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.
I̸T̸’̸S̸ R̸A̸C̸E̸ W̸E̸E̸K̸.̸
𝗪𝗮𝗶𝘁, 𝗻𝗼… 𝗜𝗧'𝗦 𝗕𝗥𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗟 𝗕𝗔𝗕𝗬! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GBSVyLFgkP
— World of Outlaws (@WorldofOutlaws) April 19, 2021
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.