By Alex Nieten
ROSSBURG, OH (September 19, 2023) – The final stop to “The Buckeye State” this year brings the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series’ title fight to two iconic Ohio tracks.
First, The Greatest Show on Dirt kicks off Eldora Speedway’s iconic Four Crown weekend with the BeFour the Crowns Showdown on Friday, Sept. 22. The next night, Hartford, OH’s Sharon Speedway will host the Federated Auto Parts Showdown as the Series completes its 11th and final Ohio race of the season.
The pressure continues to mount as the World of Outlaws near the final month of this year’s campaign. The teams will scratch and claw for points as the fight for their share of the more than $1.7 million point fund rolls into Ohio.
BUY ELDORA TICKETS
BUY SHARON TICKETS
Let’s look at the weekend’s top storylines:
BIG CAT ON THE PROWL: It’s no surprise that as the season nears its conclusion Brad Sweet is flexing his muscle. His lead atop the standings has grown to 90 markers as he hunts his fifth straight championship. The four-time and defending champ heads to a pair of tracks that have been kind to him this weekend.
At Eldora, Sweet is a three-time Series winner, and he topped his Eldora Million prelim earlier this year. In his last 11 World of Outlaws Feature starts at the half mile, Sweet has been in the top five on seven occasions.
“The Big Cat” topped the 2022 World of Outlaws visit to Sharon, and he also claimed the 2012 Lou Blaney Memorial. In three career Series starts at Sharon, Sweet has finished no worse than sixth.
NOT DONE YET: While Sweet has a decent advantage, David Gravel and Carson Macedo are both still well within striking distance as the pair pursue their first Series title.
Gravel is closest to Sweet and hopes to chip away at the 90-point margin that separates the two this weekend. The Watertown, CT native won two World of Outlaws Features at Eldora last year and hasn’t been outside the top five in his last six starts there. At Sharon, Gravel nearly won there in May, finishing second.
Macedo is a mere eight markers behind Gravel. Back in July, Macedo drove the Jason Johnson Racing #41 to an Eldora triumph during The Knight Before, one of three “Big E” wins he owns. The Lemoore, CA native has been close to a Sharon victory including a World of Outlaws podium (2021) and a pair of All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) runner ups (2017 & 2018).
OHIO EXPERTISE: Ten-time Series champion – Donny Schatz – has always shined in Ohio throughout his career, and 2023 has proven to be no exception.
All three of his wins this season have been Ohio triumphs, including a win at Sharon in May and his sixth King Royal win at Eldora in July – his 18th Series win at “The Big E.”
Schatz and his Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing team recently re-entered the top five in points, now only 20 markers behind Logan Schuchart for fourth.
SCHUCHART STRENGTH: Over the years, Eldora Speedway has become one of Logan Schuchart’s best tracks – a trend he hopes continues as he looks to hold on to fourth in points.
Back in May, Schuchart outdueled Rico Abreu for his fourth Series victory at Eldora, equaling the track as the facility he’s won the most at with The Greatest Show on Dirt. Then two months later, Schuchart etched his name into Sprint Car history by topping the inaugural Eldora Million. A fifth World of Outlaws trip to Eldora Victory Lane would give the track sole possession as his winningest on the tour.
Schuchart enters the weekend with a 20-point cushion between himself and fifth-place Donny Schatz in the standings.
BUCKEYE BREAKTHROUGH?: In his trip home this weekend, Sheldon Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH, will chase a win that’s continued to elude him.
Haudenschild has won at Sharon with the All Star Circuit of Champions in 2015, but on Saturday he’ll try to score his first victory at the track with the World of Outlaws.
In three attempts at Sharon, Haudenschild has been on the podium each time. Two years ago brought his closest attempt when he led the first 34 laps before Dave Blaney snuck by on the final lap. In the next two tries, he brought the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17 home third.
BLANEY BROS: In local Sharon action this year, brothers Dave and Dale Blaney have been in control. The duo has combined to win six races this season, splitting three apiece. They’ve claimed the top two spots in the last two races Sharon’s hosted.
Dave – the 1995 World of Outlaws champion – who also happens to own Sharon, is a former World of Outlaws winner at his facility, thrilling the crowd with his 2021 triumph for his first Series win in 24 years.
Dale is yet to win a World of Outlaws race at Sharon, but he does own seven victories there with ASCoC.
If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action live on DIRTVision.
THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
WHEN AND WHERE
Friday, September 22 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH
Saturday, September 23 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 (59/72 Races):
1. 49 – Brad Sweet (7964PTS) 2. 2 – David Gravel (-90PTS) 3. 41 – Carson Macedo (-98PTS) 4. 1S – Logan Schuchart (-370PTS) 5. 15 – Donny Schatz (-390PTS) 6. 18 – Gio Scelzi (-400PTS) 7. 17 – Sheldon Haudenschild (-464PTS) 8. 5 – Spencer Bayston (-610PTS) 9. 3Z – Brock Zearfoss (-1106PTS) 10. 7S – Robbie Price (-1504PTS)