WHAT TO WATCH FOR: World of Outlaws Set for Crucial Weekend in Knoxville

Photo Credit: Trent Gower Photo
Doubleheader Offers Important Info Ahead of August's Knoxville Nationals

You’re guaranteed some magical moments when The Greatest Show on Dirt visits The Sprint Car Capital of the World.

This weekend, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars look to deliver on that promise with the much-anticipated season debut at Iowa’s famed Knoxville Raceway.

The two-day Brownells Big Guns Bash is the ultimate pre-game for the 60th running of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals pres. by Casey’s General Stores, which offers a $150,000 grand prize on August 11-14.


Read up on some of the top storylines entering this weekend:

THE BIG THREE: When it comes to Outlaws at Knoxville, there’s no denying the current state of “The Big Three.” It’s Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, and David Gravel without question. The numbers don’t lie.

Together, they’re the last three champions of the Knoxville Nationals, they’re the three winningest full-time Outlaws at the 1/2-mile, and they’re the three most successful drivers in the June doubleheader.

Since the June doubleheader was established in 2016, those three have helped to shut out every other Outlaw from victory lane. In those ten races, Schatz & Sweet each have two wins, while Gravel has one of his own. They’ve all been on the podium more than five times and all have recorded more than seven top-fives. You can count on each of them being favorites this weekend.

LOCAL LAPS: You can never have enough laps at Knoxville Raceway. Twice the season, teams have taken full advantage of a rain out and made the trip to the Iowa oval to attend a weekly show. Both times, an Outlaw walked away as the winner.

In April, when Devil’s Bowl rained out, the Knoxville season opener offered plenty of excitement when Sheldon Haudenschild scored his first-career win at the track, doing so in dramatic fashion with a last-lap pass over Giovanni Scelzi.

Two weeks ago, following Terre Haute’s cancellation, a new batch of teams trekked to town and this time, swept the podium. It was 2018 Knoxville Nationals champion Brad Sweet leading the way over Jason Johnson Racing’s Carson Macedo and his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate James McFadden.

Haudenschild earned his first-career Knoxville Raceway win earlier in 2021. [Trent Gower]

NATIONALS PRE-GAME: Each and every year, the Brownells Big Guns Bash is crucial for teams and drivers. Excluding rare occurrences, this is the only weekend for the World of Outlaws to get a turn at the tricky 1/2-mile before the 60th running of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals pres. by Casey’s General Stores comes around on August 11-14.

It’s the most prestigious event of the season, and it pays a cool $150,000-to-win. Making the preparation and practice all that much more important before game time arrives. Fan can BUY TICKETS HERE for the Knoxville Nationals.

KNOXVILLE REGULARS: Just like the PA Posse or California clan, there’s always a stout group of local competitors waiting to face the Outlaws when Knoxville rolls around. That’s no different this year.

Leading the charge is Brian Brown of Grain Valley, MO, who ranks fifth (53 wins) on Knoxville’s All-Time Wins List, with two of those coming this year. Terry McCarl of Altoona, IA will also be in action, chasing his 60th career win with a chance to tie Doug Wolfgang for second on the All-Time Wins List.

Other winners this season at Knoxville include Austin McCarl, Lynton Jeffrey, and most recently Giovanni Scelzi. Leading the Knoxville championship and expected to be in contention this weekend is also Davey Heskin of St. Michael, MN and Justin Henderson of Tea, SD.

Brian Brown broke the 15-year old Knoxville Raceway track record last month. [Trent Gower]

GRAVEL’S GAINING: Saturday’s win at Granite City (MN) Speedway, his fifth of the season, marked another large dose of momentum for David Gravel and his Big Game Motorsports #2. They took that momentum and built on it come Sunday, taking advantage of a local show at Huset’s Speedway and getting a victory before the $30,000/Win Huset’s 50 brings the Outlaws to town on June 21-22.

With Sweet missing the podium for the seventh-straight race, Gravel cut the points advantage down to -56 points. He’ll have another two chances this weekend at Knoxville, where he’s the reigning Nationals champion, to close the gap even more.

FITTING PLACE FOR HISTORY: Obviously, he’ll take a win anywhere. However, you can’t underscore the magnitude of where such a historical win comes for Donny Schatz. Mother Nature spoiled his golden opportunity to do it at River Cities (ND) Speedway last Friday, but if it can’t be home, the hallowed grounds of Knoxville (IA) Raceway is probably second best.

The Knoxville, IA 1/2-mile will forever be linked to Schatz. The 10-time Knoxville Nationals champion is only two titles away from tying “The King” Steve Kinser for the most all-time. He’s won 27 career Features on the black book clay, ranking 10th all-time. It’s a place that has made the Fargo, ND native a lot of money and fame during his storied career.

More than the glory of getting his 300th career World of Outlaws win, Schatz just wants the sigh of relief from getting his first victory of the year. His current 35-race dry spell is his longest with the Series since 2002-03.

Schatz hopes for his 18th Knoxville win with the World of Outlaws. [Trent Gower]

This Week at a Glance – When and Where

Friday, May 28 at Terre Haute Action Track in Terre Haute, IN
Monday, May 31 at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, IN

On the Internet
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Twitter – @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

Around the Turn: Following this weekend, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will roll northwest to visit River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, ND on Friday, June 4, then Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, MN on Saturday, June 5.

