Home / Artic Cat All Stars / EXCLUSIVE: Outlaws Take the All Star Podium – DIRTcar Nationals Night 2 Quotes n’ Notes

EXCLUSIVE: Outlaws Take the All Star Podium – DIRTcar Nationals Night 2 Quotes n’ Notes

By CAMDEN PROUD

On Opening Night of DIRTcar Nationals Sprint Week at Volusia Speedway Park, the Artic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions were in action alongside the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, but the story was the three World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series drivers who wound up on the podium in winner Donny Schatz, runner up Brad Sweet, and David Gravel who finished third.

Sweet, of Grass Valley, C.A. shot out of a cannon early in the 30-lap main event behind the wheel of the Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb No. 49 NAPA Auto Parts entry and lead the race until late in the second half, darting through lapped traffic with ease.

Until lap 12, Sweet was able to keep defending All Star champion Chad Kemenah at bay, but Sweet missed his line going into turn 3 and off turn 4 which allowed Kemenah to stick a nose in off the west end. One lap later however, Sweet was back on top as he used the cushion through turns 1 and 2 to get back by the Kemenah No. 10 on the high side.

“The same move that cost me the lead earlier in the race wound up costing me the race,” quipped Sweet. “It’s hard for the fans to see, but when its rubber like that if you get one lane out you’re going on ice, but if you’re in the rubber then you feel like you have spikes on your tires, so once you get behind a car and do something wrong as a driver or get out of the groove, it opens the door for the guy in second.”

As he mentioned, some ten laps later on lap 23, Sweet got caught up in lapped traffic again and this time it was defending World of Outlaws champion Schatz not far behind. Schatz got by Sweet in the same place Kemenah did on almost the exact same move as the two came close in turn one with Schatz slipping by for the lead. Sweet nearly got the lead back again when Schatz slipped up with two to go, but it was to no avail. Despite finishing runner up, Sweet was happy to start the 2018 season on a high note for team owner Kasey Kahne and his all new crew.

“I wish I could’ve been there a little closer when Donny (Schatz) got out of the rubber with two to go, but that’s racing,” mentioned Sweet. “First night out, we got better and better and better each time this car is at the race track. New crew chief, new car, so we are searching around a little bit trying to find the balance on this NAPA Auto Parts car, but I want to thank my guys Eric, Cole and Andrew. It’s nice to start strong.”

Good Shakedown for Gravel

David Gravel had a breakout 2017 season with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, bringing home eighteen wins. Ironically the finishing order in the top three Wednesday night at Volusia was the same as the top three in the championship standings as part of the Outlaws last season. Jason Johnson also managed a top five finishing fifth, with Gravel picking up right where he left off at the conclusion of last season.

“The car was good tonight,” Gravel said. “We are trying a couple different things, we want to be really good for Friday, so we’ll probably try something tomorrow a little bit different again in the A-Main and see what happens. It was good to get in the dash tonight, every night you’re in a Sprint Car you’re learning. It was my first race of the year, so just was knocking the dust off and overall we’re happy.”

On a race track that changed drastically from the drop of the green flag to the conclusion of 30-laps, Gravel was happy to be back in the Sprint Car after a recent stint at the Chili Bowl and managed a drive from tenth to third, slowly working his way through the field with Schatz.

“We were pretty good in the rubber,” Gravel noted. “I was able to keep my wing back and not slip up so that’s pretty much how I got everybody at the end. I just picked them off one by one. It was a good night. Can’t complain at all.”

Notes from the Nationals

A total of 34 ASCoC machines checked in for action on night 1…

NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson were all in competition…

Larson dominated his heat and appeared to be the favorite early, but was beaten by Sweet in the Dash and only managed a ninth place effort in the feature while Stewart and Kahne failed to finish in the top 20…

Sweet was the quick time award winner at 13.390 over Brian Brown, Gravel, Shane Stewart and Sheldon Haudenschild…

Heat wins went to Gravel, Larson, Kerry Madsen, and Kemenah…

Kemenah also won Dash 1 by only 0.039 seconds in an exciting effort over PA Posse star Danny Dietrich…

After missing scales, fellow Posse member Greg Hodnett was a scratch for the evening…

Kahne and Lucas Wolfe were surprises in the LCQ but they got the front two transfer spots with Cory Eliason also transferring as well as Pittman, another B-Main shocker who debuted his beautiful Ionomy No. 9 for Kasey Kahne Racing…

Notable DNQ’s included Trey Starks, Caleb Helms, and Parker Price-Miller…

Rico Abreu had a very tough night, struggling with handling and finishing out of the top 20 as well…

Sweet lead from the drop of the green but Larson and Johnson battled for awhile early in the A-Main as the two nearly made contact on lap 8 at the entrance in turn 1, allowing Schatz to capitalize and go by both cars while Dietrich followed suit into 4th…

Sweet was in heavy traffic on lap 12 not long before the No. 49 jumped the turn four cushion to momentarily lose the lead to Kemenah…

Schatz was all over his boss T. Stewart in lapped traffic with 2 to go and struggled to get by the 14, but Donny was still able to hold off Sweet for the victory…

It was Schatz’s 17th career All Star Win and 8th All Star Win at Volusia alone…

Nick Hoffman won the UMP Modified 20-lap main over Tuesday winner David Stremme, Kyle Strickler, Michael Long and Tyler Nicely…

The DIRTcar Nationals continues on Thursday with night 3 again featuring main events for the ASCoC and DIRTcar UMP Modifieds.

Check Also

MAVTV Motorsports Network to broadcast ten All Star Circuit of Champions events in 2019

BROWNSBURG, IND – MAVTV Motorsports Network, the official television home of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet …

%d bloggers like this: