With Florida in the rear view mirror, the Dirty South Swing is up next for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
Over the next two weekends, The Greatest Show on Dirt will converge upon four different states with a stacked roster of full-time drivers, a group of impressive invaders, and some locals set to thrill the south. If you can’t be there in person, you can watch all the action at home LIVE on DIRTVision.
Let’s look ahead to some of the most prevalent storylines entering this trip to Dixie & Talladega:
OFF TO STRONG STARTS: With two nights at Volusia down, only three drivers managed to score top five finishes in both Friday and Sunday’s show. Those three, who sit 1-2-3 in the early season point standings, are Logan Schuchart, Brad Sweet, and David Gravel.
For Schuchart, it was a magical week capped by the DIRTcar Nationals championship aboard his Drydene Performance Products #1S Shark Racing entry. Sweet, the reigning World of Outlaws champion, topped the season opener with his NAPA Auto Parts #49 Kasey Kahne Racing team. Gravel, in his new ride with the Big Game Motorsports #2, was a fourth-place finisher in each show.
THE WAIT FOR 300: It’s now been nine races since Donny Schatz won his 299th career World of Outlaws feature on October 3, 2020 at Williams Grove. The agonizing wait for 300 was extended on Sunday at Volusia when an ignition box failure ripped the lead from him with only two laps left. Before Volusia, there were podium finishes at Lake Ozark, Charlotte and Kokomo, where he led 16 laps before succumbing to Sheldon Haudenschild’s victory.
The driver of the Tony Stewart Racing, Ford Performance, CarQuest #15 has the advantage of laps at both Dixie and Talladega. The ten-time Series champion has two top tens in three starts at the Woodstock, GA track and five top fives in 11 starts at the Eastaboga, AL facility.
DAVID’S ‘DEGA WIN: Only one full-time World of Outlaws star has ever won at either track this weekend, and it was a special one. That honor belongs to Watertown, CT’s David Gravel, who scored his first career victory at Talladega Short Track on October 22, 2011.
Driving his family-owned #89G, the then-19-year-old pilot started sixth and drove by an elite group including Jason Meyers, Donny Schatz, Lucas Wolfe, Steve Kinser & Tony Stewart to lead the final 21 laps.
LIMITED EXPERIENCE: Of the loaded crowd of 16 full-time Outlaws, only three of them have ever attended Georgia’s Dixie Speedway before and only five have been to Alabama’s Talladega Short Track. Meaning experience could be a crucial factor in the deciding outcome this week.
Veterans Jason Sides and Kraig Kinser have both find some success at Talladega with Sides recording two top tens and Kinser claiming two podium finishes. Sophomore runner Wayne Johnson has also visited Dixie before, way back in 1996 when he ran third in an ASCS 360 Sprint Car race.
Nine drivers will be making their first appearance at both tracks including Brad Sweet, Logan Schuchart, Sheldon Haudenschild, Aaron Reutzel, Parker Price-Miller, Brock Zearfoss, Carson Macedo, Mason Daniel, and Jacob Allen.
INVADERS VS. OUTLAWS: Leading the charge of non full-time Outlaw stars is Visalia, CA’s Cory Eliason and Sunnyvale, TX’s Sam Hafertepe Jr, who will continue to race with The Greatest Show on Dirt this weekend.
Eliason, an All Star Circuit of Champions contender, drove his Rudeen Racing #26 to a podium finish in Sunday’s DIRTcar Nationals finale and currently sits fifth in the standings. Hafertepe, a five-time ASCS National Tour champion, has been mighty strong with a Slick Woody’s Quick Time Award, Drydene Heat Race win, and DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash victory all last weekend.
ROOKIE RACE BEGINS: This year’s chase for the 2021 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award is officially up and running. After two nights at Volusia, Aaron Reutzel in the Roth Motorsports #83 has sprinted to an early lead, thanks to back-to-back top ten results and a KSE Hard Charger Award.
Fellow rookies Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown, PA and Parker Price-Miller of Kokomo, IN qualified for both features, but missed out on the top ten each night. Australia’s James McFadden is still stuck down under, so car owner Kasey Kahne will continue filling in for him as the driver this weekend.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision with the annual Platinum FAST PASS subscription for $299/year or the monthly FAST PASS subscription for $39/month.