Sweet ends Schatz’s streak with I-96 victory

Brad Sweet. (T.J. Buffenbarger Photo)
Brad Sweet. (T.J. Buffenbarger Photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger


Lake Odessa, MI – (June 24, 2015) – Brad Sweet was able to stop Donny Schatz’s winning streak by winning the Napa Auto Parts Rumble at I-96 Speedway on Wednesday with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.  Sweet took the lead from Schatz using a big slide job and held off the field through several late race restarts for the victory.  The win was Sweet’s third of the 2015 season on a very heavy racing surface that Sweet used to his advantage running on the large cushion on the top of the race track for the victory.


“I knew it was our only chance to win,” said Sweet about racing the tricky cushion.  “I was going pretty good on (the cushion) and once you get in a rhythm it’s easy to hit your marks right.  I’ve always been pretty decent at running a cushion, but you have to have a really good car to do that.  The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet car was handling pretty well.  I could move all over the race track, but just got going really well on the curb.  We probably were not going to beat Donny running in the middle of the race track, that’s what he’s the king of, so we finally got a good enough run on him and was able to break his momentum and once I got the lead I knew I had to really nail those restarts.  Obviously it was tricky to get there, but we were able to hold them all off.”



Steve Kinser and Schatz started on the front row for the 30-lap feature event.  Kinser took the lead going into turn one while Sammy Swindell blasted around Schatz for the second spot.  Two laps later Schatz regained the runner up position and began his pursuit of Kinser for the lead.  Behind them Swindell and Madsen raced for second.  Swindell and Madsen made contact in turn two on lap ## with Madsen getting the second spot.


Kinser started to overtake slower traffic and allowed Schatz to close in.  Kinser and Schatz raced side by side into turn one on lap seven, but Kinser was able to use the slower traffic as a pick to maintain the lead.  Schatz looked to the inside of Kinser again one lap later when the caution appeared for Ryan Ruhl jumping the cushion and spinning in turn four.  Ruhl was able to rejoin the tail of the field.


Kinser maintained the lead after the restart while Madsen drove around Schatz in turns one and two for second followed by Sweet doing the same in turn four to move into third.  Lap nine saw Sweet try to pass Madsen on the outside, but Madsen moved up the track to block Sweet and drove away in second.


Schatz quickly regained his momentum passing Madsen for third on lap 11 off of turn four and wrestling second away from Sweet in turn two.  Kinser and Schatz began racing for the lead with Kinser on the top of the race track and Schatz on the bottom.  Schatz took the lead momentarily as the duo swapped lines on the other end of the race track with Kinser taking the lead back.  Then on lap 15 Schatz used the top side of the race track, but Kinser again was able to hold off Schatz.  Schatz began to close on Kinser again when the caution appeared on lap 19 for Joey Saldana stopping with a flat right rear tire.


During the restart Schatz slid into the lead with Madsen falling into second while Steve Kinser, Kraig Kinser, and Sweet raced three wide for third with Steve coming out of turn four with the position.  With 20 laps in the caution appeared again when Dustin Daggett spun in turn two, he was able to restart at the tail of the field.


During the restart Schatz chose the inside line for the restart while Madsen arched out at the top to challenge for the lead.  Schatz held the top spot while Sweet and Steve Kinser raced for third.  Sweet moved past Madsen on lap 24 and closed in on Schatz Then on lap 29 Sweet dove to the inside of Schatz for the lead off of turn two.  Just after Sweet took the lead red flag appeared for Ryan Ruhl turning over in turn two.  At the same time Bill Balog came to a stop in turn one with front end damage.  Both drivers were okay, but were forced pit side for the remainder of the event.


I had a good enough run off four, and with Donny you can’t hesitate because in one more corner he could have been three lapped cars ahead,” said Sweet.  “ So I knew I needed to get to the lead and had to drive six perfect laps to hold him off.  Luckily everything went our way there at the end and we were finally able to get a victory.”



During the restart following the caution flag Schatz took the lead, but the yellow flag appeared immediately when World of Outlaws officials ruled Schatz had jumped the start and sent him back one row for the next restart.  The ensuing restart was followed by another caution when cars started getting backed up from dipping off the backstretch with Steve Kinser ending up backwards into a light pole off of the backstretch.  Kinser was uninjured.


Once the green appeared Schatz and McMahan raced back and forth for third with Schatz getting the spot on lap 33.  One lap later Schatz ran down Madsen and took second, but ran out of time to catch Sweet as he took the win over Schatz, Madsen, McMahan, and  Shane Stewart.


Afterward Sweet was elated to win for the first time on the tour since April 11th at Calistoga Speedway.


