MESQUITE, TX (March 28, 2023) – It’s time for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars to head home.
Back on March 18, 1978, Ted Johnson’s vision for The Greatest Show on Dirt was born when Jimmy Boyd topped the inaugural World of Outlaws race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Fast forward 45 years and more than 3,500 races later, and the nation’s best Sprint Car drivers are still circling the Mesquite, TX oval.
That tradition continues this weekend (March 31-April 1) as Devil’s Bowl hosts the Federated Auto Parts Texas Outlaw Nationals. Friday’s Feature will pay $10,000 to win and then the weekend caps off with a $20,000-to-win Feature Saturday night. It’ll mark the first of 18 World of Outlaws main events in 2023 that will pay $20,000 or more to the winner.
The half-mile is the fifth most visited track in Series history, and the winners list boasts many of the sport’s greatest to ever get behind the wheel. Visiting Devil’s Bowl Victory Lane cements a driver’s name in history as one to win at the origin of the World of Outlaws.
TWO-DAY TICKET PACKAGE
Let’s look at some of this weekend’s top storylines:
GRAVEL LEADS THE CHARGE: After winning the season opener, David Gravel has refused to relinquish the point lead. He leads the Series in five telling categories – wins (three), podiums (five), top fives (six), and laps led (54).
Devil’s Bowl could present the competition an opportunity to gain some ground. It hasn’t been the strongest track of Gravel’s career as he’s yet to win in 13 starts and owns only three top fives. However, two of those top fives (’17 and ’20) were runner-ups, so he hopes the good runs he has had translate to 2023.
BIG CAT ON THE PROWL: After some struggles out of the gate, Brad Sweet has quickly turned things around and enters Texas as the hottest driver on the tour.
In his last five races, the four-time and defending champion has a win, four top-two finishes, and a 2.6 average finish. “The Big Cat” is fresh off claiming his 80th career World of Outlaws win at Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS).
Sweet now heads to a track where he’s been incredibly consistent. In his last 10 starts at Devil’s Bowl, Sweet has finished no worse than seventh and picked up a victory (’17).
TEXAS TRIOS: A pair of current full-timers both own three wins at Devil’s Bowl, most among any active competitor.
Last year Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart had his impressive three-race Devil’s Bowl win streak snapped when Brent Marks came out on top. The Hanover, PA native aims to start another one by returning to the winner’s circle this weekend.
On top of his trio of wins, Schuchart has proven to be one of the most consistent forces at Devil’s Bowl with seven top-five finishes in 11 Feature starts including five podiums. He’ll look to get back on track at Devil’s Bowl after results of 14th and 10th last weekend dropped him slightly down the standings.
The other wheelman with three victories at the half-mile is Donny Schatz. The 10-time Series champion visited Devil’s Bowl Victory Lane in ’14, ’15, and ’18. Like Schuchart, Schatz has also shown plenty of consistency with 12 top 10s in his last 13 races there including nine within the top five.
The driver of the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15 has been piecing together a solid stretch lately with four top fives in his last five races.
A win this weekend for either would equal them with Danny Lasoski for the fifth most World of Outlaws triumphs at Devil’s Bowl. A two-night sweep would put them in a tie for fourth with Gary Wright.
SCELZI FINDING FOOTING: Gio Scelzi didn’t begin his World of Outlaws Rookie campaign the way he would’ve liked, but the Fresno, CA native is beginning to turn things around.
Aboard the KCP Racing #18, Scelzi has snagged three consecutive eighth-place finishes and made the Toyota Racing Dash in two of the last three races.
Scelzi is heading to a track that’s been kind to him. In a pair of Devil’s Bowl starts, he hasn’t missed the top-10.
LONE STAR STARS: The state of Texas has produced its fair share of talent over the years, some of which can contend for a win with The Greatest Show on Dirt when the tour rolls through their home state.
Aaron Reutzel spends most of his time traveling these days, but he’s always called Texas home. The Clute, TX native picked up an American Sprint Car Series regional win at Devil’s Bowl in 2017. Reutzel is a six-time World of Outlaws Feature winner and goes for his first in home territory this weekend.
Sam Hafertepe Jr. is another Texas native who now spends plenty of time on the road. Three of Hafertepe’s 90 career World of Outlaws top 10s have come at Devil’s Bowl, and he owns several wins under ASCS sanctioning at the half-mile.
RESERVED FOR THE BEST: Ever since helping birth the World of Outlaws, Devil’s Bowl has proven to be one of the most challenging racetracks to conquer.
Reading through the previous winners is like reading through a list of the best drivers to ever grace the sport. The Series has visited the track nearly 100 times, and only Sammy Swindell and Steve Kinser have claimed 10 or more main events.
Another noteworthy fact is that of the 28 drivers to top a World of Outlaws race at Devil’s Bowl, only two of them, Jimmy Boyd (’78) and Brad Furr (’02), have less than 10 Series victories, suggesting only the greatest gassers have a chance to win there.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action on DIRTVision.
THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
WHEN AND WHERE
– Friday, March 31 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX
– Saturday, April 1 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX
ON THE INTERNET
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Twitter – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – @WoOSprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsSprintCarSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (8/84 Races)
1. 2 – David Gravel (1140 PTS); 2. 41 – Carson Macedo (-28PTS) 3. 49 – Brad Sweet (-32PTS) 4. 1S – Logan Schuchart (-50PTS); 5. 11 – Michael Kofoid (-66PTS) 6. 17 – Sheldon Haudenschild (-72PTS); 7. 15 – Donny Schatz (-98PTS); 8. 5 – Spencer Bayston (-110PTS); 9. – 83 James McFadden (-134PTS); 10. 9 – Kasey Kahne (-144PTS)