DODGE CITY, Kan. – After 358 prior tries ended in defeat, Jacob Allen finally scored the victory heard ‘round the sprint car world on Friday night at Dodge City Raceway Park.
Driving the familiar Shark Racing No. 1a, Allen led all 30 laps at the three-eighths-mile dirt track for his long-awaited first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series triumph.
It was a dominant performance the likes of which Allen has been building toward for years.
Last fall at Stockton (Calif.) Dirt Track, Allen was leading inside of three laps to go and in search of a $20,000 payday when a mechanical failure ended his quest for victory in stunning fashion.
He was passed on a restart by Brad Sweet while leading at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in May, eventually finishing fifth, while he flipped moments after taking the lead a week later at Lake Ozark Speedway.
If those two heartbreaks weren’t enough, Allen led the first 14 laps at Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Speedway in late July before being snookered by Sheldon Haudenschild in traffic. He came home third that night.
But Friday at Dodge City, Allen left no doubt.
He ripped the top on the initial start to seize command from polesitter Tim Shaffer and controlled the feature from that point, leading from start to finish despite some early pressure from teammate Logan Schuchart in the first third of the race.
After that, the only real concern for Allen was a caution flag on lap 13 for one of the infield safety pylons, which found its way onto the racing surface exiting turn four and necessitated the slowdown.
But Allen mastered the ensuing restart and was off to the races from then on, eventually taking the twin checkers with a .674-second advantage and finally earning the right to park in victory lane.
After a raucous celebration, Allen was overcome with emotion and nearly in tears as he discussed his maiden Outlaw score.
“I’ve worked really hard for this,” Allen said, choking up as he did so. “I just knew I had to keep it cool. I looked up at the scoreboard at some point near the end … like three to go, and it was like, ‘Man, I know what this is like … leading this late in the race and then breaking,’ so I was just racing my race.
“To finally win a freaking race after all this time … so much has gone into it and I was so close to giving up, but coming back this year and taking a whole new look on everything has finally paid off,” Allen added. “And to have Logan in second is pretty badass too! I’m just thankful to drive the No. 1a and have the support of this whole team and Drydene.
“This is such an honor. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this.”
Allen’s teammate, Logan Schuchart, worked into the runner-up position at the start of the race and held the spot for the majority of the race, eventually making it a one-two finish for Shark Racing.
While normally frustrated to run second with the Outlaws, Schuchart had nothing but praise for Allen, thrilled to see his teammate be able to celebrate a victory on dirt racing’s biggest stage at long last.
“That night we won at Stockton and took the 20 grand, I was about disappointed, so this is great tonight. Words can’t describe how happy I am for Jacob,” said Schuchart. “Just the emotion of crossing that finish line and knowing he won was awesome. I tried my heart out to pass him, just like I did at Stockton and any other time he was leading, because I’m a competitor and that’s what I do.
“But tonight was his night and I’m so proud of him.”
Donny Schatz completed the podium, and even the 10-time Outlaw champion mustered a smile when looking over at the victory party going on a handful of yards away.
“Congrats to Jacob. That’s pretty cool, to see him win a race,” Schatz said. “He’s been trying a long time.”
David Gravel and Brad Sweet crossed fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by Sheldon Haudenschild, Daryn Pittman, Kraig Kinser, Carson Macedo and Parker Price-Miller.
Sweet was the hard charger, coming from ninth to fifth, while Schuchart trimmed Sweet’s point lead by six heading into Saturday at Dodge City. Sweet heads Schuchart by eight markers in the updated tally.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.