“Anytime you can win, especially the dominance Donny has right now,” said Sweet.  “Its still a tough road, he’s making it hard on everyone.  We’re searching on stuff with our car and trying to make it better, and it seems we have it a little better right now, so hopefully heading into these summer months we can get a few more wins. “


Jason Sides set a new track record with a lap of 13.746 seconds around the 3/8-mile oval.  Kinser, Saldana, and Madsen won heat race events.   Kinser won the dash after a wild, wheel banging battle with rival Swindell while Gary Taylor won the B-Main.


World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series
I-96 Speedway – Lake Odessa, MI
Wednesday June 24, 2015

Qualifications: 1. 7S – Jason Sides, 13.746; 2. 67 – Christopher Bell, 13.934; 3. 15 – Donny Schatz, 13.965; 4. 49 – Brad Sweet, 13.991; 5. 41 – Sammy Swindell, 14.025; 6. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 14.026; 7. 11 – Steve Kinser, 14.026; 8. 51 – Paul McMahan, 14.094; 9. 7 – David Gravel, 14.217; 10. 11N – Randy Hannagan, 14.218; 11. 71M – Joey Saldana, 14.254; 12. 29 – Kerry Madsen 14.297, 13. 1 ST – Gary Taylor, 14.327; 14. 2M – Dustin Daggett, 14.343; 15. 2 – Shane Stewart, 14.370; 16. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 14.378; 17. 16 – Ryan Ruhl, 14.429; 18. 2B – Bill Balog, 14.487; 19. 8M – T.J. Michael, 14.525; 20. 1S – Logan Schuchart, 14.572; 21. 40DD – Nate Dussel, 14.698; 22. 38 – Jared Horsman, 14.710; 23. 11R – Chase Ridenour, 14.746; 24. 1A – Jacob Allen, 14.910; 25. 71MX – Paul May, 26. 5BQ – Quentin Blonde, 15.093; 27. 19 – Brett Mann, 15.161; 28. 10S – Jay Steinebach, 15.768.

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps): 1. 11 – Steve Kinser, 2. 11N – Randy Hannagan, 3. 49 – Brad Sweet, 4. 7S –Jason Sides, 5. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 6. 38 – Jared Horstman, 7. 1 ST – Gary Taylor, 8. 8 – T.J. Michael, 9. 10S – Jay Steinebach, 10. 71MX – Paul May

Heat Race #2 (8 laps): 1. 71M – Joey Saldana, 2. 51 – Paul McMahan, 3. 67 – Christopher Bell, 4. 41 – Sammy Swindell, 5. 16 – Ryan Ruhl, 6. 2M – Dustin Daggett, 7. 1S – Logan Scuchart, 8. 11R – Chase Ridenour, 9. 5QB – Quentin Blonde. (The first four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps): 1. 29 – Kerry Madsen, 2. 7 – David Gravel, 3. 15 – Donny Schatz, 4. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 5. 2 – Shane Stewart, 6. 40DD – Nate Dussel, 7. 1A – Jacob Allen, 8. 2B – Bill Balog, 9. 19 – Brett Mann. (The first four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Dash (6 Laps): 1. 11 – Steve Kinser, 2. 15 – Donny Schatz, 3. 1 – Steve Kinser, 4. 49 – Brad Sweet, 5. 67 – Christopher Bell, 6. 29 – Kerry Madsen, 7. 7S – Jason Sides, 8. 71M – Joey Saldana. (The first four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

B-Main (12 Laps0: 1. 1 ST – Gary Taylor, 2. 1S – Logan Schuchart, 3. 2B – Bill Balog, 4. 19 – Brett Mann, 5. 1A – Jacob Allen, 6. 8M – T.J. Michael, 7. 11R – Chase Ridenour, 8. 71MX – Paul May, 9. 5QB – Quentin Blonde, 10. 10S – Jay Steinebach. (The first six finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Feature: 1. 49 – Brad Sweet, 2. 15 – Donny Schatz, 3. 29 – Kerry Madsen, 4. 51 – Paul McMahan, 5. 2 – Shane Stewart, 6. 7S – Jason Sides, 7. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 8. 1S – Logan Schuchart, 9. 7 – David Gravel, 10. 40DD – Nate Dussel, 11. 11N – Randy Hannagan, 12. 41 – Sammy Swindell, 13. 1A – Jacob Allen, 14. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 15. 2M – Dustin Daggett, 16. 38 – Jared Horstman, 17. 11R – Chase Ridenour, 18. 67 – Christopher Bell, 19. 11 – Steve Kinser, 20. 2B – Bill Balog, 21. 16 – Ryan Ruhl, 22. 71M – Joey Saldana, 23. 1 ST – Gary Taylor, 24. 19 – Brett Mann.