There’s a new dynasty with The Greatest Show on Dirt and it’s the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49 team.
With a third consecutive championship last year, Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, CA joined legends Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz as the only three drivers in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series history to ever pull off such a feat.
The Big Cat now turns his attention to the fourth title in 2022, a season in which he can also reach the top-10 of the All-Time Win List. At 74 career victories, he enters this year only ten wins behind Stevie Smith (84).
Before the 90-race grind begins, Sweet spoke about exceeding expectations, looking towards the future, and just how tough this Series is nowadays.
Winning three straight championships puts you in a club with Steve Kinser & Donny Schatz Could you have ever imagined that?
SWEET: Honestly, no. Especially when I started Donny was so dominant and seemed so far away, so to get three championships in a row at this point is surreal. I grew up watching Steve, Sammy & Donny, so to be in any type of category with those legends of our sport is special to me.
What’s next on Brad Sweet’s bucket list?
SWEET: Off the top, the Gold Cup. Especially taking over Silver Dollar Speedway and trying to bring Gold Cup back to being one of the crown jewels of our sport. I would love to win a race at Williams Grove to say I’ve conquered it for my own well-being. While I’m in this situation I still want to win as many Kings Royal, Knoxville Nationals, Historical Big One’s, Jackson Nationals, Huset’s High Bank Nationals. There’s a huge championship purse now, so I still want to win those titles as much as possible.
Who’s the next up-and-coming star you see becoming a champion?
SWEET: I think David [Gravel] is the closest. If you look closely our careers have been similar. He’s got a lot of experience now and is building a great team with Big Game Motorsports and Cody [Jacobs]. He’ll always be one of my toughest competitors moving forward. I think Logan [Schucuhart] has a ton of speed at some tracks, he’s just this close to really being one of the toughest guys all-around. Carson [Macedo] is getting better and better with Phil [Dietz] at JJR and they’re all in. Sheldon [Haudenschild] is capable of winning so many races, that’s just a matter of him putting everything together. It’s so deep right now that it wouldn’t surprise me if someone put even more pressure on us or knocked us off the top this year.
Explain the grind of a 90-race schedule.
SWEET: It’s up-and-down. I try to break it into four or five parts. The beginning can be tough to get going because you’re only on weekends and there can be bad weather or rainouts. You can’t win the points leaving Florida, but you can certainly get way behind, and you don’t want that. The summer is what we try to focus on because that is the big money, the best tracks, best weather, and you race so much. After the Nationals, you have a little lull, and a lot of the time Knoxville can dictate the rest of your year. It’s a long grind with a lot of emotions. You’re going to have bad nights; you’re going to have things out of your control. You have to try to stay as balanced as possible and bring as much of your A-game as you can.
What’s your favorite track in the world?
SWEET: I just love Knoxville. There’s something about the place. It’s so challenging, yet so rewarding. It pushes everybody to another element. It’s the hardest track to get your car right, it’s the hardest track to race on physically and mentally, to run 50 laps there is easily the toughest thing we do all year. The whole town embraces the place, and the energy is unmatched. There are a lot of close second-places and other tracks I love, but Knoxville tops the list.
For more on Sweet, you can read the rest of this Q&A in the 2022 World of Outlaws Sprint Cars program, available at all events.
His pursuit for a fourth straight title officially begins at Volusia Speedway Park on February 10-12 during DIRTcar Nationals. Sweet is already a two-time Big Gator Champion (2016, 2020) and owns six World of Outlaws wins at Volusia, tied as the winningest track of his career. Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online or with the DIRTVision App.