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WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals Set to Kickoff 2024 World of Outlaws Season

Eight World of Outlaws Sprint Cars take the green flag at Volusia
The Greatest Show on Dirt’s 47th season begins with four nights of racing at Volusia (Paul Arch Photo)

The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are ready to go gator hunting to kickoff Year 47.

Sprint Car teams from all over will converge on Barberville, FL’s Volusia Speedway Park this week for the 53rd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. A practice night (Feb. 6) precedes four consecutive nights of racing (Feb. 7-10) to get the 2024 campaign rolling for The Greatest Show on Dirt.

The Wednesday through Saturday slate of racing boasts nearly a $300,000 total purse. The opening three nights showcase $12,000-to-win, $1,200-to-start Features before the week wraps up with a $20,000-to-win, $1,500-to-start finale. In addition to chasing the Big Gator, drivers are also pursuing a DIRTcar Nationals point fund allocated to the top three drivers when the event concludes.

A stacked roster is expected; plenty of money is up for grabs; all during four straight nights of high speed, half-mile racing. The 2024 Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals promises to provide a week of action you don’t want to miss.

BUY DIRTCAR NATIONALS TICKETS HERE

Let’s look at the week’s top storylines:

GRAVEL’S GATORS: There may be no driver hungrier to make a strong opening statement than David Gravel. Three runner-up finishes in the standings over the last three years have elevated the desire for a championship more and more. And the pursuit of a title begins at Volusia.

Last year, Gravel came out on fire, topping the first two Features of the season in Florida. The Watertown, CT native owns four total Series victories at the half mile, good enough for the fifth most all-time through 56 visits.

Gravel also has his sights on DIRTcar Nationals history this week. The 2017 and 2022 Big Gator champion looks to join Daryn Pittman (2013, 2015, 2019) as the second driver with a trio of the coveted Big Gators.

SUNSHINE STATE SCHATZ: There has been no driver more comfortable with the high speeds of Volusia than Donny Schatz. The 10-time Series champion has been dominant at the half-mile track throughout his illustrious career.

He owns 23 overall Sprint Car triumphs at the facility. A Series-high 14 of those have come with the World of Outlaws, which outranks the second highest total by more than double. The team Schatz drives for – Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing – holds the most Series wins for a team at Volusia with 17.

The Fargo, ND native is a one-time winner of the Big Gator, claiming the 2017 DIRTcar Nationals championship.

SHARK CHASING GATORS: There’s a Shark following the World of Outlaws tour who’s had plenty of success hunting gators in the past and looks to continue the trend.

Logan Schuchart – driver of the Shark Racing #1S – is the defending Big Gator champion. A trio of top fives fueled Schuchart’s 2023 DIRTcar Nationals title run. The 2021 Big Gator is also in Schuchart’s trophy room, so he’ll join Gravel in the hunt to become the second with three.

The Hanover, PA native is also a multi-time Feature winner at Volusia. Schuchart topped three Sprint Car main events during a remarkable stretch from 2020 to 2021 in which he finished outside the top two only once in seven races.

Logan Schuchart driving the Shark Racing #1S at Volusia
Logan Schuchart is looking to become a three-time Big Gator champion (Trent Gower Photo)

VOLUSIA VICTORY: Two more competitors among the full-time World of Outlaws roster for 2024 have been to Volusia Victory Lane with The Greatest Show on Dirt.

It took Carson Macedo some time, but he’s gotten comfortable at the half mile. In his first 10 Volusia Sprint Car starts, the Lemoore, CA native cracked the top five only once with a 9.2 average finish. The 14 starts since have yielded four wins, eight top fives, and a 5.2 average result. Two of those wins have come in World of Outlaws competition.

Back in 2018, Sheldon Haudenschild bagged the first of his now 34 career World of Outlaws wins at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile.” The 30-year-old returned to the Volusia winner’s circle in 2022 and aims to do so again this week aboard the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing NOS Energy Drink #17.

Both Macedo and Haudenschild are in search of their first Big Gator championship.

COMING OUT HOT: Year two with the World of Outlaws begins this week for Giovanni Scelzi, and “Hot Sauce” is looking for a hot start to his sophomore season.

His rookie campaign got off to a slow start at DIRTcar Nationals last year, mustering a 15.7 average finish. However, his whole season told another story. Scelzi posted a season-long 9.13 average finish.

The Fresno, CA pilot has previous strong outings in his Volusia attempts, including posting one of his 21 career Series podiums in 2021.

ROOKIE STRIPES: A diverse battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year will ignite when the green flag waves on the 2024 season this week.

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid headlines the trio of contestants. He’ll embark on his inaugural campaign behind the wheel of the Roth Motorsports #83. Last year, Kofoid competed at DIRTcar Nationals and posted back-to-back runner-up finishes along with leading 11 Feature laps.

Bill Balog is taking his family-owned B Squared Motorsports team on the road with the World of Outlaws for the first time. “The North Pole Nightmare” made his first visit to DIRTcar Nationals last year and will kick off his 2024 campaign at Volusia.

Freshly turned 16-year-old – Landon Crawley – completes the 2024 rookie class. He’s teamed with Sides Motorsports and ready to take a major step on his racing career. The Benton, AR teenager has impressed behind the wheel of a 360 and joins the nation’s best 410 drivers for 2024.

HEADIN’ SOUTH: The full-time stars of the World of Outlaws will be accompanied by many more of the sport’s top talents in the journey to Florida this week.

Five-time and reigning World of Outlaws champion – Brad Sweet – plans to get his 2024 Sprint Car slate in the States rolling at Volusia. The Kasey Kahne Racing pilot is a six-time World of Outlaws Feature winner at the Barberville, FL oval (second most). The “Big Cat” is also a two-time Big Gator champion (2016 & 2020).

A handful of competitors that took part in Volusia’s Southern Sprint Car Shootout (SSCS) two weeks ago plan to return for DIRTcar Nationals. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (Sunnyvale, TX), Austin McCarl (Altoona, IA), and Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, OK) were all victorious during the event, and the entire trio aims for more trips to Volusia Victory Lane this week. Justin Peck (Monrovia, IN) and Danny Dietrich (Gettysburg, PA) were also present at the Sprint Car Shootout and will be back in action.

Many more are expected to fill the Volusia pit area this week including Spencer Bayston (Lebanon, IN), Brian Brown (Grain Valley, MO), Anthony Macri (Dillsburg, PA), Corey Day (Clovis, CA), Brent Marks (Myerstown, PA), Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, IN), Zeb Wise (Angola, IN), and more.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.

THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE:

WHEN AND WHERE

Wednesday – Saturday, Feb. 7-10 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL

TRACK INFO
Track Record: 12.569s by Paul McMahan on 2-10-11
Online: VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com

SPRINT CAR BIG GATOR CHAMPIONS

2023-Logan Schuchart
2022-David Gravel
2021-Logan Schuchart
2020-Brad Sweet
2019-Daryn Pittman
2018-Donny Schatz
2017-David Gravel
2016-Brad Sweet
2015-Daryn Pittman
2014-Paul McMahan
2013-Daryn Pittman
2012-Sammy Swindell 

ON THE INTERNET

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
X – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – @WoOSprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsSprintCarSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month

Alex Nieten

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