Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet were the two winningest drivers on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series circuit in 2018 and opened 2019 on the same note, as each was victorious on New Year’s Day in Australia.
Schatz scored a dominant win at Archerfield Speedway, taking the checkered flag over Logan Schuchart. The margin of victory in the 50-lap contest was over eight-seconds. One of Schatz’s crew members for the race was fellow Outlaws competitor Jason Sides.
“It was a good night,” said Schatz. “We got ourselves qualified well, tried to stay out of trouble in those heat races and took our opportunity in the dash to try a little something. “Lannie (Nichols), Jason Sides, these guys did a great job making adjustments all night long and got me a race car that was capable of winning the feature.”
For Schatz, the win was his second in three starts this off-season Down Under. With a victory at Archerfield Speedway on December 26, Schatz extended his streak of winning at least one race in Australia each and every off-season, dating back to 1999. The North Dakota native also rebounded from some bad luck on December 28 as he got upside while running second, which led to a DNF (Did not finish).
Schatz will wrap up his stay Down Under this weekend as the World Series Sprintcars visit Archerfield Speedway for the running of the Australian Open. The 10-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion is the defending winner of the 50-lap race. Also entered in the event are fellow World of Outlaws drivers Logan Schuchart and Carson Macedo as well as perennial contenders Kerry Madsen and James McFadden.
Sweet won at Valvoline Raceway, also in a 50-lapper, over Aussie Lynton Jeffrey. The victory for the California native was redemption, after Jeffrey stole the win from Sweet in the previous race on December 30 on the final lap.
“I’m pleased to get a win for Mark Cooper (Car Owner) before we go home,” said Sweet. “We’ve had to work real fast on getting this car where we needed it to be and I still think we could have got even more speed from it if we’d had a couple more nights.”
Sweet has won each of the last two 50-lap races he has competed in, with the other being the biggest of his career last August, the $150,000-to-win Knoxville Nationals at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. The veteran driver also claimed a $20,000 triumph in a 49-lap race last fall in the 49er Gold Rush Classic, an event he promoted at his home track of Placerville Speedway in California.
During his three-race stint at Valvoline Raceway in Australia, Sweet finished in the top-five in all three races. Sweet was the story of the night on December 28, as he ran the alphabet, charging all the way from the C-main to eventually garner a fifth-place showing in the A-Feature.
With his Australian trip complete, Sweet will return to the United States to begin preparing for the 33rdAnnual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK, January 14-19. Sweet will be part of a two-car team for Rusty Kunz for whom he finished second on a preliminary night last year and sixth in the finale.