Sweet Muscles to Waynesfield All Star Speedweek Win
WAYNESFIELD, Ohio (6-23-12) By Brian Liskai – Brad Sweet isn’t a big guy. But, he has a big racing heart and a strong desire to win and that propelled him to victory Sunday night at Waynesfield Raceway Park for night #3 of the 31st Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Ohio Logistics.
On a physically demanding, lightening fast, high banked one-third mile track, Sweet was faced with constant traffic while having to hold off a charging Kyle Larson. A brief rain shower right before the final heat race was completed left a very fast track. When the checkered flew for the 40-lap feature, Sweet had lapped up to the sixth place car!
It marked the third career University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions victory for the Grass Valley, California native. He is also two for two at Waynesfield, having won in 2009 during the Ohio Speedweek event at “The Field.”
“Those cautions came at good times…I needed a breather there. I work out and I’m in pretty good shape but this place is grueling and with guys like Kyle Larson and Shane Stewart chasing you you know have to be on the wheel every lap,” said Sweet beside his Kasey Kahne Racing/Ollie’s Bargain Outlet/ASE/Great Clips/Sage Fruit backed #49.
“My guys gave me a great car. We were able to get out front and get through lapped traffic pretty good. I knew I was setting a pretty good pace but like I said with Kyle and Shane you just never know so I drove every lap like it was a qualifying lap. It worked out for us. It’s pretty cool to come back here and defend our win here last time….I’m really starting to like this place,” added Sweet, also thanking Factory Kahne Shocks and Speedway Engines. “It’s our last race for the week so it’s great to end it with a win.”
For Larson, he too felt the affects of the race’s quick pace. The Elk Grove, California resident had to not only battle lapped traffic but a broken race car as he tried to hunt Sweet down. Larson, who made his first appearance of Ohio Speedweek to much success last year – winning the first two races he entered – caught Sweet several times in traffic but could not execute the pass.
“We were really good. I thought we had a better car than Brad. He got through traffic good and I was chasing in there and we were getting through it just about as good as each other and then Sheldon (Haudenschild) fell off the backstretch there and came back on and I thought he was going to run the top so I ran down in the bottom and ran right into the side of him and bent our wheel and knocked the jacobs-ladder off. It was a hand full after that. I was bouncing around a lot and just tough to drive. But we still finished second,” said Larson beside his Abreu Vineyards/Stadelhoffer Construction/Butlerbuilt Seats backed #1k. “I have to thank Steve Suchey and all the guys on the car…Dave Abreu and all the sponsors. I want to thank the fans for sticking around all day…this is pretty cool.”
Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart had competed in a sprint car race in the Northwest and had to catch a flight to Ohio to compete Sunday. Even with a little jet lag, Stewart battled with Danny Holtgraver throughout the feature before coming home third.
“It’s a busy race track. It’s fast and it feels fast. I told the guys after the dash you kind of just lean your head against the head rest and gas it. This was just driver error on my part. When we got to traffic I felt like I had a decent enough car to stay with Brad and I left off a little bit and it got on the right front and drove me straight off the track. I wasn’t ready for it. We were lucky to come back and salvage a podium finish,” said Stewart beside his Gaerte Engines/XYZ Machining /Red Line Oil/All Star Performance backed #3g.
“I flew in from Seattle today to be here and I’m pretty spun out. I don’t know what time zone I’m on or where I’m at,” joked Stewart. “I have to thank Gaerte Engines and Tim and Cindy and Joe and all the guys that help us on this car and the Cool Chassis. It’s just one of those tracks where once we got going it was momentum, momentum…that was the key. Hopefully we can pick up some wins this week.”
Sweet and Stewart would bring the field to the green for the 40-lap feature, but before they could get a lap in, fourth starter Dale Blaney, who came into the event leading the UNOH All Stars’ national and Ohio region points along with the Ohio Speedweek points, took a hard tumble in turn four. Blaney was unhurt.
When the green came out for the second time, Sweet bolted into the lead over Stewart, Holtgraver, Larson, Tim Shaffer and Cap Henry. Sweet set a blistering pace, catching the rear of the field by lap five as Larson moved into third and took second on lap seven. The caution flew on lap 10 when Cap Henry spun. On the restart Sweet had a lapped car separating him from Larson with a couple more lapped cars till third place running Holtgraver.
On the restart Sweet rocketed away with Larson trying to keep pace while Holtgraver and Stewart continued their battle for third with Shaffer right on their rear bumper. Again it only took a handful of laps before the leaders were in lapped traffic and Larson quickly closed on Sweet. The pair battled hard, dicing through lapped cars until the 26th circuit when Larson made contact with Haudenschild, allowing Sweet to pull away.
However, the caution would fly on lap 28 when Justin Henderson coasted to a stop. Again on the restart Sweet would have a lapped car between himself and Larson with another lapped machine separating Larson from Holtgraver and Stewart. With 12 laps to go there were only eight cars left on the lead lap!
When the green flew once again, Sweet used the clear track to pull away as Larson was battling a beat up race car. Meanwhile Holtgraver and Stewart continued their fantastic battle for third while Shaffer was locked in a tussle with 12th starter Byron Reed for fifth. The final caution would fly with just three laps remaining for debris. This time Sweet had a pair of lapped cars separating him and Larson.
On the restart Sweet pulled away from Larson as Stewart got round Holtgraver for third. That is how they finished with Holtgraver and Reed rounding out the top five.