,” Sweet said honestly.
“My car was really good, I just lost some track position on the start. It was nice to get back into second right when we did to get that shot on the restart,” Sweet added next to his NAPA Auto Parts, Kasey Kahne Racing No.49 in Victory Lane.
Donny Schatz, who was coming off a weekend sweep in his home state, settled for second after his surge on the Lap 18 restart.
“Hats off to my guys they always give me a good race car and we were pretty good at the end. I felt like we were running 43rd most of the race,” Schatz said with a smile.
It was all smiles for Dominic Scelzi, who completed the podium, tying his career-best Outlaw finish. “I had a dream of a race car to drive. We’ve had a heck of a last few months and to be on the podium with the Outlaws is awesome. We were fast at Billings last year, hopefully we can finish one or two spots better tomorrow,” Scelzi, who is following the World of Outlaws back to his home-state of California, said.
Logan Schuchart came forward to fourth with his Shark Racing teammate Allen settling for fifth. Greg Wilson earned KSE Hard Charger honors coming from 17th to finish sixth.
For the second consecutive year, the Black Hills Speedway track record fell, this year to Daryn Pittman, who paced the full-field of cars in Qualifying with a blistering 14.813 seconds, just a fraction off of Shane Stewart’s time last year.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series continues its 40th Anniversary Season Saturday, August 25 at Big Sky Speedway in Billings, MT. As always, if you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action LIVE on DIRTVision.com!
Feature (25 Laps): 1. 49-Brad Sweet [$10,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [$5,500]; 3. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [$3,200]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,800]; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,500]; 6. W20-Greg Wilson [$2,300]; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman [$2,200]; 8. 5-David Gravel [$2,100]; 9. 19-Brent Marks [$2,050]; 10. 2-Shane Stewart [$2,000]; 11. 18-Ian Madsen [$1,500]; 12. 7S-Jason Sides [$1,200]; 13. 24-Rico Abreu [$1,100]; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,050]; 15. 99-Skylar Gee [$1,000]; 16. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$900]; 17. 97-Alan Gilbertson [$800]; 18. 2JR-Kelly Miller [$800]; 19. 88-Travis Reber [$800]; 20. 2K-Kevin Ingle [$800]; 21. 14-Ben Holmberg [$800]; 22. 4-Adam Speckman [$800]; 23. 3-Mike Pennel [$800]; 24. O-Ned Powers [$800] Lap Leaders: Jacob Allen 1-18, Brad Sweet 19-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: W20-Greg Wilson[+11]
-World of Outlaws Press Release
-Photo credit: Kasey Kahne Racing