9 wins – Brad Sweet, Kasey Kahne Racing w/ Mike Curb #49
5 wins – David Gravel, Big Game Motorsports #2
3 wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing #17
3 wins – Carson Macedo, Jason Johnson Racing #41
2 wins – Aaron Reutzel, Roth Motorsports #83
2 wins – Logan Schuchart, Shark Racing #1S
1 win – James McFadden, Kasey Kahne Racing w/ Mike Curb #9
1 win – Brent Marks, Brent Marks Racing #19M
1 win – Dave Blaney, Dave Blaney #10
1 win – Kyle Larson, Paul Silva #57

FEATURE LAPS LED (19 Drivers):
202 laps – Brad Sweet
152 laps – Sheldon Haudenschild
108 laps – David Gravel
105 laps – Aaron Reutzel
89 laps – Donny Schatz
68 laps – Logan Schuchart
47 laps – Carson Macedo
31 laps – James McFadden
27 laps – Sam Hafertepe Jr.
25 laps – Kyle Larson
19 laps – Tyler Courtney
17 laps – Brent Marks
10 laps – Jacob Allen & Brock Zearfoss
3 laps – Ian Madsen
1 lap – Kasey Kahne, Kraig Kinser, Brandon Spithaler, Dave Blaney

8 QuickTimes – David Gravel
4 QuickTimes – Sheldon Haudenschild
3 QuickTimes – Brad Sweet
2 QuickTimes – James McFadden, Aaron Reutzel, Logan Schuchart, Cory Eliason, Sam Hafertepe Jr.
1 QuickTime – Carson Macedo, Danny Dietrich, Anthony Macri, Giovanni Scelzi

14 Heat Wins – David Gravel
10 Heat Wins – Aaron Reutzel
9 Heat Wins – Carson Macedo
8 Heat Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild
6 Heat Wins – James McFadden, Logan Schuchart
5 Heat Wins – Donny Schatz
3 Heat Wins – Brad Sweet, Brock Zearfoss, Ian Madsen, Brian Brown, Giovanni Scelzi, Sam Hafertepe Jr.
2 Heat Wins – Jacob Allen, Kasey Kahne, Kraig Kinser, Jason Sides, Kyle Larson
1 Heat Win –  Danny Dietrich, Hunter Schuerenberg, Tyler Courtney, Lance Dewease, Anthony Macri, Brandon Spithaler

14 Podiums – Brad Sweet
9 Podiums – Sheldon Haudenschild
8 Podiums – Carson Macedo, Donny Schatz
7 Podiums – David Gravel, Logan Schuchart
6 Podiums – Aaron Reutzel, David Gravel
5 Podiums – Brent Marks
3 Podiums – James McFadden, Giovanni Scelzi
2 Podiums – Cory Eliason, Lance Dewease, Anthony Macri
1 Podium – Kraig Kinser, Danny Dietrich, Tyler Courtney, Justin Peck, Brian Brown, Anthony Macri, Dave Blaney, Kyle Larson, Sam Hafertepe Jr.

2021 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Schedule & Winners

No. / Day, Date / Track / Location / Winner (Total Wins)
1. Fri, Feb. 5 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Brad Sweet (1)
2. Sun, Feb. 7 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Logan Schuchart (1)
3. Fri, March 5 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Carson Macedo (1)
4. Sat, March 6 / East Bay Raceway Park / Tampa, FL / Aaron Reutzel (1)
5. Fri, March 12 / Magnolia Motor Speedway / Columbus, MS / Sheldon Haudenschild (1)
6. Sat, March 13 / The Rev / Monroe, LA / David Gravel (1)
7. Fri, March 19 / Cotton Bowl Speedway / Paige, TX / Sheldon Haudenschild (2)
8. Sat, March 20 / Cotton Bowl Speedway / Paige, TX / Brad Sweet (2)
9. Sat, March 27 / Lake Ozark Speedway / Eldon, MO / Brad Sweet (3)
10. Fri, April 2 / I-55 Raceway / Pevely, MO / Brad Sweet (4)
11. Sat, April 3 / I-55 Raceway / Pevely, MO / Brad Sweet (5)
12. Fri, April 9 / Kokomo Speedway / Kokomo, IN / James McFadden (1)
13. Sat, April 10 / Tri-State Speedway / Haubstadt, IN / Carson Macedo (2)
14. Fri, April 22 / Bristol Motor Speedway / Bristol, TN / David Gravel (2)
15. Sun, April 24 / Bristol Motor Speedway / Bristol, TN / David Gravel (3)
16. Thur, April 29 / Jacksonville Speedway / Jacksonville, IL / Brad Sweet (6)
17. Fri, April 30 / I-70 Motorsports Park / Odessa, MO / Brad Sweet (7)
18. Sat, May 1 / I-70 Motorsports Park / Odessa, MO / Brad Sweet (8)
19. Sat, May 8 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Brent Marks (1)
20. Sat, May 8 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Sheldon Haudenschild (3)
21. Wed, May 12 / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA / Brad Sweet (9)
22. Fri, May 14 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Carson Macedo (3)
23. Sat, May 15 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Aaron Reutzel (2)
24. Tues, May 18 / Bridgeport Speedway / Swedesboro, NJ / Logan Schuchart (2)
25. Fri, May 21 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / David Gravel (4)
26. Sat, May 22 / Sharon Speedway / Hartford, OH / Dave Blaney (1)
27. Mon, May 31 / Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, IN / Kyle Larson (1)
28. Sat, June 5 / Granite City Speedway /Sauk Rapids, MN / David Gravel (5)

Which Schedule Would You like to Add to Your Calendar