BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Sheldon Haudenschild scored his third World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.
Haudenschild stormed to the front of the feature from ninth and was undoubtedly the class of the field, winning by nearly three and a half seconds despite a late caution flag.
Shane Stewart came from seventh for his second consecutive podium finish with early race leader Jason Johnson completing the podium.
Johnson was attempting to pull a clean sweep of the program after setting fast time, winning his Heat and taking the Craftsman Club Dash, earning the pole for the 35-lap feature. Johnson set a fast pace, surviving a couple of cautions and leading the first 14 laps.
Brad Sweet appeared to be the man to beat when he took the lead, to a huge applause, on the 15th circuit from his fifth-starting position, after exchanging multiple slide jobs with Johnson. Disaster struck three laps later for Sweet as he did a full 360 spin and a massive wheelie before his NAPA Auto Parts No.49 machine came to a stop in turn two.
That allowed Johnson to re-assume the lead with Haudenschild right beside him on the double-file restart. Johnson kept Haudenschild at bay for a couple of laps as the duo traded the lead each corner for a handful of laps enthralling the large Bakersfield Speedway crowd once again. Haudenschild officially led lap 23 and was never truly challenged after that point.
The excitement didn’t stop there though for the driver of the NOS Energy Drink, Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall No. 17 as Sheldon asserted his dominance over the field by lapping cars at a rapid pace, throwing massive slide jobs along the way. On lap 29, Haudenschild saw a four-second lead erased for one final caution.
He powered away on the restart, with no challenge going to win by 3.446 seconds. Haudenschild was the topic amongst the crowd all night after coming from 10th in his heat, after spinning, to finish third.
“It just shows how good my guys are,” Haudenschild said. “A lot of guys were fighting for the bottom and I just went where the track was free.”
Stewart secured his second consecutive podium finish on the strength of restarts. “[Double-file restarts] are one of the crazy and cool things about the World of Outlaws and I’ve been on the wrong end of them before, but tonight they worked out for us. Hopefully, we can get a win here real soon,” Stewart said.
Johnson was in good spirits with his third-place finish despite leading a large portion of the race. “We came up a little bit short, we were a little too free once the fuel burned off, but still a very good night for this team. It’s always good to be on the podium,” he said.
Joey Saldana came from 14th to finish fourth with Ian Madsen coming from 16th to complete the top five, while Donny Schatz battled from 21st to sixth.
For complete results advance to the next page.