Sweet Sweeps Cedar Lake Weekend

Brad Sweet (#49) racing for the lead with David Gravel (#41) Saturday at Cedar Lake Speedway. (Sam Martin photo)

Brad Sweet. (Sam Martin photo)
From Nick Graziano

NEW RICHMOND, WI (July 4, 2020) — Brad Sweet took a quick glance at his right rear and shouted, “Woo! That’s all you need.”

With little tread left to spare, the reigning World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion’s tires propelled him to his third consecutive win at Cedar Lake Speedway Saturday night – sweeping the two $20,000-to-win Independence Day Spectacular Features.

“We had two unbelievable cars this weekend,” said Sweet during the historic CBS Sports Network broadcasted event. “I can’t thank my (Kasey Kahne Racing) guys enough for all of the hard work. It might look easy but I’m telling you this is a lot of stress; a lot of hard work and it’s paying off.”

While Sweet had to fight his way from ninth to the lead – further back than the night before when he went from seventh to the win – his NAPA Auto Parts #49 car still appeared to be in a different league. He had everything he needed. A good team. A good car. Good tires. And a head full of confidence.

However, his night didn’t start that way. Sweet’s name was rarely mentioned throughout most of the event. With a third-place finish in his Drydene Heat Race, Sweet was one spot short again of making the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, placing him ninth in the lineup for the 35-lap Feature.

David Gravel positioned himself as the early favorite by winning the Dash and claiming the pole for the Feature. With a large crowd of fans in attendance – who all passed through a state-of-the-art COVID-19 screening – and thousands more watching on CBS Sports Network, Gravel led the 24-car field to the green flag and pulled away.

His straightaway lead was cut to nothing when a caution came out for Scotty Thiel slowing on track on Lap 4. That positioned second-place Kerry Madsen to his outside and third-place Sheldon Haudenschild behind him on the restart. Gravel was able to pull away from the field again, but when he hit slower traffic a few laps later Madsen and Haudenschild closed in.

Their battle was like a yo-yo with Madsen closing in on Gravel and then fading back. Haudenschild would close on Madsen and then fade back. The three drivers did this for the next 10 laps before Kraig Kinser entered the picture.

Kinser worked his way by Haudenschild for third on Lap 18 and then got by Madsen for second 10 laps later. At the same time, Sweet made his presence known. Rolling around the bottom, Sweet worked his way through the field and passed Haudenschild for fourth with about nine laps to go. He almost stole third and second from Madsen and Kinser shortly after before a caution came out.

Sweet continued his masterclass of running the bottom on the restart and made quick work on Madsen and Kinser.

With seven to go, he passed Madsen for third. With six to go he passed Kinser for second. And with four laps to go, Sweet was at Gravel’s bumper.

Gravel was committed to the top, as it hadn’t served him wrong all race. But with three laps to go, Sweet passed him around the bottom like his Jason Johnson Racing #41 was down a cylinder. He then had to watch Sweet put his car on cruise control and drive away with the win – forcing Gravel to remain winless at the 3/8-mile track and take his sixth second-place finish there.

“After that first caution I didn’t know where to run,” Gravel said. “(Crew chief) Philip Dietz was telling me where to go. We were good on the restarts and I thought I felt the best on the top… We’ve just got more work to do. We really want to get a win. We’ve been struggling bad. A second and a fourth (for the weekend) is nothing to hang your head about, but when you lead these many laps you want to win.”

If you ask Sweet, he didn’t think he’d get to Gravel.

“The track started more wet than everyone thought and we were extremely tight,” Sweet said. “I felt like I was in a non-wing car there a few times. I was just trying to bide my time, you know, trying to realize it’s a long race and hope the cautions play into my favor. But when you have that good of a car, you can go on different parts of the racetrack than other guys.”

The win is Sweet’s fourth at Cedar Lake Speedway and seventh this season in 19 starts – his 57th career World of Outlaws win overall. The Independence Day weekend event is also the second event this year that he’s swept.

While Kraig Kinser missed out on the win, his third-place finish is his first top-five of the year and his first podium finish since a second-place finish at Skagit Speedway in August.

“We’ve been fast all weekend,” Kinser said. “We learned a little bit of what not to do during the Friday show. We were fortunate to capitalize on a good qualifying show. I got really good through the center of that race and probably got a little aggressive and I really think during that long run I might have heated my tires and blistered them up a little bit… The [Mesilla Valley Transportation] car was just rolling around good and was a dream to run tonight.”

Along with having everything he needed to pick up the win and $40,000 between the two-day show, Sweet also extended his points lead again – now 114 points ahead of second-place Logan Schuchart. Ten-time Series champion Donny Schatz remains third – now 116 points back. Both Schuchart and Schatz had a rough night, suffering flat right rear tires. Schatz finished 14th and Schuchart finished 16th.

