KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Kasey Kahne Racing driver Brad Sweet scored his second consecutive World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory Friday night at Knoxville Raceway.
Starting from the pole, Sweet led all 25 laps around the historic half-mile oval, following up his win in the Jackson Nationals with his fourth victory of the season in Friday’s Brownells Big Guns Bash.
The battle between the Outlaws and Team Knoxville began with one of each in the front row – Sweet and Brian Brown – but the unexpected challenger appeared in the form of rubber about 15 laps into the race.
“It’s good to be out front when the rubber went down there. I just had to search around,” said Sweet. “I made a lot of mistakes there, and honestly, we have a little bit of work to do. We were better earlier in the night and weren’t that great right there, for whatever reason, but obviously good enough to hold off Donny and David Gravel. So we must have been pretty good.”
Sweet quickly shot to the lead at the start of the race, leaving the battle behind him as first David Gravel, and then Shane Stewart fought past Brown, exchanging slide jobs for third.
By lap four, Donny Schatz was in on the action, making an outside pass on Brown for fourth. But he didn’t stop there. Ten laps in, Schatz sailed past Stewart, after which he began making his play for second.
Gravel wasn’t having it. With 10 laps to go, Gravel closed in on Sweet, but the rubber got the better of him.
“I was just conserving my tires there,” said Gravel. “Once it took rubber I knew that I didn’t really have a shot. I would have liked to have seen if that (groove) didn’t take rubber. I think it would have been a really good race. I thought I was gaining on [Sweet] and then (the track) started taking rubber. We did the best we could tonight.”
A few laps later, with seven to go, Gravel was having to fend off Schatz just to hold onto second.
“Actually, I think our car got really good there in the rubber,” said Schatz. “At that point you have nothing to hold back on if you’re going to try to win the race. They weren’t going to make that big a mistake, but we were trying. We were trying to get around [Gravel] and just couldn’t make it happen.”
Despite the rubbered up top groove, the Outlaws beat out Team Knoxville, taking all three podium spots with Sweet at the helm, followed by Gravel and Schatz.
Knoxville regulars Kerry Madsen and Brian Brown came in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…