David Gravel chases Brad Sweet into the World of Outlaws Sprint Car World Finals

Sweet Gravel Outlaws Sprint
Trent Gower / World of Outlaws

Over the course of six races, Brad Sweet watched an almost 100-point lead shrink to 16 as David Gravel went on a late-season run and now chases Sweet into the World of Outlaws Sprint Car World Finals on November 2, 4-5. Sweet is looking for his fourth consecutive championship. He finished second in the two seasons preceding that streak.

After finishing second last year and third in four straight seasons from 2016 through 2019, Gravel seeks his first.

Sweet’s fifth win of the 2022 season came at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio in late September. It was his 10th consecutive result of sixth or better and with a 96-point lead at the checkers, fans may have assumed he would walk into the finale at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway with very little pressure on his shoulders. Over the next five events, he netted four more top-10s.

But Gravel was mounting a charge. At Sharon, Gravel finished three positions behind Sweet in fourth. His next six races ended in top-fives, including his seventh win of the season at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb.

MORE: Dennis Erb Jr. leads Outlaws Late Models into World Finals

In all of those races, Gravel finished ahead of Sweet, piling up points like straws on a camel’s back. The gap was manageable until a disastrous outing at Williams Grove in Mechanicsburg, Pa. in the most recent race before the finale.

In the 60th annual National Open, delayed from earlier in the month by remnants of Hurricane Ian, Sweet recorded his first DNF (failure to finish) in 166 races. Gravel finished fifth. Sweet broke an axle on Lap 5 of the 40-lapper. Prior to that misfortune, he completed all 5,461 laps in his 166-race streak.

Sweet Gravel Outlaws Sprint
David Gravel and Brad Sweet finished 1-2 in Night 3 of the Skagit Nationals. – Trent Gower, World of Outlaws

Sweet could concentrate on finishing ahead Gravel or within one position of him for the next three races. That would be enough to give him the title in a series that awards 150 points for winning and 146 for second place. Sweet believes that is a great way to lose focus, however.

“If you’re going in there looking for a top five, you’re going to lose,” Sweet said in a press release. “You have to go in there, putting all the cards on the table and try to win each night.

“Essentially, we’re pretty much tied going into a three-race weekend. We know [Gravel is] going to be hungry. They’re going to be good. They have been. Especially for the last eight to 10 races they’ve been on a good stretch. That’s what’s put them in this position.”

Sweet has been solid at Charlotte with a fifth-place average finish over the las six races. Gravel has been better with an average result of 1.8 in that same span that includes four wins.

“All I do is plan on running the best I can every night and hopefully running up front and just keep applying that pressure,” Gravel said. “You never know what could happen.”

MORE: Brad Sweet thinks 10 Outlaws Sprints champions are enough

Dylan Ferrandis in concussion protocol after Houston Supercross accident, Tampa status undetermined

Ferrandis Houston accident
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

After suffering a frightening accident at Houston in the Monster Energy Supercross race, Dylan Ferrandis reports he is okay, but will be on concussion protocol and his status for Tampa this week is not yet determined.

Two laps into last week’s Main, Ferrandis was engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen for eighth place. Ferrandis landed on the back Roczen’s bike and was thrown, landing headfirst on the track. Ferrandis momentarily lost consciousness and the race was red flagged so he could be attended to by the Alpinestars medical team.

“I’m okay after my crash in the main event. I hit my head first and got knock[ed] out for some minutes,” Ferrandis posted in an Instagram story. “Everything else is fine and I am okay now fortunately. Will follow the concussion protocol and will see when I can ride again.”

Ferrandis regained consciousness, the medical crew fitted Ferrandis with a neck brace and he was able to stand and walk to the cart under his own power. Ferrandis was sitting up when he left the track with a member of the crew stabilizing his neck.

“It was an awesome ride [for Eli] and a good way to come back from last weekend,” said Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha at RacerXOnline.com. “It was also the lowest of lows. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, but to see one of your guys crash the way Dylan did and to see him lying there was pretty tough. Fortunately, when I got to him, he was able to open his eyes and looked at me and said my name, and it was a huge relief to see him stand up and walk away.”

Ferrandis was off to a strong start in 2023 with a worst finish of sixth at San Diego in the first three races. He entered Houston sixth in the standings, one point behind Jason Anderson.

Ferrandis’ teammate Eli Tomac went on to win the race.

Also riding for Star Racing Yamaha and making his 450cc Supercross debut, Justin Cooper advanced from 13th at the end of Lap 1 to finish seventh.