CONCORD, N.C. – Logan Schuchart may not have had a chance to win the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series championship Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, but he wanted to make a statement that his Shark Racing team was a legitimate contender.
Schuchart did just that by dominating the season finale, winning the 30-lap closing act of the Last Call for his seventh win of the year, tying Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel for the second-most victories among full-time Outlaw competitors.
In dusty conditions that were as treacherous – if not worse than – Friday’s opening round of the weekend, Schuchart slid past Brad Sweet for the top spot on lap three and controlled the remaining distance.
Despite four cautions interspersed through the race that led to single-file restarts, Schuchart’s Drydene No. 1s proved to be the class of the field. He pulled away each time in clean track and navigated traffic in flawless fashion for his second series win at Charlotte and the 23rd victory of his Outlaw career.
In victory lane, Schuchart’s team aided in a raucous celebration, considering the triumph helped the Hanover, Pa., native secure second place in the Outlaw point standings – holding off 10-time champion Donny Schatz to do so.
“We came into this weekend and we just wanted to end strong,” said Schuchart in victory lane. “Some things were out of our control, but we come here to win races and we did that tonight. Last night was a challenge, but we made up for it tonight and to end the World of Outlaws season on top and with a feature trophy is awesome.
“I can’t thank everyone that’s involved with this Shark Racing team enough. Just to win the last Outlaw race of the season is special. We weren’t able to get the championship, but we were fifth (in points) last year and second this year, so they know we’re here now and we don’t plan on going away.”
After Schuchart took the lead, a debris caution with four laps scored set the tone for the rest of the night, as single-file restarts were called for by World of Outlaws officials.
From there, a fierce dust storm took over, as conditions deteriorated to the point that it was nearly impossible to see cars on-track in the apexes of the corners at the four-tenths-mile dirt track.
Cautions on laps 10, 16 and 19 aided visibility slightly, and each time Schuchart escaped with the lead.
Once green conditions returned for good with 11 to go, the race ran uninterrupted to its conclusion, with Schuchart taking the twin checkers in front of Sweet by 1.274 seconds.
Though he didn’t pick up a maiden victory at Charlotte, Sweet’s runner-up finish was enough to secure a bigger prize – clinching a third career owner’s championship for Kasey Kahne Racing.
Sweet and KKR bested the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41, wheeled Saturday by David Gravel, by 24 points in the final tally. Gravel ran 51 of the 54 races this season, with Parker Price-Miller and Shane Stewart filling in when Gravel was away from the dirt world for ARCA and NASCAR obligations.
“I wasn’t really that mad [about not winning the race],” noted Sweet. “Obviously, the bigger picture was the points … and getting Kasey Kahne Racing the team championship. It was awful dusty, though. I’m not one to complain, but hopefully they can figure out what to do to get the dust down, because the track is in great shape otherwise.
“The NAPA Auto Parts guys gave me a great race car. I wish I wouldn’t have lost the lead to Logan, though,” Sweet added. “I just felt like I never really had another opportunity to get back by him.”
Kerry Madsen and Brian Brown filled out the top five in the final race of the year.
Donny Schatz finished sixth and ended the season third in points, his lowest result in the standings since 2005, when he ended up fourth behind Steve Kinser, Jason Meyers and Craig Dollansky.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.