Column By: BRIAN WALKER / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – The term “off-season” is merely a suggestion to the five World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series stars who are ditching the frigid American winter for some fun in the Australian sun over the next month.
From New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia to South Australia, Aussies all across the land will be treated to spectacular showings as the largest crop of Americans in several years take on the countrymen in their most anticipated races of the year.
While many of their travels take them to different states and separate tracks, all five Outlaws will conclude their trip following Australia Day with the 50th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic – Australia’s version of the Knoxville Nationals – at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, VIC, which airs live on DIRTVision for American subscribers on January 27-29, 2023.
James McFadden, a native son of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, leads the charge back to his homeland with a little less racing planned, yet more excitement than ever with a new team. The 2021 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year and current Roth Motorsports ace is taking the wheel of the Tim Hodges Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts #5 with backing from big names including IndyCar winner Scott McLaughlin, Jack Riewoldt, and Gerard Whateley.
J-Mac is already a two-time winner of the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic (2017, 2020) and hopes this new adventure is the recipe he needs to lock down a third title before his third full-time World of Outlaws season begins in February. He debuted with the new team last week at Premier Speedway and finished second to Jock Goodyer at the famed “Max’s Race.”
“The Classic is one of the biggest races in the world,” McFadden told AutoAction.com. “I love the event, I love the speedway, I love the town, and I love how big the race has become around the world. Everyone in America wants to come down under to compete in it or come and watch it.”
Joining McFadden with NAPA Auto Parts colors is the four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, Brad Sweet, who will drive the Landrigan Motorsport #49 in his return down under. The Grass Valley, CA native is treating it as more of a family vacation with only two races planned at Avalon’s Presidents Cup (Jan. 25) and Premier’s Classic (Jan. 27-29).
“I love Australia and everyone, everything they have there,” Sweet said. “It’s exciting that we can finally travel back down under and get to events like The Classic again, but I’m just as excited to take my wife and my daughter Savanna to enjoy some family time away from racing.”
After an 11-win season with Jason Johnson Racing on the World of Outlaws trail, Carson Macedo hasn’t taken much time away from the track. The Lemoore, CA native competed with the USAC National Midget Series in his home state – nearly winning the Turkey Night Grand Prix – and then quickly caught a plane to keep racing down under with Dyson Motorsports.
Macedo has a full slate planned with the Complete Parts & Equipment Solutions #99, scheduling almost 20 shows between events at Eastern Creek, Archerfield, Premier, Toowoomba, Avalon, and Borderline. He’s already won a Midget Feature at Eastern Creek and Sprint Car show at Archerfield in his short time there.
Brock Zearfoss, the 2021 Western Australia Speedweek champion, will return to wheel a special Blue Angels edition of the Goldstar Transports #95. A two-year veteran of the World of Outlaws trail, the Jonestown, PA native will work his way from Perth, Bunbury, and Ellenbrook before heading east for Classic week at the end of January.
Sheldon Haudenschild is also heading down under to continue the family tradition in Australia, where his father Jac won the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic in 1981-82. The son of “The Wild Child” is trading his Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17 for the Jack Lee Racing #V25 to compete at Toowoomba’s Red Hot Summer Shootout, Avalon’s Presidents Cup, Borderline’s Kings Challenge, and Premier’s Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
Following their travels down under, the 2023 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series campaign begins at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL with the 52nd DIRTcar Nationals on February 9-11.