GATOR CHASING: World of Outlaws Prepare for Season Opening DIRTcar Nationals

Six Nights of Sprint Week at DIRTcar Nationals (Feb. 7-12)

After an agonizing 96-day off-season, The Greatest Show on Dirt is ready to roar back to life.

For the 18th consecutive year, Barberville, FL’s Volusia Speedway Park will host the season opener for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. Running alongside the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, the Series will compete at the half-mile over three nights from Thursday, February 10 to Saturday, February 12.

The World of Outlaws serves as the headlining portion of the six-night “Sprint Week” at the 51st DIRTcar Nationals, which also includes a practice night on Monday, February 7, and then two nights of the All Star Circuit of Champions on Tuesday & Wednesday, February 8-9.

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Volusia’s three-night affair marks the official kick-off to a near 90-race slate for the World of Outlaws, as Ted Johnson’s creation enters the 45th season of competition in 2022. The Series is scheduled to appear at 45 tracks in 24 states this year, and it all starts with the lone trip to Florida in February.

With 48 previous appearances dating back to a wingless debut in 1981, Volusia Speedway Park is set to become the 16th track in history to host 50+ World of Outlaws Sprint Car events next month. Over that span, 18 different drivers have graced Volusia victory lane with eight of them scoring multiple wins.

Sweet goes for his fourth straight World of Outlaws title in 2022
Sweet is going for his fourth consecutive championship aboard the NAPA Auto Parts #49. [Trent Gower]

The biggest target heading into the new year is obviously Brad Sweet and Kasey Kahne Racing, who will chase their fourth consecutive championship in 2022. The Big Cat owns eight total DIRTcar Nationals victories with six of them under the World of Outlaws banner, meaning a victory next month would make Volusia the winningest track of his 74-win career.

One of Sweet’s toughest title contenders will be Donny Schatz aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15 as he chases an 11th Series championship. The Fargo, ND native eclipsed 300 wins last year, led the points over the final 40 races, and enters 2022 with newfound momentum following an off-season of change in the TSR camp. He’s won a whopping 21 DIRTcar Nationals races with 13 of them coming with the Outlaws, making Volusia one of seven tracks with double-digit wins for Schatz.

Year two combinations David Gravel & Big Game Motorsports and Carson Macedo & Jason Johnson Racing will be aiming high following a stellar debut season in 2021. Gravel, of Watertown, CT, is a former DIRTcar Nationals winner with the All Stars, but still chases his first World of Outlaws win in Volusia as he & Crew Chief Cody Jacobs hope to kickstart their championship bid on top. For Macedo, the Lemoore, CA native enters as the defending Volusia winner following an incredible 10th-to-1st drive last March with ace Phil Dietz on the wrenches.

Both Shark Racing boys are locked and loaded for their ninth season with The Greatest Show on Dirt this year. Logan Schuchart has a fresh new scheme on the #1S and enters next month as the defending DIRTcar Nationals champion with another Big Gator Championship on his mind. Meanwhile, fan-favorite Jacob Allen has a fresh outlook and will run the Bobby Allen throwback scheme for all of 2022.

A trip to Volusia means returning to the site of Sheldon Haudenschild’s first-career victory, which came during the 2018 DIRTcar Nationals. Since then, the Wooster, OH native has climbed up the charts with 22 career victories, leaving him exactly 50 shy of his now retired and Hall of Fame father Jac Haudenschild. Lil’ Haud is back for his fifth season with Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing, vying for his first double-digit win campaign with Kyle Ripper still calling the shots on the NOS Energy Drink #17.

2022 will be Kahne's first full-time World of Outlaws season
For the first time in his career, Kasey Kahne will chase the World of Outlaws championship in 2022. [Trent Gower]

Kasey Kahne, who will fulfill a lifelong dream of competing full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2022, debuts the Karavan Trailers, FuelMe #9 two weeks from now. Although he still pursues his first-career Outlaws victory, Kahne is a previous winner at Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals with a 2002 All Stars victory. He’ll be among three Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contenders this season.

Joining Kahne in the Rooke of the Year race is 23-year-old Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, IN aboard the CJB Motorsports #5 and 18-year-old Noah Gass of Mounds, OK in the family-owned #20G.

Veterans Jason Sides of Bartlett, TN and Kraig Kinser of Bloomington, IN will both return full-time with the Series in 2022. The #7S and #11K round out the crop of nine full-timers with winning experience at the Volusia half-mile.

Sophomore runners James McFadden of Alice Springs, NT and Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown, PA are both back for a second swing at the full World of Outlaws season. McFadden enters a new situation driving the Roth Motorsports #83, while Zearfoss remains aboard the family-owned #3Z.

All 14 of these stars will be on hand at Volusia Speedway Park to open the grueling World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car schedule when The Greatest Show on Dirt takes over at DIRTcar Nationals on February 10-12.

Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE, or watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.

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