ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. – Thursday night’s Gettysburg Clash at Lincoln Speedway may not have ended in a win for the Pennsylvania-based Shark Racing team, but you wouldn’t have known that by their reactions after the 35-lap feature.
Smiles abounded, cheers resounded and the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series’ “little team that could” celebrated by far the best run of its history on its home turf.
The effort was spearheaded by Jacob Allen, the son of National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Bobby Allen, who stole the lead from Sheldon Haudenschild on the initial start and led the first 14 laps before being passed on the outside in traffic near the midpoint of the race.
Allen dug his heels in and stayed with Haudenschild for as long as possible in the second half before defending second from Jason Johnson Racing driver David Gravel in the closing stages.
The 26-year-old eventually lost the runner-up spot to his teammate and nephew, Logan Schuchart, on the final lap of the main event. Allen wasn’t discouraged, however.
The race was a giant success for Allen as he continues the pursuit of his first World of Outlaws feature victory.
“It was fun,” Allen said. “I feel really good. I know I haven’t won an Outlaw race, but this year I feel so good physically and mentally. I prepare really hard for these races. Sheldon rips. Logan rips. I gave it all I had. The wins are going to come. When we’re working as hard as we are and I’m as focused as I’ve been, I don’t see how we won’t have it happen eventually.
“I look forward to that day. I gave it my all and it was fun racing with Sheldon and Logan,” he added. “It’s fun to have both cars up here (on the frontstretch) at our home track and great to see everyone here.”
For Schuchart to finish second and close to within 20 points of the World of Outlaws championship lead was a big statement – and big for his confidence.
“I was just looking forward to the restarts. It seemed like every restart, especially when I could restart on the bottom, I could really get a good run through (turns) one and two and go wherever the other cars weren’t. For whatever reason, I felt like I could run harder into the corners than some others could. It was a little tough from the center off – I felt like we were even with a lot of cars – but getting into the corners like we could seemed to help us out a lot.
“I’m happy for Jacob’s guys to get a good run, and for my guys too; this is what we need to do to get better and for my team, what we need to do to stay in it for a shot at the points,” he added. “We’re right there and we’re not going to let up.”
As the Shark Racing duo continues to close in on a long-awaited World of Outlaws win in Central Pennsylvania, Schuchart took a moment to reflect on the team’s earlier days in 2012 and 2013 – the years just before Bobby Allen packed his team up and went on the road with The Greatest Show on Dirt.
“I remember racing here locally, seven or eight years ago, and it’s been a struggle to get here. A long journey but we’re gaining on it,” Schuchart said about the Shark Racing team. “It’s nice to get a podium finish.
“We always want to win, but props to the 17 guys, because they earned it,” he added. “I wish we could have gotten that trophy, but it’s good to get a strong podium finish in front of our hometown crowd.”
Allen and Schuchart will chase victory next during the Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals at the half-mile Williams Grove Speedway on July 24-25.
While he hasn’t won at the Grove, Schuchart picked up a half-mile victory at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track on July 12 during the Wabash Clash.