Column By: ALEX NIETEN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – MESQUITE, TX – The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars was born on March 18, 1978, at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. This weekend (Oct. 20-21), the Series’ long-standing history at the track will come to an end.
It all began with roughly 90 racers from across the country journeying to Mesquite, TX for a three-night event at the speedway, culminating in a $2,000-to-win finale.
That race, topped by Jimmy Boyd, was the first of what would become The Greatest Show on Dirt – the best drivers traveling the nation in search of Sprint Car stardom and big money.
This weekend, the Series heads to the Mesquite oval for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Stampede. The pair of nights will be the final two races held at the historic track as track promoter Lanny Edwards recently confirmed the sale of the facility. The event will offer a special purse with Friday handing out $12,000 to the winner, and on Saturday, as a nod to both the first and last World of Outlaws visits, the Feature will pay $20,023-to-win and $1,978-to-start.
It’s set to be an emotional weekend with competitors from all over making the trip to Texas to try and be the last driver to win at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
EVENT NOTES: In addition to the on-track action, comedian Jerry Longmire will be at Devil’s Bowl Speedway all weekend and will be doing a meet and greet at the World of Outlaws souvenir trailer on Saturday at 5pm (CT).
Also, to accommodate the increased number of fans expected for the event, the camping lot will be used for parking and there will be no on-site camping. Spectators can also park in the pit area for $10 a day.
Let’s look at the weekend’s top stories:
WHO WILL BE THE LAST?: Jimmy Boyd forever etched his name in Sprint Car history with his win in the first World of Outlaws race at Devil’s Bowl in 1978. And now a hungry group of drivers will be vying for the honor of topping the final race at the half mile.
Sadly, Devil’s Bowl will join a list of iconic racetracks that have closed over the course of history. Jac Haudenschild was the last to win with the World of Outlaws at the famed San Jose Speedway in California (1999). Chad Kemenah claimed the final at Phoenix, AZ’s Manzanita Speedway. Only a year ago, David Gravel made the trip to Victory Lane in the I-80 Speedway sendoff in Greenwood, NE.
Winning the final World of Outlaws race at any track locks up a meaningful spot in the record books. And doing so at the place where it all began for The Greatest Show on Dirt would make that honor even more special.
MESQUITE MASTERS: While Sammy Swindell will go down as the king of Devil’s Bowl with his 18 victories, a pair of current World of Outlaws full-timers have stood out from the rest heading into the weekend. Both Donny Schatz and Logan Schuchart own a trio of Devil’s Bowl triumphs.
Schatz found his success during the 2010s. The 10-time Series champion picked up wins in 2014, 2015, and most recently in 2018. Schatz enters the weekend fresh off his fourth win of the season at Lakeside.
Schuchart owned the Mesquite oval from 2019-2021, stringing together three consecutive victories aboard the Shark Racing #1S. Schuchart is in the company of Sammy Swindell and Mark Kinser as the only drivers to ever win three straight.
A single victory would equal Schatz or Schuchart with Danny Lasoski for the fifth most Devil’s Bowl wins. A weekend sweep would place either alongside Texan Gary Wright for the fourth most.
COWBOY CAT: Brad Sweet is undoubtedly among the favorites to wear the final cowboy hat handed out at Devil’s Bowl.
“The Big Cat” picked up his second Devil’s Bowl win in March as a part of his remarkable résumé at the Texas oval. In 15 career World of Outlaws starts, Sweet owns eight top fives, a 5.07 average finish, and has only missed the top 10 once.
Sweet also enters the weekend amid the hunt for his fifth consecutive championship. He and his Kasey Kahne Racing crew sit 66 markers ahead of David Gravel with five races remaining.
LAST CHANCE: In addition to those who’ve already collected checkered flags at Devil’s Bowl, there are a handful looking for their first trip to Victory Lane before it’s too late.
Current runner-up in points – David Gravel – has been beating on the door of a win with two Devil’s Bowl second place runs to his credit (2017 & 2020). The Big Game Motorsports pilot also posted a pair of fourths in the spring.
Through six attempts, Carson Macedo is yet to finish worse than seventh at Devil’s Bowl, but he’s also yet to stand atop the podium. The driver of the Jason Johnson Racing #41 has been on the two other steps of the podium – third (2023) and second (2021).
Quietly, Spencer Bayston has been a consistent force in limited action at Devil’s Bowl. The Lebanon, IN has made a trio of starts at the half mile and never finished worse than ninth. The Series sophomore is looking for a strong finish to his season.
LONE STAR STATE STAR: There are no Texas natives following the World of Outlaws tour, but there’s one Lone Star wheelman that could represent the host state with a Victory Lane visit in the final Devil’s Bowl race.
Sunnyvale, TX is a mere 10-minute drive from Devil’s Bowl Speedway, and it’s where Sam Hafertepe Jr. calls home. Throughout his career, Hafertepe has experienced plenty of success at his home track. Among that success is many wins including a complete sweep of this past weekend’s final running of the Winter Nationals featuring the American Sprint Car Series (ASCS).
In World of Outlaws competition, Hafertepe has made 10 starts at the half mile. In those attempts he’s posted four top 10s with a best of sixth, which occurred earlier this year.
TRAVELIN’ TO TEXAS: In addition to the World of Outlaws full-time roster and a handful of Texas locals, drivers are expected to invade from other states for the special occasion.
Coming from Missouri will be Ayrton Gennetten aboard the Hayward Motorsports #19. Two years ago, Gennetten led 23 laps of a Devil’s Bowl World of Outlaws Feature before finishing a career best fourth.
Sapulpa, OK’s Blake Hahn will make the trip one state south for the Sprint Car Stampede. Like Hafertepe, Hahn recently swept the Winter Nationals at Devil’s Bowl, claiming both nights in 2022. Back in March, Hahn earned his first World of Outlaws top-10 at Devil’s Bowl.
Cory Eliason plans to be in attendance behind the wheel of the Crouch Motorsports #11. The Visalia, CA native has made a pair of World of Outlaws starts at Devil’s Bowl, both in 2018, with a best run of 12th. In 2020, Eliason competed at the Mesquite track with the All-Star Circuit of Champions there and finished fourth.