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Cedar Lake Speedway
New Richmond, WI
Saturday July 4, 2020

1. 41-David Gravel, 11.69
2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 11.769
3. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 11.838
4. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 11.883
5. 2-Carson Macedo, 11.969
6. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 11.983
7. 15-Donny Schatz, 11.992
8. 18-Ian Madsen, 12.076
9. 83-Daryn Pittman, 12.128
10. 1A-Jacob Allen, 12.141
11. 64-Scotty Thiel, 12.167
12. 49-Brad Sweet, 12.196
13. 73AF-Paul Nienhiser, 12.238
14. 7S-Jason Sides, 12.253
15. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 12.278
16. 13-Mark Dobmeier, 12.281
17. 14-Parker Price-Miller, 12.291
18. 7-Tim Kaeding, 12.323
19. 6-Bill Rose, 12.334
20. 41S-Dominic Scelzi, 12.37
21. 17B-Bill Balog, 12.41
22. 2CS-Shane Stewart, 12.483
23. 33M-Mason Daniel, 12.594
24. 73-Jake Blackhurst, 12.594
25. 97-Alan Gilbertson, 12.647
26. 33-James Broty, 12.814
27. 2K-Kevin Ingle, 13.129
28. 3-Tony Kaus, 13.413
29. 29-Hunter Custer, 13.606
30. 18S-Bryce Schmitt, 13.753

DRYDENE Heat #1 (10 Laps)
Top 6 Transfer
1. 11K-Kraig Kinser [2]
2. 41-David Gravel [1]
3. 14-Parker Price-Miller [6]
4. 15-Donny Schatz [3]
5. 1A-Jacob Allen [4]
6. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [7]
7. 73AF-Paul Nienhiser [5]
8. 33M-Mason Daniel [8]
9. 2K-Kevin Ingle [9]

DRYDENE Heat #2 (10 Laps)
Top 6 Transfer
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [1]
2. 2-Carson Macedo [2]
3. 18-Ian Madsen [3]
4. 7-Tim Kaeding [6]
5. 64-Scotty Thiel [4]
6. 17B-Bill Balog [7]
7. 7S-Jason Sides [5]
8. 73-Jake Blackhurst [8]
9. 3-Tony Kaus [9]

DRYDENE Heat #3 (10 Laps)
Top 6 Transfer
1. 2M-Kerry Madsen [1]
2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [2]
3. 49-Brad Sweet [4]
4. 83-Daryn Pittman [3]
5. 2CS-Shane Stewart [7]
6. 2C-Wayne Johnson [5]
7. 6-Bill Rose [6]
8. 33-James Broty [8]
9. 18S-Bryce Schmitt [9]

DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash (8 Laps)
1. 41-David Gravel [1]
2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [2]
3. 11K-Kraig Kinser [3]
4. 2M-Kerry Madsen [4]
5. 2-Carson Macedo [6]
6. 1S-Logan Schuchart [5]

Last Chance Showdown (10 Laps)
Top 6 Transfer
1. 73AF-Paul Nienhiser [1][]
2. 33M-Mason Daniel [4][]
3. 7S-Jason Sides [2][]
4. 33-James Broty [6][]
5. 6-Bill Rose [3][]
6. 73-Jake Blackhurst [5][]
7. 2K-Kevin Ingle [7][$300]
8. 18S-Bryce Schmitt [9][$250]
9. 3-Tony Kaus [8][$225]
10. 97-Alan Gilbertson [10][$200]
11. 13-Mark Dobmeier [11][$200]
12. 29-Hunter Custer [12][$200]

NOS Energy Drink Feature (35 Laps)
1. 49-Brad Sweet [9][$20,000]
2. 41-David Gravel [1][$7,500]
3. 11K-Kraig Kinser [3][$4,200]
4. 14-Parker Price-Miller [7][$2,800]
5. 2M-Kerry Madsen [4][$2,500]
6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [2][$2,300]
7. 2-Carson Macedo [5][$2,200]
8. 1A-Jacob Allen [13][$2,100]
9. 83-Daryn Pittman [12][$2,050]
10. 18-Ian Madsen [8][$2,000]
11. 2CS-Shane Stewart [15][$1,500]
12. 17B-Bill Balog [17][$1,200]
13. 33M-Mason Daniel [20][$1,100]
14. 15-Donny Schatz [10][$1,050]
15. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [16][$1,000]
16. 1S-Logan Schuchart [6][$1,000]
17. 7S-Jason Sides [21][$1,000]
18. 73AF-Paul Nienhiser [19][$1,000]
19. 64-Scotty Thiel [14][$1,000]
20. 33-James Broty [22][$1,000]
21. 2C-Wayne Johnson [18][$1,000]
22. 7-Tim Kaeding [11][$1,000]
23. 73-Jake Blackhurst [24][$1,000]
24. 6-Bill Rose [23][$1,000]

Lap Leaders: David Gravel 1-31, Brad Sweet 32-35
KSE Hard Charger Award: 49-Brad Sweet[+8]