As the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series continues its march west this week to the FVP Outlaw Showdown presented by Dollar Loan Center at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas, one team has staked its claim early as one to watch - Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb.
The two cars of Daryn Pittman and Brad Sweet rolled through DIRTcar Nationals with precision and speed and carried the momentum to Cotton Bowl Speedway and Royal Purple Raceway Park last weekend.
Together, they have claimed four of the five series wins and three quick times. Sweet has finished in the top five all five nights so far this season with four podium finishes, while Pittman has done it four times with three podium finishes.
The early dominance gives the teammates big momentum as they head into this weekend and the month-and-a-half-long Western stretch.
"We have had a good start with Daryn winning one and me winning three," Sweet said. "That puts us four out of five to start the year. It's great to have momentum and start the year strong, and it means a lot because it shows how hard the guys have worked in the offseason and how great the equipment is that Kasey gives us to race with."
Pittman said he and his team are focused on being the best they can be every night and are not taking anything for granted.
"We're confident, but it doesn't do you any good to get over confident because things change in a hurry and it's hard to win races," Pittman said. "But we have been really fortunate that our cars have been fast, and the way the format works out, both of us have been able to start close to the front and battle for the win."
After running well out West in 2013 and 2014, last season, Pittman, the 2013 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, struggled and was sidelined for one weekend after an injury at Placerville.
"I am looking forward to getting back and redeeming ourselves a little bit out there," Pittman said.
As for Las Vegas, it is a place where he and his team have seen some speed, but have had problems that resulted in bad finishes. In spite of that, he said he looks forward to coming to Las Vegas every year.
For Sweet, his success comes as he and crew chief Lee Stauffer take on their first full season together. Stauffer replaced Mike Carber in the role late last summer.
Sweet said getting more experience and developing a working relationship with Stauffer helped through the end of last season and into the early part of this season.
"It's great how we finished last year, and we felt like we finished strong," Sweet said. "It seems like in sprint car racing, the older you get, the better you get and it feels like I'm starting to get more into the prime and where I would like to be."
Sweet said he is keeping everything in prospective as the grueling 90-race season takes shape.
"It is a long season, and I know by the time July and August comes around, the west coast swing feels like forever ago," Sweet said. "Also, I have a little more experience this year and realize how long a season is, and I am a lot more prepared for it for sure."
Tickets for the FVP Outlaw Showdown presented by Dollar Loan Center at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas on Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4 are available by calling 844-DIRT-TIX (347-8849), or by visiting WorldofOutlaws.com/Tickets.