Column: ‘The Greatest Show On Dirt’ To Invade I-55 This Weekend; Previewing WoO At Pevely

Column By: BRIAN WALKER / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – PEVELY, MO – The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series visits one of the most consistently exciting venues in all of America this weekend – Pevely, MO’s Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.

In preparation for the intense Ironman 55 (August 5-6), The Greatest Show on Dirt is given a spring doubleheader to get the juices flowing at the 1/4-mile bullring. The winged warriors will be joined by the POWRi Midgets this Friday & Saturday, April 15-16 with another open-wheel-only pairing for race fans.

Here’s what to watch for this weekend:

 

TWO HORSE RACE: Lately, it’s been all about Brad Sweet and Sheldon Haudenschild at I-55. The two superstars have combined to win eight of the last 10 World of Outlaws events in Pevely with each scoring four wins along the way. Both drivers, who each swept a weekend at the track last year, enter this go-round with a chance to leave as the winningest driver in Pevely.

Aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49, Sweet brings a 40-point lead into the weekend as he continues to command the standings with his fourth consecutive Series championship on the line in 2022. The Grass Valley, CA native only has one win to his credit through 13 races but looks to change that this weekend as he backs up his spring sweep of last year’s I-55 event. The Big Cat has finished on the podium in eight of the last 10 races at I-55 and holds an impressive 5.5 average finish since becoming a full-time Outlaw in 2014.

Aboard the Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17, Haudenschild comes into the weekend as the reigning Ironman 55 champion. After winning two of the first four races, the Wooster, OH native has slipped to a 9.2 average finish over the last nine races as he remains fifth in the standings. He’ll have a golden chance to get back on track and earn a Series-best third win this weekend at arguably his best track on tour.

 

BACK ON TRACK: For four championship hopefuls, this weekend’s I-55 double offers the opportunity to return to form and collect some crucial momentum as the Series continues to head east.

David Gravel of Watertown, CT rebounded properly from a 13th-place run at Devil’s Bowl with his sixth podium of the season at Lake Ozark last week. In four appearances at I-55 last year in the Big Game Motorsports #2, DG finished 8th, 6th, 3rd & 6th. He’s hoping to nab his first Pevely win since 2016, but more importantly, get that third win of 2022 and build some confidence in his camp.

Carson Macedo of Lemoore, CA has fallen back to third in the standings following a tough 16th-place effort the Jason Johnson Racing #41 at the Jason Johnson Classic. Historically, I-55 has been kryptonite for Macedo with only two top-five finishes (both 5th) through 11 starts at the bullring. The good news, though, is that both of those results came last year with Philip Dietz on the wrenches, so the 25-year-old is certainly finding speed in Pevely.

Donny Schatz of Fargo, ND was trending upward with back-to-back podiums of third and second before a 12th-place finish at Lake Ozark on Saturday. The 10-time Series champion is without a doubt the most experienced driver at I-55, starting 50+ Features with two wins and 43 top-10 finishes on his resume. He was on his way to a third win at the track last year when a mechanical issue stopped his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Ford Performance, Carquest Auto Parts #15.

James McFadden of Alice Springs, NT, AUS is on a rollercoaster ride with recent runs either providing top-five results or finishes completely outside the top-10. The Roth Motorsports #83 pilot currently sits sixth in the standings with his first win of the year still on the line entering this weekend. In the Series’ most recent appearance at I-55, the Australian nabbed a career-best second at the track in the Ironman 55 last August.

 

SPRING PEAKING: For another four full-time World of Outlaws competitors, they’re entering I-55 on the heels of a season-best performance and looking to get a streak going.

Jacob Allen of Hanover, PA brought a smile to Sprint Car fans worldwide when he returned to victory lane at Lake Ozark on Saturday. The Shark Racing #1A pilot did it in spectacular fashion, completing a pass on Brady Bacon with three laps left and earning his second career victory in the form of a perfect night. It ended a 104-race drought since his first win in 2020, and his speed throughout all of 2022 says it could be much quicker until his third win comes.

Logan Schuchart of Hanover, PA followed his Shark Racing teammate with a fourth-place finish, matching his season-high in the DuraMAX, Drydene Performance Products #1S. It hasn’t been a dream start to the season for the former championship runner-up, but Schuchart and his crew haven’t stopped putting in the work. I-55 this weekend could be a turning point considering his recent success at the track with 10 top-five finishes in his last 12 starts.

Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, IN has shown immense speed all season long in the CJB Motorsports #5. The leading Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender has been on the verge of winning his first race of 2022 for more than a month now, but things just haven’t fallen into place. They almost did on Saturday night when the 23-year-old banked a season-best second-place at Lake Ozark. He’s a former POWRi Midget winner at I-55 but owns a World of Outlaws best of 9th at the track.

Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown, PA equaled his season-high of sixth-place on Saturday at Lake Ozark thanks to another NOS Energy Drink Heat Win and DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash appearance. He’s excited for a return to I-55 this weekend, a place where he earned one of his five World of Outlaws top-five finishes in May of 2020.

 
 
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