VENTURA, Calif. – Sheldon Haudenschild has landed a three-race midget deal with Clauson-Marshall Racing, culminating with a ride at the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
Haudenschild will drive the No. 17s starting with this week’s Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway, before heading to the Gateway Dirt Nationals at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis from Nov. 29-Dec. 1. He’ll then make his sixth Chili Bowl appearance in Tulsa, Okla., Jan 14-19.
The deal came together thanks to Haudenschild’s association with sponsor NOS Energy Drink and Clauson-Marshall Racing co-owner Richard Marshall, who Haudenschild drives for in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.
“This definitely ties everything together and is a great way for me to get some racing in during the offseason for the World of Outlaws,” Haudenschild told SPEED SPORT. “Having the support of Richard and Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) and everyone at NOS is a big deal for me and I’m thankful to have this opportunity from them, as well as Tim and all the guys over here at CMR.
“It worked out really well to get us to this point, so hopefully we can go out, grab some good results and have a lot of fun along the way.”
Haudenschild was quick to note that he’ll have to adjust to the different driving style that the midgets take compared to a winged sprint car, but that he’s confident he’ll be able to adapt quickly.
“They’re definitely different than the winged cars that I normally drive,” Haudenschild said of the midgets. “I only really have Chili Bowl experience, so I’m looking forward to getting onto some different race tracks and seeing how I can do. I feel like a race car’s a race car, and it’s a lot more to do with the mindset you take into it. I know I have a good piece under me, and I think that’s half the battle in these midgets.
“I’m lucky to have good equipment in this deal and I just have to go out and do my part, now.”
The Wooster, Ohio young gun is also excited that he’ll have extra track time in a midget this year in advance of the Chili Bowl, something he’s not had the luxury of in past years.
“Turkey Night and St. Louis are going to be huge,” said Haudenschild. “I’m really looking forward to St. Louis, in particular. I think that track is going to put on a good midget race, and since it’ll be everyone’s first time there in a midget it will be a much more even playing field. That’s a good thing in my case.”
As he looked on at the car he’s driving this week, Haudenschild reflected on the meaning of driving for not only one of the late Bryan Clauson’s best friends, but now, Clauson’s father as well.
“It’s a huge deal and something I’m very proud of, to be a part of this team,” Haudenschild smiled. “They definitely have their program together and obviously, knowing why they’re doing it and this being in honor of Bryan is very special too. It’s not easy to run six to eight of these cars at a time and have them all be fast every time they hit the track, so that tells you the work ethic everyone puts into this team.
“I got to race with Bryan some in a sprint car and he was definitely a great driver. To have this opportunity is an honor, for sure.”