MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – The battle for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series championship continued its ebb and flow thanks to Saturday’s Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals finale at Williams Grove Speedway.
After a mechanical failure sidelined incoming point leader Donny Schatz two laps into the 30-lap, $20,000-to-win main event at the half-mile dirt track, Brad Sweet turned in a podium finish to flip the tide back in favor of the NAPA Auto Parts No. 49.
The Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb pilot and defending World of Outlaws champion crossed third behind winner David Gravel and runner-up Lance Dewease to regain the point lead by 18 markers.
While Sweet admitted the title tilt entered his thoughts briefly on Saturday night when he realized Schatz could not continue, he quickly added that it wasn’t his prime focus at that point.
“I saw Donny have his issues but (points) didn’t even cross my mind,” Sweet said. “I just kind of thought, it moved me up a spot. We just want to win. That’s our main goal each night out.
“If you win, the points take care of themselves.”
Logan Schuchart’s fourth-place finish Saturday night at Williams Grove elevated him past Schatz to second in points, while Schatz’s misfortune dropped him to third, 26 points behind Sweet’s leading total.
A consistent Pennsylvania swing of four top-10 finishes allowed Carson Macedo to maintain fourth in the standings, 70 points back of the series lead. It was a marked improvement for Macedo in the region, after he and the Kyle Larson Racing No. 2 team struggled to gain a foothold there last season.
Aside from Schatz, the driver who took the biggest hit Saturday night was Sheldon Haudenschild, who was as close as 66 points back after winning Thursday’s Gettysburg Clash at Lincoln Speedway.
Haudenschild’s string of 18 top-10 finishes in a row came to an end Saturday at Williams Grove after a broken rear end sidelined his NOS Energy Drink No. 17 for Stenhouse Jr./Marshall Racing.
The son of National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jac Haudenschild remains fifth in the standings, but returned to triple digits – 100 points – behind the series lead.
With one of the closest five-man battles in series history set to duel well into the late summer and early fall, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season continues Aug. 1 at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio.
It’s the first time since Aug. 6, 1985 that the Outlaws have raced at Wayne County. Steve Kinser is the most recent winner at the three-eighths-mile track, when it ran under the name Buckeye Speedway.