Column By: NICK GRAZIANO / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – Fireworks will light the sky while three drivers lift their championship trophies with pride at the conclusion of the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
But, prior is a week full of activities.
The World of Outlaws World Finals has expanded to four days of on track action this year, Nov. 2-5, adding to the fan experience and giving drivers another chance to gain points toward their championship dreams – and earn more money with a more than $600,000 overall purse.
Highlighting the event will again be the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Series and Super DIRTcar Series.
The event commences Tuesday, Nov. 2, with the Hauler Load-In Parade and PRN Kick-off Party, featuring driver interviews, race cars and live music. Then, Wednesday, Nov. 3, will mark the first day of on-track action for the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and World of Outlaws Late Models.
And while the Super DIRTcar Series may not have on track action, its drivers will line the front stretch for a two-hour Fan Fest (2 to 4pm ET) before racing action, allowing fans to get up close to their favorite drivers and cars. World of Outlaws fans will have the same opportunity the next two days with a Fan Fest (from 2 to 4pm ET each night) for the Sprint Car drivers on Thursday and one for the Late Model drivers on Friday.
Thursday, Nov. 3, will see Feature action for the World of Outlaws Late Models and Super DIRTcar Series, while Friday, Nov. 5, will host Features for the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and Super DIRTcar Series.
Then, three champions will be crowned on Saturday, Nov. 5, with a massive night of action. Points accumulated from the previous nights will determine the Heat Race lineups for each Series. After competing for $15,000-to-win races during the weekday races, both World of Outlaws series will battle for $25,000-to-win in Saturday’s Feature. The Super DIRTcar Series will compete for $10,000 paydays during the week and $15,000 in the finale.
Before the Features, the famed 4X3 Wide Salute, placing the fields for the World of Outlaws and Super DIRTcar Series on track at the same time, will grace the speedway for the most iconic photo opportunity in motorsports.
World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Three-time and defending champion Brad Sweet, of Grass Valley, CA, has positioned himself well to try and claim his fourth straight Series title currently leading second-place David Gravel by 94 points with eight races left.
While Sweet has the fourth most wins this season of all drivers, he and his Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49 team have been the masters of consistency this year. Sweet has boasted a fifth-place average finish and his worst finish, so far, is 16th at the season opening race.
However, if Sweet slips and allows Gravel to catch him before World Finals, the championship picture could look vastly different. Sweet has yet to win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte while the 4/10-mile track is one of Gravel’s best.
Gravel also has to worry about holding off third-place Carson Macedo. The California native is 40 points behind Gravel and has the most wins, so far, this season with 11.
World of Outlaws Late Models
In his fourth full-time season with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models, Dennis Erb Jr. is nearing his first Series championship.
Erb is having a career year, holding a season high for wins, top fives and top 10s. His consistency has helped propel him to the top of the leader board, ahead of Rookie of the Year contenders Tanner English and Max Blair – who will be battling for the title until the final lap of the season.
Three more races are left for the Late Models to set the stage for their all-out championship brawl at Charlotte.
Super DIRTcar Series
Eight-time and defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard is poised to win a historic ninth Series title this year. He currently holds a 155-point lead over 2019 Series champion Mat Williamson. However, the Series’ next race could turn the championship battle on its head like it did in 2019.
The 50th Running of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week (Oct. 3-9) is the last race for the Super DIRTcar Series before World Finals and unlike other Series events it’s a double points event. In 2019, Sheppard had an issue that took him out of the race while Williamson won. That allowed Williamson to close drastically in points and then beat Sheppard at World Finals for the Series title.
So, while Sheppard has a comfortable point lead now, the Series championship is far from settled.