“The Macho Man” had plenty of time to think about it. Dream about it. Strive for it.
Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway, he finally did it. Brady Bacon won his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car race.
The Haubstadt, IN oval grandstands were packed Saturday night, but hardly a seat was used when Bacon threw a slider for the lead with less than three laps to go. The same fans that rose to their feet and roared had seen him come so close to glory at the southern Indiana bullring in the past.
There was 2015 when “The Macho Man” led 32 laps before a late pass made him settle for second. The next year brought Bacon another runner-up. In 2017, Bacon was leading the Dash before getting upside down.
This year there would be no heartbreak. Bacon wheeled the Kelly and Lora Hinck owned TKH Motorsports #21 from sixth to the front – sealing the deal on his inaugural World of Outlaws win with a late race pass on Series star Sheldon Haudenschild. The fans met Bacon with a thunderous roar as he climbed atop his wing in Victory Lane.
Bacon cemented a place in Sprint Car history with the win. The Broken Arrow, OK native became the 150th different driver to win with The Greatest Show on Dirt. It took Bacon 65 Feature starts to get the job done as he became the 20th different driver to win at Tri-State Speedway.
“I feel like I’ve had several slip through my fingers here,” Bacon said. “I haven’t raced (with the World of Outlaws) a whole lot in the last few years. Thanks for Kelly and Lora Hinck giving us the opportunity to race more so we can get in contention to win these races. I knew with my guys and the equipment we put together that if we could just race a little bit then we could win some races and win a World of Outlaws race. It’s been on my bucket list for quite a while. It was kind of my last one to check off. Glad to get it done here, and it’s fitting I get it done here where I’ve always ran really well.”
The early part of the race was controlled by pole sitter and winner of the previous three Tri-State Speedway World of Outlaws races – Carson Macedo. The current Series point leader maintained the top spot throughout a flurry of stoppages in the first half of the 40-lapper while battles raged on behind him all over the track.
When the second half of the race began, the action for the lead intensified.
Eighth-starting Sheldon Haudenschild had driven his way into second and closed on Macedo as the duo entered traffic. On Lap 22, Haudenschild rolled the bottom of Turns 1 and 2 perfectly to secure the top spot and wasted no time checking out.
Like Bacon, Haudenschild was also starved for a Tri-State triumph. Entering Saturday, the Wooster, OH native had led laps in three different World of Outlaws Features at the quarter mile but never won.
The pilot of the Stenhouse Jr./Marshall Racing #17 looked as if he’d claim that elusive victory once he grabbed the top spot. Haudenschild was smooth as he sliced through lapped traffic and extended his advantage.
A late red flag set up a 12 lap dash to the finish, and Bacon knew he was primed to make a move while running third.
“The track was kind of coming to me, and my car was coming to me,” Bacon explained. “Starting on the inside I knew I was going to be good to get a good restart.”
Getting a good restart was exactly what he did as he moved by Macedo for second and set his sights on Haudenschild with five laps remaining.
Haudenschild squeezed between two lapped cars with less than four laps to go which looked as if it may have been the winning move. But in the next set of corners, Bacon utilized a perfect line to drive between the same two cars and get a run on Haudenschild down the front straightaway. Heading into Turn 1 after crossing the line with three laps to go, Bacon tossed a perfect slider to grab the lead.
“Once Sheldon hit traffic there, I could kind of smell it,” Bacon said with a smirk. “I think I found that extra over-100% to make it happen and get by him. I knew he was going to get held up, and I just kind of drove the crap out of it to get there and was able to hit it right with lapped traffic. We had a really maneuverable car, probably more than anybody else, and that helped me in traffic.”
After making the pass, Bacon drove away and claimed the checkered flag by more than a second. He made it official. He’ll forever be a World of Outlaws winner.
Behind Bacon, Haudenschild held on to the runner-up spot – his third podium of the year in the NOS Energy Drink #17. Despite another tough pill to swallow at Tri-State, Haudenschild was in good spirits afterwards and even equipped with a sense of humor about the outcome.
“Them damn Non-Wing boys got this place figured out,” Haudenschild said with a smile. “Hats off to Brady. He did a great job. We had a really good car all night. I didn’t get with it in that Dash. I should’ve been more aggressive, but I don’t think it mattered. We had a really good car, and I was able to get up through there early in that Feature.”
Completing the podium was Brad Sweet aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing #49. The four-time and defending champion now owns top-fives in five of his last six races in Haubstadt. The result gave the Grass Valley, CA native sole possession of 10th on the all-time World of Outlaws podium list – breaking a tie with former teammate, Daryn Pittman.
“We made a good adjustment under that open red,” Sweet said. “You hate to see open reds, but tonight we capitalized and got our car a little bit better. We were hanging on for fourth and fifth there then drove back up to third.”
Completing the top five was Carson Macedo and Tyler Courtney. Courtney took a wild route to his result. After early contact with another car, “Sunshine” made a trip to the Federated Car Care Work Zone and drove through much of the field to earn the strong finish.
Carson Macedo remains the championship points leader while Brad Sweet moved into second – only 12 markers behind.
Joe B. Miller earned the KSE Racing Hard Charger with a drive from 18th to eighth.
UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars head to Eldora Speedway for #LetsRaceTwo next weekend (May 5-6). For tickets, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make to the track, catch all of the action on DIRTVision.
A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 21H-Brady Bacon; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 3. 49-Brad Sweet; 4. 41-Carson Macedo; 5. 7BC-Tyler Courtney; 6. 13-Justin Peck; 7. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg; 8. 51B-Joe B Miller; 9. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 10. 5-Spencer Bayston; 11. 1A-Jacob Allen; 12. 15-Donny Schatz; 13. 11-Michael Kofoid; 14. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 15. 4X-Justin Grant; 16. 7N-Darin Naida; 17. 5K-Daison Pursley; 18. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 19. 7S-Robbie Price; 20. 11K-Kraig Kinser; 21. 47BC-Emerson Axsom; 22. 2-David Gravel; 23. 83-James McFadden; 24. 9P-Parker Price Miller