Race Weekend Central

This Weekend in Dirt: Brad Sweet Wins Skagit Nationals, Haudenschild Steals the Show

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Brad Sweet weathered a slew of mid-race yellows and kept upstart Corey Day at bay to win the finale of the Skagit Nationals in Washington Saturday night (Sept. 2), winning $26,000 and extending his World of Outlaws points lead.

Sweet went largely unchallenged after he took the race lead from polesitter James McFadden on lap 8, though West Coast regular Day did close to within a couple car lengths with three laps to go. 

Sweet’s win was the 86th Outlaw victory of his career, tying him with Daryn Pittman for ninth on the series’ all-time list.

2023 SKAGIT NATIONALS RACE RESULTS

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: The Skagit Nationals peaked on their opening night, with Sheldon Haudenschild stealing the show with a run from 16th to first to win the 30-lap feature on Thursday.

Haudenschild made his charge, the deepest an Outlaws winner has started this decade, by running all four wheels over the cushion lap after lap in turns 3 and 4. His display was arguably the most dominant of its type sprint car racing has seen since Aaron Reutzel accomplished the feat in Outlaws competition at East Bay Raceway Park back in 2021.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Be still my beating heart, a multi-day sprint car event with no passing points and no inverts! Three days, one race format that everyone in the grandstands could easily follow simply by listening to the track PA. Simplicity, thy name is Skagit and it is good.

Speaking of the grandstands, it is absolutely disorienting to have the DirtVision camera stationed on the frontstretch where it doesn’t capture 90% of the spectators actually in attendance. As empty as the frontstretch lower rows were all three nights of the Skagit Nationals, let’s be clear, there were a LOT more fans actually at the track.

He could have easily been featured in the Heroes section below, but it’s worth addressing Corey Day here for a number of reasons. One, yes, Day put on a very strong performance in Saturday’s finale event (his second podium finish of the weekend after Friday’s race as well).

Two, I don’t get where all the social media heat is coming from, but Day fans really have bought into this idea that he is absolutely the next big things, singling out fellow teenager open wheeler Ryan Timms as having been surpassed.

Yes, Day again ran very well this weekend, but given that this weekend’s event was on the West Coast on a track that anyone not based on the West Coast isn’t going to have a lot of laps on, home field advantage objectively has to be considered looking at the weekend’s results.

Lastly, if there’s a performance of the weekend of note for the West Coast crowd, it wouldn’t be for me Day as much as Tanner Holmes, who scored another top-five finish in Thursday’s opening feature, as well as a heat race and dash win. Yes, Holmes suffered a DNF Saturday, but he has proven quite capable of the promotion to Shark Racing that he received seemingly out of left field once Jacob Allen announced his departure.

Holmes delivering on the Outlaws tour full time will go a longer way towards opening doors for West Coasters than a strong showing at Skagit.

Dirt Racing’s Hero(es) of the Weekend

Haudenschild, as discussed above. His race-winning performance Thursday was as powerful a drive as the Outlaws have seen anywhere this season. And while the photo below was from Friday night, not the Thursday where Haudenschild scored his win, it should provide some perspective on just how hard it is to race above the cushion lap after lap.

Dirt Racing’s Victim(s) of the Weekend

Thursday was kind to Haudenschild. Saturday wasn’t, as the driver went for a wicked tumble 12 laps short of the finish that destroyed the suspension on both ends of his car. He finished 23rd.

McFadden wasn’t lacking for speed this weekend and scored a podium finish Saturday, but was left wondering what could have been Thursday and Friday. McFadden went for a spin 11 laps into Thursday’s feature while battling for the lead with Giovanni Scelzi, who sent him spinning after contact with the wall. Friday again saw McFadden go for a spin, this time racing with Carson Macedo.

Current Skagit Speedway sprint car points leader Trey Starks had a rough weekend at his home track. Thursday saw Starks spin in his heat race, triggering a collision with Bill Rose that forced Starks to retreat back to his shop Friday morning to get a new frame for his car. 

That frame didn’t stop Starks from proceeding to flip three laps into Friday’s feature. A 15th-place finish on Saturday saw Starks maintain a narrow lead in track points.

Noah Gass had arguably the worst wreck of the weekend with his tumble in Saturday qualifying. He was uninjured.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Monday morning (Sept. 11) with coverage of the World 100 super late model race from Eldora Speedway. Streaming coverage can be found on Flo Racing.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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