FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: Schuchart Wins Outlaw Feature at Cedar Lake

Logan Schuchart isn’t afraid to admit the 2024 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car season hasn’t gone to plan.

Schuchart and the Shark Racing crew entered their 11th year with championship aspirations. After a six-win 2023 season, there was reason to hope.

But the first 30 races of the didn’t work out in their favor. Despite showing speed on several nights, the Hanover, PA native had not a win or a podium to show for it. The campaign hit a really low point two weeks ago at Knoxville when Schuchart wound up wrecked with a DNF after battling for a win.

But then it all turned around on Saturday night at Cedar Lake Speedway.

The Hanover, PA native simply refused to lose at the track where he earned his first career win with The Greatest Show on Dirt back in 2016. He started on the pole of the 30-lap finale, held off the season’s two winningest drivers in David Gravel and Sheldon Haudenschild, and took the Shark No. 1S to Victory Lane for the first time in 2024. After suffering through the struggles to start the year, the relief that the victory brought reminded him of that special night eight years ago.

“It almost feels like the very first one just with another eight years in between,” an ecstatic Schuchart said. “This stuff is tough. These guys are so good out here. The smallest things can make or break your night. It feels really good, for sure. It’s been a struggle. It’s been frustrating at times. I can say that I’ve got an amazing team with guys that stick by me and work their butts off no matter the outcome each week and are doing their best job to make us better. Huge thanks to my guys Lonnie Judy, Brendan Collum, Bill Klingbeil, my grandfather.”

The victory ends a 45-race winless streak for Schuchart dating back to September 4, 2023 at Elma, WA’s Grays Harbor Raceway. He’s now at nine consecutive seasons of topping at least one World of Outlaws race. The 42nd win of his career equals him with Andy Hillenburg for 18th on the all-time win list. Cedar Lake also became the 11th track in which he’s won at on multiple occasions.

The box score may show Schuchart led every lap, but it was far from a walk in the park. He lined up on the pole for the 30-lapper with three of the current best in the game – David GravelSheldon Haudenschild, and Carson Macedo – starting in spots two through four. The trio behind him owned a combined 18 wins this year entering the night.

Schuchart darted ahead on the opening start as Haudenschild quickly stole second from Gravel. But the roles were reversed on an early restart with 26 laps to go as Gravel reclaimed second from Haudenschild. The point leader then set his sights on Schuchart and fired a slider attempt that didn’t quite clear him.

Logan Schuchart races just ahead of Sheldon Haudenschild at Cedar Lake
Logan Schuchart was forced to hold off one of the year’s hottest driver in Sheldon Haudenschild to get his first win of 2024 (Trent Gower Photo)

Schuchart pulled ahead as the battle for second again warmed up between Gravel and Haudenschild. After a few laps of jockeying that saw Gravel pull a massive wheelie down the entire front straightaway, Haudenschild took the position back. It didn’t take long for Haudenschild to run down Schuchart in traffic, but right as a battle looked to be brewing the red flag flew when Scott Winters flipped in Turn 2 with 12 laps to go.

The green flag brought the action back to life, and Schuchart again stretched his lead as Haudenschild and Gravel resumed their battle. A spinning Christopher Thram brought the yellow out quickly and necessitated a single-file restart.

The clean air on the restart allowed Schuchart to put some significant space between himself and Haudenschild as the race dipped inside 10 laps to go. The driver of the NOS Energy Drink No. 17 began to reel him back in as traffic became more of a factor and pulled within seventh tenths of a second with five laps to go.

But the Shark Racing machine proved to be too strong as Schuchart made some determined moves around lappers and went on to win by more than three seconds.

“I think the No. 2 car (Gravel) is obviously the fastest car out here this year,” Schuchart said. “And the two crew chiefs (Cody Jacobs and Kyle Ripper) are buddies, so I’m sure they’re sharing information. And Sheldon is always gassing it up, and I would expect him to be fast on this type of track. They’re a great group of guys. They’re always going to be fast. When they’re behind you, it’s going to be tough. We just wanted to make sure we got through lapped traffic at the right time.”