Danny Lasoski brought Dennis Roth his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory in 1998. Twenty-five years later at Volusia Speedway Park, James McFadden gave the legendary Sprint Car owner 100 wins with The Greatest Show on Dirt.
McFadden helped Roth reach the rare triple-digit win territory Sunday night at the Barberville, FL half mile, leading all 30 laps of the $16,000-to-win Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals finale.
It was his sixth World of Outlaws triumph and made him the 11th different driver to win multiple Series races with Roth Motorsports after winning his first with the team at Lakeside Speedway in 2022.
Along with Roth’s new milestone, the win also announced the beginnings of a new chapter in the sport’s history. It marked the first World of Outlaws victory for the Toyota Racing Development’s 410 Engine.
“I’m glad I’m talking up here this time of the year and not like last year,” McFadden said. “Obviously, a milestone night for us, for the team. Obviously, Dennis and Teresa Roth have put a lot into this deal over the years, and to be the guy to get 100 is pretty special. This car has been on the road for 25, 26 years, and to get that 100th win for them I know how much it means to them. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity to drive that car. It’s a privilege.
“To win for Toyota, obviously they’re super new into the sport, and to get an Outlaw win for them is unbelievable. Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come for the rest of the year.”
After winning the Toyota Dash, McFadden lined up on the pole of the 30-lap Feature and flexed his muscle early on. The Alice Springs, NT native jumped out to a solid lead ahead of Brad Sweet.
As the leaders navigated traffic before the halfway mark, McFadden’s advantage held steady, but after the cross flags signaled halfway home, the action intensified. Sweet brought the Kasey Kahne Racing #49 to within a few car lengths of McFadden as the traffic thickened. Behind him, Spencer Bayston closed in.
As a battle for the lead appeared the be brewing, the race’s first caution flew with 12 laps remaining. An incident between Carson Macedo, Jacob Allen, and David Gravel – who was leading the DIRTcar Nationals standings heading into the Feature – gave McFadden a clear track.
With the strides the Roth crew had made with the car over the course of the night, a wide-open racetrack made it nearly impossible for the competition to have a chance.
“I felt like our balance was fine, but we just didn’t have speed,” McFadden said of the struggles they combatted in February. “So, Brent (Ventura) just tweaked some shocks and a bar change here or there and nothing drastic, but with these guys, you can’t be throwing sticks at it every time you hit the track, so we just fine tune it every time we hit the track, and that was the best I’ve felt in Volusia in a few years.”
McFadden drove away in the final laps as a war broke out for the podium spots behind him. Sweet was forced to fend off a hard charging Brian Brown, Logan Schuchart, and others as McFadden cruised away, ultimately taking the checkered flag with a 1.668 second advantage over Sweet.
McFadden noted that he and the team have approached 2023 with a fresh mindset, one that appears to be working as he navigates his third full year with the World of Outlaws.
“My goal this year was to not worry about points and just come out and race the car as hard as I could every night,” McFadden noted. “That’s what we did tonight.”
The four-time and defending Series champion, Brad Sweet, held on for the runner-up spot, his first podium of the 2023 season and the 258th of his career. “The Big Cat” searched for a path around McFadden but couldn’t find a way and didn’t want to overly risk losing his spot.
“It was tough,” Sweet said. “We ran that first [Feature] wide open around the bottom and burnt the bottom off, and the second one we ran the top. I needed some lap traffic to spice it up, but honestly the lapped cars were just as fast. James caught, I think, Noah Gass and Robbie Price and Noah drove away from us. I tried to move around a little bit, but I never could find anything that would make any ground up, and I felt like I was always leaving myself vulnerable to the guy behind me.”
Completing the podium was Grain Valley, MO’s Brian Brown. “Blackjack” continued to show his expertise on half-miles, and if it weren’t for an ill-timed caution that erased him jumping from sixth to third on a restart, Brown might’ve been able to challenge McFadden for the victory.
“That was a lot of fun, probably the most fun I’ve had in a car for a while,” Brown said. “Those double files (restarts) really paid dividends for us. That one time we started sixth and were running second into (Turn) two and just praying that the yellow didn’t come out.
“I don’t think I probably had a third-place car. But we had a car that was probably the best on the restarts. I would’ve loved to be able to stay in second there and have another yellow and another opportunity at James.”
Just outside the podium, Logan Schuchart claimed the fourth position. After Gravel’s early trouble, the effort proved to be enough to overcome the 12-point deficit that he entered the Feature with and claim his second Big Gator title in three years.
The Shark Racing driver joined Daryn Pittman, Brad Sweet, and David Gravel as the only drivers with at least two Big Gators. Schuchart also finished fourth in the Low-E Insulation Spring Showdown opener, making him the only driver yet to miss the top-five in the 2023 World of Outlaws season.
“It’s definitely what you want as a team, you want to be consistent,” Schuchart said. “Obviously, we would’ve liked to pick up a win while we were down here, but we’ve got a new group of guys that did a great job.”
UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will conclude the Florida portion of the Low-E Insulation Spring Showdown at Volusia Speedway Park, Monday, March 6. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 83-James McFadden; 2. 49-Brad Sweet; 3. 21-Brian Brown; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 5. 15-Donny Schatz; 6. 5-Spencer Bayston; 7. 41-Carson Macedo; 8. 11-Michael Kofoid; 9. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 11. 8-Aaron Reutzel; 12. 2-David Gravel; 13. 9-Kasey Kahne; 14. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 15. 1A-Jacob Allen; 16. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 17. 7S-Robbie Price; 18. 20G-Noah Gass; 19. 13-Justin Peck; 20. 5T-Ryan Timms; 21. 6-Bill Rose; 22. 71-Cory Eliason; 23. 48-Danny Dietrich; 24. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg; 25. 9P-Parker Price Miller; 26. 39M-Anthony Macri; 27. 19-Brent Marks; 28. 7BC-Tyler Courtney