World of Outlaws Late Models tackle Bristol for first time

Outlaws Late Models Bristol
Josh James, World of Outlaws
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When the World of Outlaws Late Model Series hits the track at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday April 8, it marks the first time the series visits Bristol Motor Speedway. That’s not surprising since the 0.533-mile bullring is typically asphalt, but when  track officials and NASCAR decided to convert the surface for NASCAR’s Food City Dirt Race, it opened a world of opportunities.

Nearly 40 A-Mains were run March 16-20 when the track hosted the Bristol Dirt Nationals.

Martin Truex Jr. won the Camping World Truck Series Race on March 29 and Joey Logano was victorious in Cup competition later that same day.

Now it’s time for dirt professionals at the highest level to tackle the track.

The anticipation for this event, as well as for the return of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series April 22-24, promises to make this a marquee race everyone wants to win.

And, for that matter, it’s anyone’s race to win. In the first 10 races of the season, Kyle Strickler is the only driver with more than one victory. He won Night 2 and 3 of the DirtCar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.

Those wins propelled him into the points’ lead where he still stands, but he has not had a top-10 since leaving Florida. Strickler’s last four results ended 13th or worse.

Meanwhile Brandon Shephard enters the weekend with a win at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C. and three consecutive top-fives. Compounding the issue is that nearly 30 different drivers have earned top-fives in the Outlaw Late Model Series, so Bristol is anyone’s to win.

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And while the Outlaws Late Models have not visited the track, Bristol has hosted six Super Late races since 2000. Scott Bloomquist won two of those races.

“It was big, it’s a special place,” Bloomquist said at WorldofOutlaws.com. “Just going into [Bristol] is kind of breathtaking, there’s probably not a finer place you could race in the world.”

Bloomquist has two top-fives already this season in nine starts.

Chris Ferguson and Jonathan Davenport each won a Super Late Model race during the Bristol Dirt Nationals.

Fans can watch a special pre-race show Thursday night free on DIRTVision from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET). It will also be free on Facebook Live and Youtube Live.

A subscription will be required to watch Friday, April 9 when the series runs a 40-lap feature paying $10,000 to win. Then, they will run another 40 laps on Saturday, April 10, with the winner collecting $25,000.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.