NEW RICHMOND, Wis. – Nerves set in for Sheldon Haudenschild in the closing laps of the early Saturday evening World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series FVP Platinum Battery Showdown at Cedar Lake Speedway.
While leading with less than 10 laps to go, he brushed the wall off turn four while trying to pass a lap car on one lap and jumped the cushion in turn one, upsetting his car, in another. With 10-time series champion Donny Schatz lurking behind him – hungry to return to victory lane – Haudenschild knew errors were not an option.
“I made a couple of sloppy laps there honestly,” Haudenschild said. “I was a little nervous. That’s usually when Donny capitalizes. I wasn’t very happy with myself making a few of those mistakes.”
Schatz closed, but after the errors, Haudenschild and his NOS Energy Drink No. 17 were flawless. Powering around the high side of the speedway, the Wooster, Ohio-native cruised to his first win of the season – the sixth of his career – and first win since August.
It wasn’t an easy drive though. Before having to hold off Schatz, he had to work his way from eighth-place past drivers like Brad Sweet, Shane Stewart, David Gravel and Schatz for the lead.
Rain was also a hinderance. Seven laps of the 35-lap feature were completed Friday night before rain fell, postponing the race until early Saturday evening – leaving 28 laps to go. Before the rain fell, Gravel had taken the lead and Haudenschild had moved his way to seventh.
“Starting seventh (when the race restarted) I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” Haudenschild said. “I had Brad, Donny, Gravel and the five-car up there. It definitely wasn’t easy pickings to get up there. Luckily, I made a couple of passes on the bottom in (turns) one and two while it was still good, and I think I moved up at the right time.
“We’ve had a little bit of a down period. So, to get a win for them (Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing team), and myself is huge.”
When the feature went back green early Saturday evening, Schatz launched by Gravel for the lead and never looked back. Pulling away from the field he looked poised to claim his fourth win of the season. However, a fast Haudenschild charged his way through the field and eventually worked his way around Schatz on the high side to steal the top spot and lead the final 19 laps.
While Schatz had to settle for second, he made a big gain in the points with Sweet breaking a part during the race and finishing 23rd.
“Wins is what keeps you a job and keep these teams going, keeps them motivated,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D.-native. “So, we wanted to win. Sheldon did a better job. When he got up on the top there in three and four, he’s good at that stuff.”
Rounding out the podium was Kerry Madsen, who used a few late race slide jobs to secure the position.
“Just didn’t get my rhythm until halfway,” Madsen said. “The car came alive and started attacking.”
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$10,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [$5,000]; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$3,000]; 4. 19-Brent Marks [$2,700]; 5. 49X-Tim Shaffer [$2,500]; 6. 5-Shane Stewart [$2,200]; 7. 41-David Gravel [$2,000]; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,800]; 9. 83-Daryn Pittman [$1,600]; 10. 7S-Jason Sides [$1,450]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,300]; 12. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [$1,200]; 13. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,100]; 14. 3-Jac Haudenschild [$1,000]; 15. 9N-Wade Nygaard [$950]; 16. 2-Carson Macedo [$900]; 17. 23-Russel Borland [$850]; 18. 13-Mark Dobmeier [$750]; 19. 29-Hunter Custer [$725]; 20. 18-Ian Madsen [$700]; 21. 21-Brian Brown [$700]; 22. O5-Colin Smith [$700]; 23. 49-Brad Sweet [$700]; 24. 55-Brooke Tatnell [$700]; 25. 14K-Tori Knutson [$700].