Sweet Holds Off McMahan In WoO Opener
BARBERVILLE, Fla. — The World of Outlaw STP Sprint Car Series season started out just as the 2013 season did, with a Kasey Kahne-owned car in victory lane at Volusia Speedway Park.
But instead of Daryn Pittman, it was an ecstatic Brad Sweet savoring the limelight after finally putting Paul McMahan away for good with the white flag waving.
“I got the lead once and gave it back, then took it away again,” said a beaming Sweet after recording his first DIRTcar Nationals win. “I never gave up on the top and it paid off. The track was really fast but it was getting slicker towards the end and that’s the way I like it.”
Dash winner Tim Shaffer got the drop on front row companion McMahan on the break, with the third-starting Sweet and McMahan then dueling for second in the early laps. McMahan finally got away from Sweet enough on lap 10 to start working on Shaffer and on lap 17 he drove under the leader coming off turn four as the huge crowd roared.
Bronson Maeschen’s spin right after McMahon took command got the leaders out of the lapped cars and gave Shaffer room to sail back around McMahan two laps after the restart, with Sweet following him.
By lap 23 they were back in traffic and Sweet was working by Shaffer when he went right to the first turn wall with three to go, letting McMahan scoot back to second and then retake the lead from Shaffer the next time around.
With Kerry Madsen, up from seventh, working on the tightly bunched lead trio, Sweet dug deep and blew by McMahan with the checkers in sight.
“I got so tight that I couldn’t turn a couple of times, then when I got my speed back up I could run them down again,” summed up the disappointed McMahon. “I still think I had the fastest car and this was a tough one to lose.”
Madsen, who crossed third, felt he “would have gotten them all in a couple of more laps but I ran out of time. If you were going good, there was multiple grooves to use and the racing was unbelievable.”
Shaffer had to settle for fourth, with Dale Blaney fifth ahead of Tim Kaeding, fast-timer Pittman, Terry McCarl, Jason Sides and Cody Darrah, giving Kahne three cars in the top 10.
The strength of the field was shown by the B main, which saw Sammy Swindell prevail over Logan Schuchart, Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser.