BARBERVILLE, Fla. – From the moment the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season wrapped up in November, Logan Schuchart wanted to prove his runner-up finish in points wasn’t a fluke.
Schuchart took the first step toward backing up that assertion Wednesday night at Volusia Speedway Park, charging from 13th to win the opening night of Sprint Week during the 50th DIRTcar Nationals.
Sanctioned by the All Star Circuit of Champions, Schuchart’s win was worth $6,000 for Shark Racing.
The Hanover, Pa., native took a while to get to the race lead – methodically working his way through the field – but once Schuchart got within striking distance of the leaders, he was like a shark on the hunt.
A banzai pass from sixth to third on lap 15 got Schuchart a sniff of the top spot, then he tracked down 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz by using every possible groove around the half-mile dirt oval to make up ground.
Schuchart finally slid past Schatz entering turn one with three laps left, took command and took off.
At the checkered flag, Schuchart held an impressive 2.047-second margin of victory over Schatz for his second career All Star win and first since April 27, 2012 at Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway.
It was also Schuchart’s second-straight DIRTcar Nationals victory, dating back to last February’s finale.
“There was definitely a lot of back and forth there,” noted Schuchart, referencing his battle to get through traffic. “It took some quick reaction times to make some stuff happen, but we were just slicing and dicing with a lot of good guys there. There were a lot of good cars up at the front, and I was just waiting on the direction that they were going to take before I’d go the opposite (way).
“This Drydene car was awesome. Before we got out there for the feature, I thought the track was going to be pretty one-lane, and dominant around the top, but I was able to move around and make a lot of moves that got us through there,” Schuchart continued. “The top was still the place to be, but I was able to move around and go through the middle, and it just felt really, really good all race long.”
Schuchart’s drive from 13th to the win also netted him hard charger honors for the night.
Wednesday’s feature featured four different leaders and began with an aborted start, followed by a crash on the frontstretch involving Jason Sides before a lap was finally completed under green.
Once racing got underway, polesitter Sheldon Haudenschild slid deep into turns one and two on the opening circuit, but overdrove the second corner and slid up into the outside wall and lost his momentum.
That allowed second-starting Brian Brown to race underneath Haudenschild’s No. 17 and grab the lead, which the Grain Valley, Mo., held until lap seven – when Sweet drove around the FVP No. 21 with his Kasey Kahne Racing-prepared, NAPA Auto Parts-backed No. 49.
Schatz grabbed the second position a lap later, then went to work chasing down Sweet for the top spot.
He did so just before the halfway point, then officially led lap 13 just as the caution waved for the slowing No. 11k of Kraig Kinser. The pass came thanks to the slower car of Joey Saldana, who broke Sweet’s momentum enough for Schatz to pounce.
A quick caution followed before another lap could be scored, but once green-flag conditions returned Schatz hastily escaped from Sweet as a war for runner-up honors broke out.
Sweet, Schuchart, Haudenschild and David Gravel all found themselves under a blanket for second, with a lap-19 caution for the crashed car of Ian Madsen being the only thing that slowed the frenetic pace.
Schatz again commanded the restart, but Schuchart wasn’t about to be denied. He dispatched Sweet for second coming to four to go and tracked down Schatz in less than a lap before his decisive cut to the low side of turn one on lap 23.
Schuchart slid in front of Schatz, drove away over the final three laps, and left the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 to settle for second as Schatz lamented what he could have done differently.
“I thought I was (in a good position), but Logan found another groove there that cleaned off,” Schatz said. “In (turns) one and two, when I’d slide across there. It would catch somewhat and it almost felt like (the track) was locked down with rubber, but it wasn’t. When you’re out front, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
“Right in one and two was up on the fence, and I was trying to keep from hitting it and just make clean laps, and I probably got a little bit too cautious. That’s just the way racing goes some days.”
Sweet completed the podium, followed by Gravel, as World of Outlaws regulars swept the top four finishing positions. Brent Marks carried the banner for the All Stars with a fifth-place finish.
Tyler Courtney, Carson Macedo, Haudenschild, Danny Dietrich and Cory Eliason filled out the top 10.
After starting on the front row and leading the first six laps, Brown faded to 14th in the final results.
The 50th DIRTcar Nationals continue Thursday night with another All Star Circuit of Champions-sanctioned sprint car program. It’s the second of five nights during the annual Sprint Week at Volusia.
To view complete results, advance to the next page.