NASCAR & Auto Racing

Grass Valley’s Brad Sweet to bring Outlaws back to Placerville

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart leads in the third heat at the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series auto race on March 23, 2013 at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, Calif.
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart leads in the third heat at the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series auto race on March 23, 2013 at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, Calif. AP

Brad Sweet was so young the last time the World of Outlaws sprint car series was at Placerville Speedway, he doesn’t remember if he attended.

But Sweet, 28, a Grass Valley native, will be there April 8 as promoter and driver when the Outlaws return to Placerville for the first time since 1992. The event will be part of the Outlaws’ annual West Coast swing.

Sweet finished sixth in the 2014 World of Outlaws championship points chase and won Rookie of the Year honors. Elk Grove’s Paul McMahan finished third behind series champion Donny Schatz.

“Placerville is my home track, and it’s where I learned how to drive sprint cars,” said Sweet, who drives for Kasey Kahne Racing. “The opportunity to have a midweek show (Wednesday) was just too good, and race fans have been wanting the Outlaws to return to Placerville for a long time.”

The World of Outlaws made four starts at Placerville between 1985 and 1992. Sammy Swindell won two of those four, and Jac Haudenschild won in 1992. Both drivers are expected to return for the 2015 season.

As the promoter, Sweet said the event only costs him a lot of money if fans don’t show up or it rains. But he said he’s confident those things won’t happen.

“Partnering with Brad to return the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series to Placerville was a no-brainer,” World of Outlaws President Tom Deery said in a news release. “His passion for the series and for his home track is evident and made for a perfect combination in bringing the Outlaws back after more than two decades. We look forward to what is certain to be a great event.”

Tickets for the Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown are available at www.WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets, or by calling (877) 395-8606. Reserved seating is $45. Advance reserved ticket purchases include a pit pass upgrade.

McReynolds named most popular

Bill McAnally Racing driver Brandon McReynolds won the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West’s Most Popular Driver award in online voting. McReynolds’ 42 percent of the K&N Pro Series West vote was the largest share of the seven series.

McReynolds, 23, who lives in Mooresville, N.C., just completed his first season racing full time for Roseville’s BMR team and was fourth in the championship points chase. Wilton’s Dylan Lupton was second, 17 points behind Greg Pursley.

The other series were NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and the NASCAR Whelen Euro, Modified and Southern Modified series.

The winners will be recognized as part of the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Dec. 13 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

Butler honored by NHRA

Placerville’s Doug Butler also was honored last month by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona for his contributions to drag racing. Butler joined Sacramento brothers Ed and Roy Cortopassi in 1957 as the main engine builder and tuner for the Glass Slipper, the sport’s first streamlined and enclosed-cockpit dragster.

The museum’s annual reunion features some of the sport’s most famous and historic cars, drivers and crews.

Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at editorwriter@att.net.

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