KNOXVILLE, Iowa — It wasn’t as flashy as his victory at Volusia Speedway Park during February’s DIRTcar Nationals, but Logan Schuchart’s third-place finish in Friday’s World of Outlaws Invitational at Knoxville Raceway had greater meaning.
With his podium effort, behind race winner David Gravel and runner-up Ian Madsen, Schuchart assumed the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series point lead for the first time in his career.
Schuchart heads the standings by 10 points over defending series champion Brad Sweet. He’s the only driver to have finished inside the top five in all four features this season.
“This is definitely a good start (to the season),” Schuchart said. “We started off good. We were quick right off the bat in qualifying. Ran good in the heat. We have some things we can work on to be a little better in the feature, but this is a great start to the year. Thanks to DIRTVision and the World of Outlaws for putting this on and letting us be here, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there.”
In terms of his run Friday night at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Schuchart was consistently among the frontrunners all night. He started sixth after a less-than-stellar DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash run, but quickly advanced into the top four and floated between third and fourth for the entire 30-lap feature.
Schuchart dispatched Daryn Pittman for the final podium spot with 10 to go and held serve to the finish, but was visibly closing on the top two runners as the laps wound down.
“Some laps I thought we’d have a shot at it,” he noted. “Toward the end, I was pretty close to getting Ian (Madsen), and David (Gravel) wasn’t too far out of the picture. I felt the best on the bottom because that was where you could make the most time, but the top was the smoothest (lane on the track). One out of five times, I’d feel like I’d gain a lot of momentum through the center of the corner and then the next turn I’d hit a rut and lose it all.
“It was tough, but we were in the picture, and that’s a big deal to us.”
The good news for Schuchart? He’s not just in the picture now; he’s front and center in the middle of it.
That’s a big thing for a Shark Racing team that spent most of the last six years just trying to survive on the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series trail.
“It’s what we’ve been working toward,” Schuchart said. “We’re not about to let up, either.”
Of note, all drivers who participated in the DIRTcar Nationals in February that could not race at Knoxville Raceway on Friday received 90 points toward their championship total.
Only 48 teams were invited to Knoxville due to the COVID-19 situation and a need to maintain social distancing through the pit area at Knoxville.