Column By: BRIAN WALKER / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – With the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, the schedule gets busier, the action gets hotter, and the money gets bigger when summer comes around.
June will kickstart this three-month period where racers and teams strive to be at the top of their game, while fans flock to the Midwest to catch The Greatest Show on Dirt.
The 2022 June slate begins with a North Dakota / South Dakota split at River Cities Speedway and Huset’s Speedway. From there, The Sprint Car Capital of the World takes over with a doubleheader at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway. After that, Wisconsin’s Beaver Dam Raceway prepares for a blockbuster weekend capped with a $20,000-to-win special.
The three-week swing begins close to the home of 10-time World of Outlaws champion, Donny Schatz. The Fargo, ND native leads the Series to Grand Forks, ND for the First Leg of the Northern Tour at River Cities Speedway, where he owns a whopping 12 wins through 27 races at the track. The driver of the Tony Stewart Racing, Ford Performance, Carquest #15 will be chasing his 24th career victory in his home state.
Most recently at the bullring, defending champion and current points leader Brad Sweet stole the win from Sheldon Haudenschild with a last-lap pass in August 2021. Prior to that, who could forget Kyle Larson’s stunning come-from-behind win to beat Logan Schuchart in the final corner in August 2020. Don’t count another last-lap pass out when the Series returns on Friday, June 3.
The Series will take Saturday, June 4 as a travel day to head for Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, SD with a pre-race party planned at the track. That will also be the day that World of Outlaws announcer Johnny Gibson, team owners Tony Stewart & Dennis Roth, along with nine other worthy men, are inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.
Racing resumes on Sunday, June 5 as Huset’s offers a precursor to the $100,000-to-win High Banks Nationals coming later in the month on June 23-25. David Gravel, who pilots the Huset’s Speedway #2 for Tod Quiring of Big Game Motorsports, is the most recent winner, topping his boss’ track on two occasions in 2021. Aaron Reutzel took home $50,000 at the track last year, and also brings in former winners like Schatz (4), Haudenschild (1), and Sweet (1).
An annual tradition, the Brownells Big Gun Bash returns to Knoxville Raceway on Friday & Saturday, June 10-11. For most World of Outlaws teams, this doubleheader is the only chance to turn laps on the iconic black zook clay before battling for the prestigious Knoxville Nationals in August.
The full-timers will have to battle stout locals like Brian Brown, Austin McCarl, Davey Heskin, and Aaron Reutzel across the two nights of action at the 1/2-mile. Schatz (10 wins) and Sweet (3 wins) own the most “Non-Nationals” Outlaw wins at Knoxville, but recently sweeping performances by Kyle Larson in 2020 and Carson Macedo in 2021 have highlighted the June weekend.
To cap off the three-week stretch, an extended stay at Wisconsin’s Beaver Dam Raceway awaits. Traditionally a one-day duel, SLS Promotions has upped the ante with a doubleheader on Friday & Saturday, June 17-18, offering $20,000-to-win the finale.
Brad Sweet is tied with Daryn Pittman for the most World of Outlaws wins (4) at the track, but Sheldon Haudenschild’s NOS Energy Drink, Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing #17 enters as defending winners at the Beaver Dam, WI oval.