California driver Brad Sweet, who raced half-seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012 and 2013, emerged shaken up but otherwise uninjured in a horrific World of Outlaws race Friday night at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.
News reports were sketchy but it appears Sweet, who had won the fourth heat race of the evening just a short time before, was coming out of a turn when he hit a retaining wall.
The impact was so hard that it actually split his sprint car in half (see photos below).
While he did need some help walking back to the infield, according to reports from fans in attendance who tweeted info and photos of the wreck and its aftermath, Sweet was uninjured.
Among those tweeting well wishes to Sweet was NASCAR driver Kyle Larson and fellow WoO drivers Bryan Clauson and Cody Darrah, who according to one report on Twitter jumped out of his rolling car and was one of the first to reach Sweet to offer aid.
Sweet has made 36 Nationwide and 18 Camping World Truck Series race starts to date, but has not made any NASCAR starts in any classes this season. He has instead become a stalwart of the WoO this season, winning four races thus far, the most recent being two weeks ago at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.
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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.
As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.
Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.
Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.
Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.
Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.
One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.