Brad Sweet Made The Bottom Line Work For His Second 2017 Win
This time it was successful. Sweet won the Texas Outlaw Nationals finale at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, to record his second victory of the season.
Sweet must have felt a sense of déjà vu. In night one of the two-day show, he found the bottom line a little late and was unable to track down Jason Johnson. He came within a few car lengths at the checkers, however, and applied that lesson Saturday.
"Lap traffic was just crucial," Sweet said. "My car seemed like it was a little bit better. We were just right on him. Once I got a little clean air, I was able to start picking off those lap cars, and it felt good."
David Gravel led the first 26 circuits of the 30-lapper, but while Sweet worked traffic efficiently, one slower car gave Gravel just enough grief to allow the No. 49 to make the pass.
"I cleared a lot of lap cars really good, and then I got to Shane (Stewart) and I just couldn't do anything with him," Gravel said. "He was running the bottom in three and four. I tried to pass him on the outside, and obviously the bottom of three and four was the best lane to be in. That's where Brad was. That's just the advantage sometimes of sitting back there watching, seeing what happens."
On the other end of the track, Stewart went high as Gravel tried to work the cushion. Sweet remained on the bottom and that was the difference-maker.
During night one, Sweet showed a lot of patience getting through traffic. He needed to display that same quality in the finale.
Sweet poked his nose alongside Gravel's sprinter several times in the closing laps. Gravel slammed the door, nearly pinching Sweet into the inside retaining wall with six remaining.
For the 25-lap race Friday night, Sweet may have been a little too patient. The extra five trips around the half-mile oval in Mesquite were needed as he completed the pass on lap 26 of 30.
Danny Lasoski was on hand for the first-ever World of Outlaws race in 1978. In the 40 years that have followed, he has not lost any speed. He crossed under the checkers in third place.
Christopher Bell and Sheldon Haudenschild rounded out the top five.
Johnson finished sixth and narrowly missed adding a third consecutive top five. His recent resurgence was confirmed with this solid run, as his past four World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series race have ended seventh or better.
The visiting NASCAR drivers once again had a difficult time. Kasey Kahne finished 16th after starting 15th, while Tony Stewart was 22nd. Both were one lap off the pace.