ON THE HIGHLIGHT REEL: Logan Schuchart Slips by Haudenschild Late for River Cities Victory

River Cities Speedway is known for delivering thrilling finishes. And the Grand Forks, ND bullring produced yet another one on Friday night.

Sheldon Haudenschild controlled the majority of the 40-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Feature. But a shark fin rose from the water in the final laps as Logan Schuchart closed in. The driver of the Shark Racing #1S snatched the lead coming to two laps to go and drove away from Haudenschild to steal a victory in the Gerdau Presents The 2nd Leg of The Northern Tour.

For Schuchart, who lost in a close finish at River Cities in 2020, the triumph served as a form of redemption.

“Happy we were able to win like that,” Schuchart said. “I watch highlight videos over the winter time. The Outlaws love to show a race here a few years ago where Kyle (Larson) passed us on the last lap, so it feels good to get one kind of like that. Hopefully they add that to their highlight reel.”

Schuchart moved up to four wins this season with The Greatest Show on Dirt. It also put him at 39 for his career as he’s only one away from becoming the 19th driver in Series history to reach 40. Schuchart became the seventh different competitor to own multiple World of Outlaws wins at River Cities as he also topped a 2019 visit.

When the green flag dropped it was Donny Schatz and Sheldon Haudenschild leading the field. An opening lap red flag necessitated a second attempt, and Haudenschild rocketed around the outside to the lead when the race got underway, and Schuchart settled into third behind the lead duo.

During the opening portion of the race the leaders stayed mostly in line as they clicked off the early laps. A restart following a red flag with 26 laps to go gave Schuchart an opportunity at taking a step toward the front, which he took advantage of. As the green lights came back on, Schuchart accelerated perfectly out of Turn 4 and used the momentum to slide Schatz for second. Schatz wasn’t able to counter with a crossover allowing Schuchart to secure the spot.

After taking over runner-up, Schuchart began to stalk the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17. As they crossed the halfway mark, Schuchart wasn’t necessarily gaining on Haudenschild, but he also wasn’t letting him escape. Lapped traffic proved to be more problematic for Schuchart as he preferred the bottom groove where the slower cars were while Haudenschild ripped the top around them.

A late pass propelled Logan Schuchart to his second career River Cities victory (Trent Gower Photo)

“I felt like I could run the bottom pretty good,” Schuchart explained. “I was hoping some lapped cars would kind of slow him down, but lots of times when lapped cars aren’t feeling comfortable they go to the bottom side of the racetrack. So, a lot of lapped cars weren’t really getting in his way. They were just kind of letting him run his line.”

As the race dipped inside 10 laps to go, Schuchart suddenly found the speed he needed. The Hanover, PA native stayed committed to the low line and began to close in on the tail tank of the NOS Energy Drink #17. On Lap 36, Schuchart used a big run off of Turn 2 to show Haudenschild a nose and put him in a defensive mode. Haudenschild responded to switching to the bottom, and that was all Schuchart needed.

Schuchart promptly moved to the top and got a big run coming to the finish line with two laps remaining. The Drydene/Duramax machine squeaked around Haudenschild’s outside to lead the 38th circuit. And with the lead secured, Schuchart never looked back on his way to parking in River Cities Speedway Victory Lane for the second time.

“I just tried to run hard laps. I could get close to him, but I could never really make anything happen,” Schuchart said. “When he kind of went to the bottom there the last few laps I just really got a run on him.”