It’s ‘Bristol Throwdown Baby’ for World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series

Outlaws Sprint Car Bristol
World of Outlaws

Bristol Motor Speedway has long held a special place in racing fans’ hearts and the return of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series for this weekend’s Bristol Throwdown only adds to the mystique.

It has been 20 years since the Outlaws last visited Bristol. Doubleheaders were held there in 2000 and 2001. Mark Kinser won the opening night of the June, 2000 show with Sammy Swindell victorious on Night 2.

Donny Schatz finished second in Night 1 of the 2000 doubleheader before returning in 2001 to win that race. Swindell took the checkers this next night, with Schatz finishing fifth.

Almost 20 years later, Schatz will get an opportunity to match or surpass Swindell’s win record, but he is going to have stiff competition against points’ leader Brad Sweet, the rest of the regular Outlaw field, and Kyle Larson – who recently announced he would compete there before heading to Talladega for the NASCAR Cup race. Last year, Larson won 12 times in Outlaws Sprint Car competition.

Schatz is not the only driver with Outlaws experience at Bristol. Tennessee natives Jason Sides and Paul McMahan were in attendance when the series previously visited the track. So were Tim Shaffer and Jac Haudenschild.

The opportunity for the Outlaws to return to the iconic race came because NASCAR hosted their first race on dirt in 50 years on March 29, 2021. Joey Logano won the inaugural Food City Dirt Race; Larson finished 29th after sustaining crash damage.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series raced on this track two weeks earlier with Josh Richards winning Night 1 and Devin Moran winning Night 2.

Sprint Car action begins Thursday with a practice session, followed by a $10,000-to-win show on Friday and a $25,000-to-win show on Saturday. The full program can be watched on DirtVision with a subscription. Nearly 40 entrants will be on hand; the full entry list is available on the Outlaws website.

Bristol will also mark the second time the Outlaws have visited a half-mile track since the opening weekend at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. In that three night show, Sweet, Logan Schuchart and Carson Macedo split the wins.

Speeds are expected to be lightning fast this week. In 2001 a Tennessee state trooper used his radar gun to clock Swindell at more than 185 mph on Bristol’s straightaway. Swindell still holds the existing track record of 13.860 (138.441 mph). By comparison, Chase Elliott holds the NASCAR Cup qualification record at Bristol with a lap of 14.568 (131.713) set in April, 2019.

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead


With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.

In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list