It seems like only yesterday that a baby-faced, sprint car sensation from Grass Valley, Calif., arrived in the Midwest, in hopes of securing a first-class ticket on the express train from the bullrings of USAC to the superspeedways of NASCAR.

In short time, Brad Sweet found himself in one of USAC’s top rides — wheeling a midget and a sprint car for Kasey Kahne Racing — and under the watchful eye of those who evaluated talent for the numerous driver-development programs that dotted the NASCAR landscape during that period.

But that was more than a decade ago, and Sweet has moved on from a NASCAR effort that ran out of gas after only 54 NASCAR Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts between 2009 and 2013.

Today, at age 33, Sweet is a husband, a father, an occasional racing promoter and one of the top winged sprint car racers in the world.

He is the defending winner of the Knoxville Nationals and sat atop the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series point standings as the calendar turned from spring to summer.

He also claims to be extremely proficient in using his smoker to turn out a delicious beef tenderloin.

Sweet recently took time from his busy schedule to talk with SPEED SPORT and answer questions on a variety of topics.

Q: How did you originally get involved in racing?

Sweet: My dad was a mechanic and we went to the races. We were fans. We went to quite a few races back in the day and my dad would help mechanic on a few of the cars. I started racing outlaw karts when I was 8 years old.

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