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

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
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The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.