Mark Funderburk/World of Outlaws

Kyle Larson finishes second to brother-in-law Brad Sweet at I-55

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Brad Sweet emerged from a wheel-to-wheel battle with brother-in-law Kyle Larson to win the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series race Friday at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.

The race at the Pevely, Missouri, short track was the first held with fans since the Outlaws series returned a couple of weeks ago from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown.

“It’s a lot of fun to see the fans back in the stands,” Sweet, who nipped Larson after briefly giving up the lead with two to go, told the crowd after his win on the DirtVision broadcast. “It’s not a lot of fun celebrating and racing in front of empty grandstands. We appreciate you coming out, and hopefully, the crowds will get bigger and bigger.”

Logan Schuchart finished third in the 30-lap feature, followed by Shane Stewart and Jacob Allen.

MORE: Larson, Kahne return as Outlaws race before limited crowds

Larson is married to Sweet’s sister, Katelyn.

“That was a lot of fun,” Sweet said. “Kyle is an unbelievable talent. He’s my brother-in-law, but he makes me earn these wins, damn it.”

It was Larson’s second race in an Outlaws sprint car since losing his NASCAR Cup Series ride at Chip Ganassi Racing. He earlier set a track record during qualifying for his first Outlaws event at I-55.

With a 9.995-second lap Friday, Larson became the first driver to crack the 10-second barrier on the high-banked 0.333-mile dirt oval in Pevely, Missouri. Larson’s time broke the previous mark of 10.115 seconds set by Schuchart.

The NOS Energy Sprint Car Series has been racing at I-55 since 1987.

“Early in the race I was tight and waited for the racetrack to come to us,” Larson said in a series release after finishing second to Sweet in the feature. “I could maintain with (Sweet) and was able to slide by him once in traffic, but I couldn’t get the grip I needed to stay in front of him.

“It was a good race. Good run for our team. We’ve struggled a lot so far this year with the 57. Good run. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and win and click off some good finishes.”

Sweet, the reigning Outlaws sprint car champion, drives for Kasey Kahne Racing, whose owner also was racing at I-55.

Kahne finished 18th in the main event, an improvement from Knoxville, where he failed to advance to the feature in attempting his his first Outlaws event in more than a year.

Larson remains on indefinite suspension from NASCAR for using a racial slur but was approved to race with the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.

He finished 10th in the Outlaws feature May 8 at Knoxville Raceway, which held the first Outlaws event during the COVID-19 pandemic without fans.

The Outlaws will return Saturday night to I-55 Raceway to race before another limited crowd.

RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [3][$6,000]; 2. 57-Kyle Larson [4][$3,000]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [5][$2,300]; 4. 71-Shane Stewart [2][$2,000]; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen [1][$1,850]; 6. 41-David Gravel [8][$1,750]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [11][$1,550]; 8. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [21][$1,350]; 9. 21-Brian Brown [7][$1,250]; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel [16][$1,100]; 11. 26-Cory Eliason [12][$1,000]; 12. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [18][$950]; 13. 83-Daryn Pittman [13][$900]; 14. 13-Paul McMahan [9][$850]; 15. 14-Parker Price-Miller [23][$800]; 16. 48-Danny Dietrich [17][$750]; 17. 7S-Jason Sides [14][$700]; 18. 9-Kasey Kahne [20][$700]; 19. 11K-Kraig Kinser [22][$700]; 20. 6-Bill Rose [25][$]; 21. 64-Scotty Thiel [6][$700]; 22. 51-Freddie Rahmer [15][$700]; 23. 83R-Lynton Jeffrey [24][$700]; 24. 4-Terry McCarl [19][$700]; 25. 2-Carson Macedo [10][$700]
Lap Leaders: Jacob Allen 1-9; Brad Sweet 10-24; Kyle Larson 25; Sweet 26-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[+13]

Qualifying Flight-A – 1. 57-Kyle Larson, 9.995; 2. 71-Shane Stewart, 10.12; 3. 41-David Gravel, 10.176; 4. 21-Brian Brown, 10.185; 5. 83-Daryn Pittman, 10.212; 6. 4-Terry McCarl, 10.238; 7. 13-Paul McMahan, 10.241; 8. 51-Freddie Rahmer, 10.247; 9. 83R-Lynton Jeffrey, 10.255; 10. 15-Donny Schatz, 10.261; 11. 48-Danny Dietrich, 10.269; 12. 55-Hunter Schuerenburg, 10.288; 13. 17B-Bill Balog, 10.289; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 10.311; 15. 6-Bill Rose, 10.326; 16. 24W-Lucas Wolfe, 10.353; 17. 39M-Anthony Macri, 10.356; 18. 35-Zach Hampton, 10.361; 19. 24-Rico Abreu, 10.373; 20. 5-Brent Marks, 10.394; 21. 35X-Stuart Brubaker, 10.454; 22. 21X-Brinton Marvel, 10.457; 23. 49J-Josh Schneiderman, 10.488; 24. 41S-Dominic Scelzi, 10.493; 25. 2KS-Chad Boespflug, 10.532; 26. 18-Ian Madsen, 10.537; 27. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 10.543; 28. 11-Zeb Wise, 10.558; 29. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, 10.609; 30. 42-Cory Bruns, 10.788; 31. 9K-Kyle Schuett, 10.848

Qualifying Flight-B – 1S-Logan Schuchart, 10.113; 2. 1A-Jacob Allen, 10.148; 3. 7S-Jason Sides, 10.241; 4. 64-Scotty Thiel, 10.251; 5. 49-Brad Sweet, 10.256; 6. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 10.277; 7. 2-Carson Macedo, 10.278; 8. 9-Kasey Kahne, 10.302; 9. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 10.312; 10. 15H-Sam Hafertepe, 10.323; 11. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 10.336; 12. 26-Cory Eliason, 10.346; 13. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 10.353; 14. 11T-T.J. Stutts, 10.384; 15. 91-Cale Thomas, 10.397; 16. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier, 10.416; 17. W20-Greg Wilson, 10.456; 18. 14-Parker Price-Miller, 10.464; 19. 55W-Logan Wagner, 10.51; 20. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, 10.516; 21. 17A-Austin McCarl, 10.517; 22. 44-Jeff Swindell, 10.531; 23. 70-Justin Peck, 10.532; 24. 91R-Kyle Reinhardt, 10.574; 25. 17W-Shane Golobic, 10.58; 26. 23B-Brian Bell, 10.594; 27. 33M-Mason Daniel, 10.646; 28. 99M-Kyle Moody, 10.656; 29. 51B-Joe B. Miller, 10.688; 30. 44S-Trey Starks, 10.694

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).