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.
Larson is married to Sweet’s sister, Katelyn.
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.
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.
Kyle Larson finishes second to brother-in-law Brad Sweet at I-55 originally appeared on NBCSports.com