By Alex Nieten
ATTICA, OH (May 16, 2023) – For the first time this year, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are heading to a pair of northern Ohio ovals.
The always exciting Attica Raceway Park hosts The Greatest Show on Dirt on Friday, May 19. The following night, it’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive east to Hartford, OH’s Sharon Speedway – owned by 1995 World of Outlaws champion Dave Blaney. The World of Outlaws have made 21 appearances at Attica while Saturday at Sharon will be the 12th trip to the 3/8-mile track.
The weekend will mark the transition to the second quarter of the 2023 campaign. Temperatures will rise. And the action will heat up as drivers continue to jockey for positioning in the championship pursuit during a busy summer stretch.
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Let’s look at some of the weekend’s top storylines:
SWEET STRENGTH: Four-time and reigning champion Brad Sweet leads the championship charge into Ohio.
After a slight stumble out of the gate, the Grass Valley, CA native’s performance has been nearly impeccable with his Kasey Kahne Racing team. In the 14 starts since leaving Florida, Sweet has posted four wins, eight podiums, and a 3.9 average finish.
Sweet hopes to extend the advantage at a pair of tracks that he’s excelled at in recent years. While “The Big Cat” has never won at Attica, he hasn’t finished worse than fifth in his last four starts at the third mile. At Sharon, he’s the most recent winner – topping last September’s visit – and finished fifth in his one other Series start.
SUMMERTIME SCHATZ: Over the course of his career, Donny Schatz has consistently produced some of his best stretches during the summer. And while the seasonal change is still a month away on the calendar, early indicators are 2023 could continue the trend.
The 10-time champion has put together his best four-race stretch of the season over the past two weeks. At Eldora he picked up a pair of podiums including a season best second-place effort on the final night. Then, the Fargo, ND native followed that with another top three at Williams Grove.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Schatz is the winningest driver in Series history at Attica with four triumphs. He’s also only finished worse than eighth once in 15 starts. Schatz has competed in all 11 Series events at Sharon with a best finish of second on two occasions (2004 & 2022).
HAUD’S HOME: Any trip to Ohio is a welcome part of the schedule for Sheldon Haudenschild. The Wooster, OH native shaped his talents on state’s many ovals.
Before he even joined the World of Outlaws tour in 2017, Haudenschild topped a pair of All-Star Circuit of Champions races at Attica. At Sharon, he claimed the prestigious Lou Blaney Memorial in 2015. He’s yet to win at either track in World of Outlaws competition but has been close with a 2020 podium at Attica and podiums in the last two Series events at Sharon.
The 29-year-old heads into his home territory fifth in points.
BUCKEYE STATE BAYSTON: Spencer Bayston may call Indiana home, but he’s gotten quite comfortable at the racetracks located one state east of the Hoosier state over his career.
The first World of Outlaws win of Bayston’s career came at Attica in 2021, and he’s shown speed there no matter the car he’s been in. The World of Outlaws victory was behind the wheel of the Sam McGhee Motorsports #11. The Lebanon, IN native picked up an Attica All-Star win in 2017 wheeling the Swindell Speedlab #39. He’s also been in the top 10 aboard the Premier Motorsports #70.
At Sharon, it’s been a similar story for Bayston. He picked up an All-Star win with McGhee, a podium with Swindell, and a seventh-place effort with his current team – CJB Motorsports – at last year’s World of Outlaws race.
Bayston heads into Ohio hoping to add to his success in the state as he looks to climb from his current spot of seventh in points.
ATTICA-SHARON DOUBLE: Throughout their histories as tracks featured on the World of Outlaws tour, winning at both Attica and Sharon has been nearly impossible. Only Steve Kinser and Joey Saldana have pulled off the feat.
At Sharon, the only current full-time World of Outlaws driver with a victory is Brad Sweet, so a Friday win could add him to the list. The one other active driver with a Sharon triumph is Dave Blaney.
Over at Attica, Donny Schatz, David Gravel, and Spencer Bayston are the trio of current Series drivers that have visited Victory Lane. Other active drivers who’ve won at Attica are Kyle Larson and Dale Blaney.
Of course, a weekend sweep could be a shortcut to the feat for any driver yet to claim a checkered flag at either facility.
O-H! – I-O!: Ohio’s local competition may not have the same notoriety as other areas of the country, but their crop still features plenty of talent capable of contending with the World of Outlaws.
Gibsonburg, OH’s Craig Mintz already bested the All-Stars at Attica this season and would love to replicate that for his first World of Outlaws victory. Attica is home to Mintz’s one Series podium (2014).
Republic, OH native Cap Henry should be a threat at either track. A combined three of his eight career All-Star wins have occurred at Attica and Sharon. Attica is also home to one of his five career World of Outlaws top 10s.
Skylar Gee hails from Canada, but he spends plenty of time circling Ohio’s ovals. Gee is fresh off Attica-Fremont Championship Series win at Attica this past Friday.
If you can’t make it to the track, catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
WHEN AND WHERE
Friday, May 19 at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, OH
Saturday, May 20 at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, OH
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 (19/80 Races):
49 – Brad Sweet (2664PTS) 2. 2 – David Gravel (-36PTS) 3. 41 – Carson Macedo (-46PTS) 4. 1S – Logan Schuchart (-126PTS) 5. 17 – Sheldon Haudenschild (-184PTS) 6. 15 – Donny Schatz (-186PTS) 7. 5 – Spencer Bayston (-236PTS) 8. 18 – Gio Scelzi (-244PTS) 9. 3Z – Brock Zearfoss (-388PTS) 10. 1A – Jacob Allen (-420PTS)