How Shark Racing Went from Scrappy Underdog to Outlaws Points Leader

Story published on and shared on this sight with permission: – June 5, 2020
By Matt Weaver

Before anything else was possible, Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen needed to pay their dues in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. Upon accomplishing that goal, everything else could follow.

As it turns out, the rest is happening ahead of schedule.

Schuchart enters the ninth race of the 2020 season, his seventh as a full-timer, as the World of Outlaws championship leader—12 points ahead of defending champion Brad Sweet and 28 over 10-time champion Donny Schatz.

And while the accomplishment is impactful by itself, it’s even more noteworthy when considering he is doing so with a Drydene Shark Racing team comprised almost entirely of his famous racing family.

Schuchart, 27, is the grandson of Bobby “Scruffy” Allen, one of the discipline’s original true outlaws. Jacob, 25, is Scruffy’s youngest son. Their engines are built and maintained by Michael Newman, Scruffy’s nephew.

Bobby Allen, of course, is the 1990 Knoxville Nationals winner and one of the most decorated and admired Sprint Car personalities.

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Now, Schuchart and the younger Allen are starting to meet the expectations of that legacy—a level that not everyone believed was possible.

Allen remembers wrapping up their first California swing in 2014 and being approached by crew members from Kasey Kahne Racing. They told Allen they had placed money that the Shark Racing boys would load up and return home to Pennsylvania without having finished the two-month stretch.

It wasn’t the most graceful of performances, but they made it.

So, it spoke volumes that when Allen flipped on the first night of racing last month at the Lake Ozark Speedway those same KKR crew members were feverishly laboring in the work area to repair his damaged car.

This wasn’t the first time it had happened, either. Respect had been earned.

“I don’t know the exact moment it happened, but I think people admired that we kept coming back no matter what obstacles were placed in front of us,” Allen said. “We’d flip or have mechanical problems and we would always come right back.

“We’d get hit and we would get right back up. Get hit. Get back up. Get hit. Get back up.

“That came from my dad. You can’t teach that kind of thing. You have to have a certain degree of heart, faith and belief to keep getting back up in those shitty circumstances. My dad has that. Logan has that. I have it. When all three of you have it, it creates something special.”

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It’s certainly been a special season thus far for Schuchart with finishes of second, fifth, first, third, third, third, fourth, first and sixth.

For longtime followers of the tour, that’s a Summertime Schatz-like pace. It’s also a far cry from the Schuchart who went out to California in 2014 and finished outside the top 10 on four different occasions and even missed two features— albeit with a second place at Tulare.

Unlike Allen, who only started racing full time once he joined the Outlaws, Schuchart had a much more robust pedigree before his first season.

In his early teenage years, Schuchart raced 358 Sprint Cars at several Pennsylvania tracks. He is the youngest driver to ever win the Lincoln Speedway 348 track championship. In 2012, his first year behind the wheel of a 410 Sprint Car, he was voted the National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

It was never the lack of pedigree, but rather experience and additional funding.

“We’ve just continued to put in the work,” Schuchart said. “It’s been about continuing to run well at the places we’ve always raced well at, while also getting better at the places that used to kick our teeth in.

“Everyone has worked hard. My grandfather is tireless. He works so hard to show Jacob and I the ropes. He’s on the phone with Michael Newman five times a day. Tyler Barber has been with us for three years. Ben Whitman, Ron Helmick. Everyone is just working really well together, and that hard work is starting pay off.”

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It’s something of a family tradition for Shark Racing to get the most out of its equipment.

The elder Allen earned the Scruffy nickname for both his outward appearance and also the blue-collar work ethic that accompanied it.

Even at 76 years old, he still drives the team’s hauler across the country and can often be found wrenching on the car alongside his boys. Since taking the team full-time Outlaws racing in 2014, this is the first year that Scruffy feels like his son and grandson have everything they need to contend for wins and a championship.

The latest step can be traced to a national sponsorship commitment from Drydene Performance Products. That agreement was first consummated in 2018 and expanded into a full-time naming rights agreement the following season.

The sponsorship has allowed the blue collar team the means to continually update its parts and pieces, while also providing Newman the ability to provide greater engine inventory and flexibility.

Before connecting with Drydene, Bobby Allen had his boys racing on a shoestring budget, at least in comparison to the powerhouse teams of national Sprint Car competition.

Shark Racing was getting by, but it wasn’t a sustainable model.


“Jacob is two years behind Logan, but now they’re both right there in front. I thought Logan would be a dark horse to win the championship and would have been really proud for Jacob to finish sixth to eighth. But now Logan is right there, and Jacob has been right there with him the past couple of weeks, except for the crash and the broken axle.

“We’ve got a long year, and we’re not counting our chickens before they hatch, but we’re actually ahead of where I thought we might be.”

World of Outlaws television analyst and 1980s perennial championship contender Brad Doty believes Schuchart has always been an exceptional talent and simply needed his equipment and experience to match the latent skillset.

“I can say I tore up a lot of stuff when I first started because young drivers just think you mash the pedal and that’s how you win races,” Doty said. “Doug Wolfgang told me that every good driver has a crashing spell. I told him that I had crashed so much that I should be a great driver someday!

“Logan never had that phase. He always seems to reach the line, but he’s never crossed it. He’s so mature and gets everything out of that race car. He’s smooth, has the right feel for every kind of racetrack and has always done a good job.

“He knew that if he crashed a lot, that meant he was going to have to sit out a couple of weeks, and that’s served him well now that he has more resources.”

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Doty also believes the likelihood of a pandemic-shortened season could actually benefit both Schuchart and Shark Racing this season.

“As long as they can maintain their engine program, I believe they can run inside the top five all year,” Doty added. “There’s a lot of luck involved in all kinds of racing. When you run a 90-race schedule, you need luck.

“Steve Kinser would admit it, nights that he had a tire go flat in victory lane, or just having one less bad break than the other guy. With the shorter abbreviated schedule, there are less mulligans and they’re racing from an advantage right now. Every race is going to matter more, and they’re already ahead.

“With a team like Bobby’s, I think the shorter schedule will be easier on their engine program and will help them keep up with teams that have been here the past couple of years.”

No matter what happens the rest of the season, Schuchart just wants to continue building Shark Racing. It’s not enough to contend for the championship or even win it. It’s about improving on whatever the end result is and become even better than that.

“We want the people that are here to stay here,” Schuchart said. “We want to continue pursuing championships. We don’t want to lose sight of where we came from. That’s our goal and that’s what we want to continue to do.”