Story By: ALEX NIETEN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – The 2024 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car campaign is less than a week away from unleashing.
Next week’s Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals will signal the start of The Greatest Show on Dirt’s 47th season of racing. An 86-race schedule will take the tour to 41 different tracks in 19 states.
A stout roster filled by a Series legend, drivers hungry for a first title, seasoned veterans, drivers on the rise, and more has been assembled for 2024. A diverse group of competitors has created a bevy of storylines that will unfold over the course of the nine-month journey.
The title favorites are clear, but could a 10-time champion return to peak form? Or might last year’s impressive rookie make himself a championship contender in year two? These questions along with many others will be answered over the course of the nine-month 2024 campaign.
GRAVEL’S TIME?: Plenty of eyes will be on David Gravel this year as he assumes the role of the championship favorite in 2024 – by virtue of finishing second in points the last three years.
Gravel has been consistently one of the fastest cars on a nightly basis since teaming with Big Game Motorsports in 2021. The pairing has collected 30 World of Outlaws victories including a Series-high 12 in 2023. Cody Jacobs will continue to turn the wrenches on the Tod Quiring-owned #2 as Gravel aims to secure his first title.
Gravel’s career in its entirety has produced 88 World of Outlaws wins, more than 100 Quick Times, and multiple crown jewel triumphs. A championship would further cement his status as one of the best to ever wheel a Sprint Car.
MACEDO’S MOMENT: The same name has been right behind Gravel in the standings over the last three years. Each time it’s been Carson Macedo possessing the third spot, and he’s also ready to challenge for his first championship.
Macedo and his Jason Johnson Racing crew have established themselves as annual title contenders after partnering the same year as Gravel and Big Game. They boast 29 victories as a team and have tallied the most Quick Times (25) over the past two years.
Philip Dietz remains car owner and crew chief of the #41 as he continues to pursue his late cousin’s dream of a World of Outlaws championship with Macedo in the driver’s seat.
RETURN TO FORM?: Gravel and Macedo may be favorites, but there’s a driver with 10 titles to his name and he’s hungry for an 11th. Donny Schatz is set for his 28th consecutive season with the World of Outlaws and 17th since teaming with Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing.
The Sprint Car legend’s résumé speaks for itself – 311 World of Outlaws wins (third most); 11 Knoxville Nationals (second most); six Kings Royals (second most); six National Opens (most); countless other accomplishments.
Consistency hasn’t been in his favor the last few years, but moments of his legendary talent persist every season. The Fargo, ND driver will look to string together an entire campaign for a resurgent rise back to the top.
SOPHOMORE STRIDES: Last year, Giovanni Scelzi delivered one of the most impressive rookie campaigns in World of Outlaws history aboard the KCP Racing #18. And the 22-year-old is hoping to top it with an even better sophomore season.
Scelzi was one of the most consistent drivers in 2023, tallying 48 top 10s on his way to a fourth-place finish in points. The mark tied the highest finish for a rookie in Series history. He’ll be looking to improve in the win and podium columns to present a threat for the championship. The Fresno, CA native’s lone victory of his inaugural season came in June at Beaver Dam Raceway.
All signs point to an improved Year Two. The KCP crew will look slightly different with a new car chief stepping in, but Adam Clark will still call the shots as he enters his second full season as the team’s crew chief.
SHARK RESURGENCE: Four years ago, Logan Schuchart nearly claimed a World of Outlaws title, finishing second by a mere 46 markers in 2020. He’s slipped slightly over the three seasons since, but he’s ready to elevate back into championship consideration in 2024.
Schuchart is entering his 11th year on tour with Shark Racing. The grandson of Bobby Allen has tallied 41 World of Outlaws wins (19th most all-time) including six last season. He also topped the Eldora Million in 2023 to take home the largest payday in Sprint Car history.
The Hanover, PA native has assembled a lengthy résumé, but he’s hungry to add a World of Outlaws championship. Schuchart heads into 2024 with team members Lonnie Judy and Brendan Collum returning to the Shark Racing #1S.
#GETAFTERIT: Sheldon Haudenschild slipped to seventh in the 2023 standings after three consecutive finishes of sixth or better including a personal-best fourth in 2020. But he’s confident he and his Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing team are set for a strong 2024.
There’s no denying Haudenschild is one of the most talented drivers capable of incredible feats. One of his three wins last season saw him drive from 16th at Skagit braving an area of the track no other driver tested. It’s all about putting a full season together for the Wooster, OH native.
Haudenschild heads into 2024 as the owner of 34 World of Outlaws victories including at least one in each of the last seven seasons.
JETTIN’ IN YEAR FOUR: Brock Zearfoss will tackle his fourth consecutive season with The Greatest Show on Dirt aboard his family-owned #3Z.
Year three didn’t go according to plan for the “Jonestown Jet.” Zearfoss’ numbers saw a slight dip compared to his rookie and sophomore seasons. But he did put together a handful of strong performances, including a top five effort at US 36 Raceway.
Despite the 2023 woes, Zearfoss is confident he can rise to new heights and make 2024 his best year yet with The Greatest Show on Dirt. He’ll have Todd Berkheimer on the wrenches for the second consecutive season.
BILL’S BACK: A fiery passion for Sprint Car Racing will bring Bill Rose back to the World of Outlaws tour again in 2024. The Plainfield, IN driver is set to take his self-owned #6 on the coast-to-coast journey once again.
The 59-year-old combatted multiple injuries that sidelined him in 2023, but he’s healed up and ready for his fifth consecutive season competing with the nation’s top drivers.
Rose hopes to rekindle his 2012 form that saw him have his best year thus far in World of Outlaws action. The former Interstate Racing Association (IRA) champion posted 10 top-10 finishes that year.
ROOKIE BATTLE: The chase for the 2024 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year presents an interesting blend of storylines. Three drivers are set to compete for the coveted honor, and all three have very different circumstances surrounding their entrance to the Series.
Buddy Kofoid leads the trio of contestants. The Penngrove, CA gasser makes one of the most anticipated debut seasons in Series history as he pilots the Roth Motorsports #83 on tour. The 22-year-old enters the year with three wins to his credit along with a Gold Cup prelim victory.
Bill Balog will also be making his maiden voyage on the tour. The 10-time Interstate Racing Association (IRA) champion will take his own B Squared Motorsports #17B on the road full-time. Balog owns one World of Outlaws win at Beaver Dam Raceway in 2016.
Landon Crawley was tabbed as the driver of the Sides Motorsports #7S for 2024. The talented 16-year-old has turned heads in the 360 ranks. Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park will be his first race as a full-timer and his World of Outlaws debut.
The 2024 World of Outlaws campaign kicks off at Volusia Speedway Park’s Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals (Feb. 7-10).