TERRE HAUTE, IN – They call it The Greatest Spectacle in Racing; We call it The Greatest Show on Dirt.
Not only is The Hoosier State spoiled with the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 this weekend, but the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series is coming to town, too.
While the big track on 16th Street takes the spotlight on Sunday afternoon, the Outlaws will be captivating fans on Friday and Monday to bookend the epic weekend of racing in Indiana. It begins with a trip to Terre Haute Action Track on May 28 and wraps up with a stop at Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 31.
Here are some of the storylines to follow this week:
INDIANA’S LAST CALL: The Memorial Day Weekend doubleheader in “The Hoosier State” will mark the final chance for Indiana’s faithful to see the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars inside their home state this year. Two previous appearances on the bullrings at Kokomo and Tri-State thrilled fans in April, so now the big tracks at Terre Haute and Lawrenceburg get their time to shine.
Friday’s race at Terre Haute will be the 165th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event contested in Indiana.
BIG AND WIDE: After an Ohio weekend on a smaller 1/3-mile at Attica and smooth 3/8-mile at Sharon, the Outlaws will be getting back to two high-speed joint this weekend. Terre Haute’s ultra-wide surface is one of eight 1/2-mile venues on the 2021 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule. After Terre Haute, Lawrenceburg will become one of the most high-banked tracks of the season on Monday.
Of the nine races already contested on 1/2-miles this year, we’ve had seven different winners. Only David Gravel (sweeping Bristol) and Carson Macedo (Volusia, Williams Grove) have found victory lane more than once on the big tracks.
EVIL LADY LUCK: Sheldon Haudenschild and his Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17 have been the fastest they’ve ever been, but Lady Luck will just not side with them. It could easily be argued that the Wooster, OH native should have an additional five wins (leading with less than 10 to go) on top of his already scored three victories.
He was gone at Tri-State when he got a flat tire in lap traffic; He was handling it at Jacksonville when he cut a tire on debris; He was destroying the field at I-70 and Sharon until late race cautions spoiled it; and he was coming to take the white flag at Sharon when a lap traffic gave him nowhere to go.
If you crunch the numbers, in an ideal world Haudenschild would be slotted second in the championship only -8 points behind Sweet for the top spot, but instead he’s -164. The season is still young, and the #17 is still rippin’, though. He’ll get two more shots to rebound and get back in victory lane this weekend at Terre Haute and Lawrenceburg.
ON THE RISE: Earlier this season, Donny Schatz had slipped as far back as seventh in the championships standings. You read that right, seventh for the 10-time World of Outlaws champion. Some trying times presented the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15 with hurdles, but they’ve fought back and clawed their way to fourth in the standings, only down -150 points.
Since his rough stretch in April with four consecutive finishes outside the top-10, Schatz and the Ford Performance, Carquest crew have recovered nicely. In 13 events since then, he’s recorded five podium finishes and nine top-five results with an average finish of 5.3. This weekend, Schatz returns to two tracks (Terre Haute & Lawrenceburg) that he’s won at before with a good chance to keep the momentum rolling.
POUNCING ON THE BIG CAT: Over the last eight events, two-time and defending Series champion Brad Sweet hasn’t been his usually dominant self. The Kasey Kahne Racing #49 did tame the PA Posse at Lincoln Speedway, but outside of that lone victory during that stretch he recorded an average finish of 9.7 and let him points lead dwindle down.
Capitalizing on Sweet’s slow May is the trio of David Gravel, Carson Macedo and Donny Schatz. At one point, the Grass Valley, CA native had more than 100 points on the whole field, but his struggles have made way for others to close the gap. Now, Gravel only sits -56 behind, Macedo has narrowed it down to -86, and Schatz has clawed back to only -150.
ONE EPIC WEEK: As if the allure of The Greatest Show on Dirt isn’t enough, the overload of racing inside Indiana should sell you on making the trip this weekend. Of course, there’s the World of Outlaws shows on Friday night at Terre Haute Action Track and Monday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway, but to offer you more bang for your buck, there’s more racing every other night.
Fans can pre-game for the Outlaws at Terre Haute by visiting the 1/2-mile on Wednesday and Thursday for USAC Sprint Cars and Silver Crown. The population will surge on Friday, Saturday & Sunday as race weekend arrives for the Indianapolis 500. More local racing supports Indy on the weekend and finally the Outlaws cap off the epic week at Lawrenceburg for a Memorial Day special on Monday night.
This Week at a Glance – When and Where
Friday, May 28 at Terre Haute Action Track in Terre Haute, IN
Monday, May 31 at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, IN
On the Internet
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Twitter – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – @WoOSprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsSprintCarSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws