With seven World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series (WoO) wins this season, many view the reigning champion, Brad Sweet, as the driver to beat on the tough traveling circuit that crisscrosses the nation.
Last weekend Sweet (49), pictured here with Carson Macedo (2), swept the two-night World of Outlaws sprint car event at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway. Sweet said it was not as easy as he made it look.
“Donny Schatz is always a driver to beat — he’s a 10-time WoO champ,” said Sweet. “Logan Schuchart is right behind me in points. We’ve just been a little bit better.”
The World of Outlaws schedule offers a variety of tracks that test the best of setup gurus and drivers.
“Being on the road, you encounter a little bit of everything,” Sweet said. “Tracks are different. Surfaces can be red, black, or brown. Some are sandy, others less sandy. The shapes and banking are all different. You have to be able to adapt. Eric [Prutzman] sets up the car by going off of my feedback and combining that with what his eyes see.”
The lightning-fast pace of a World of Outlaws feature makes it as thrilling for the drivers as for the fans.
“There are no rear-view mirrors,” said Sweet. “If someone finds a faster groove, they can be by you before you know it. What is great about sprint car racing is that it has an old-school feel. The drivers are driving as fast as they can. Some cars perform better at some tracks. Drivers find the groove that their car performs best in. There’s a lot going on, and that’s what keeps it exciting.”
After the wins at Cedar Lake, Sweet headed home to Placerville, California, to spend time with his wife, Rachel, and their two-year-old daughter, Savannah. Placerville is also home to Placerville Speedway, which is within an earshot of Sweet’s home. Despite that, Brad Sweet focuses on his family when he returns to the Golden State.
“We keep the family here in California,” Sweet said. “We’re not into the motor-home thing. Racing is my work — I’ll fly out for a weekend, a long week, or even two weeks once in a while. It’s a work trip.
“When I come home, I hang out with my wife, and play with my daughter. I travel alone to stay focused on the job at hand. When I’m home, I’m focused on family — even when I can hear the cars racing.”
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 50th year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.