Ted Johnson’s vision was to see the best race car drivers on the same race track on the same night. This year, that vision will peer into a new dimension as money and talent reaches a new high for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
A stout field of 15 full-time drivers with 13 championships and more than 550 victories among them, will chase a schedule of more than 80 races across 22 states in pursuit of aa $1 million point fund.
The storylines set to weave them together could be mistaken for fiction.
Former NASCAR driver and World of Outlaws championship team owner Kasey Kahne will run for rookie-of-the-year honors at age 41.
Ten-time Series champion Donny Schatz is looking to rebound after posting his lowest victory total (three) in 19 years last season.
Defending champion Brad Sweet will target four consecutive championships — a feat only two (Schatz and Steve Kinser) other drivers in the history of the series have accomplished. Potentially seven weekends will give a driver the opportunity to walk away with $50,000 or more in winnings. And on, and on.
It’s a dimensional sprint car madness of the greatest proportions. To take it all in, it had to be broken down section by section.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series could potentially hit 90 or more events in a single season for the first time since 2002 when the series ran 91 races — assuming Mother Nature plays nice. At the time of this piece, 85 feature nights were scheduled, with several more events expected to be announced later.
For the 18th consecutive year, The Greatest Show on Dirt commenced its season at Volusia Speedway Park Feb. 10-12. A two-week break followed before the season was scheduled to kick into high gear, almost never missing a weekend of events until the season concludes with the four-day NGK NTK World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Nov. 2-5.
In between then, the tour will be highlighted by new ventures and big-paying events. First, in March, the series returns to California in the spring for the first time since 2019 — featuring Thunderbowl Raceway, Merced Speedway, Ocean Speedway, Bakersfield Speedway, and Perris Auto Speedway.
At the end of April, Bristol Motor Speedway will rise from the Tennessee mountains for the Bristol Bash doubleheader — swept by David Gravel last year after a 20-year absence from the iconic track. Then, in May, the World of Outlaws will make its return to Atomic Speedway in Waverly, Ohio, for the first time since 2009. It’s one of four Ohio tracks the series will visit in 2022 — something not seen in eight years — joining Attica Raceway Park, Sharon Speedway and Eldora Speedway which will host the $100,000-to-win Historical Big 1 and $175,000-to-win 39th Kings Royal.
Joining the list of crown jewel events is the High Bank Nationals at South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway on June 23-25. The event will pay $15,000 to win on Thursday, $20,000 to win on Friday and $100,000 to win on Saturday. The event takes the original dates of the Jackson Nationals, which has moved to August, the weekend after the 61st Knoxville Nationals at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway.
Continuing to provide big pay days toward the end of the season, the Skagit Nationals at Washington’s Skagit Speedway returns at the beginning of September, paying $25,000-to-win on the final night. Then, the Champion Oil National Open at Williams Grove Speedway will kick off the final month of racing with $75,000 on the line.
“The strength of World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and our devotion to the Series was showcased in 2020 by overcoming the pandemic. Then, we took off running in 2021 with the return of big events and the increase in purses throughout the year. Now, in 2022, we’re eager to build off that momentum and continue to show why the World of Outlaws is The Greatest Show on Dirt,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said. “There are a lot of new and exciting things in store for drivers and fans alike in 2022 that we’ve been looking forward to for a while.”