Schuchart Looking For A Repeat At Hanford
HANFORD, Calif. – In the moment, Logan Schuchart could only focus on the fact that he won a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series race in California for the first time.
That moment came on March 31, 2017 after his remarkable run from the 19th-starting position to victory at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, a result no driver has come close to matching since.
The most recent winner on the World of Outlaws trail returns to Hanford almost two years to the day Friday, when he leads The Greatest Show on Dirt back to Keller Auto Speedway with the goal of parking his Drydene Performance Products/NGK Spark Plugs/Michael Palumbo-backed Shark Racing No. 1s in victory lane again.
“I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was that night,” admitted Schuchart. “I was pumped that we got our first win of the year. A Pennsylvania driver winning an Outlaw feature in California. Those things don’t happen often. Let alone the fact that we started 19th. It was a just one of those special nights. Needless to say, I can’t wait to get back there on Friday night.”
Schuchart, the grandson of sprint car hall of famer Bobby Allen, emulated the man known as Scruffy that night, patiently working the bottom groove of the three-eighths-mile dirt oval to perfection. He picked up position after position, ultimately taking the lead from Ian Madsen coming to the white flag in the 35-lap marathon. It was the 11th race of the 2017 World of Outlaws campaign and Schuchart had shown signs that he was close to picking up his third World of Outlaws victory, but after qualifying 11th and dropping from third to fifth in his heat, the outlook for winning didn’t look all that promising.
“I just watched the race again on DIRTVision yesterday,” said Schuchart, who currently sits fourth in the World of Outlaws standings following his victory at the Stockton Dirt Track on March 15. “We qualified OK, but I ended up having a bad start to the heat and found myself racing as hard as I could just to get fifth. We knew we were going to be deep in the field. It’s one of the great things about racing with the Outlaws. You just have to keep working. We went out there with a plan and I was patient enough to let my car come in and we just kept passing cars. It was a great race. Gave our team a lot of confidence. The season before we won our first race at Cedar Lake in July and then won back home at Port Royal late in the season. We knew we could win. Looking back, man that was one we’ll always remember.”
There have been 148 World of Outlaws A-Mains since Schuchart’s victory in Hanford and only once has a driver started outside the top-10 and came home victorious. Donny Schatz raced from 12th to win at Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, Ariz., early last season, the same race where Schuchart charged from 16th to third, indicating just how impressive his drive from the 19th-to-first was.
In those same 148 races, 45 have been won from the pole and in exactly half (74) the winner has started on the front row.
It was the deepest win during a World of Outlaws A-Main since Schatz raced from 21st to win the 2013 Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals, but Fred Rahmer’s run from 24th to first on May 14, 2010 at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., remains the benchmark.
“I remember Fred winning that night at the Grove, it was a pretty crazy race,” said Schuchart. “The only experience I had that comes close was in 2011 at Lincoln Speedway. I was driving a 358 and we started last, 22nd I think, and passed Pat Canon on the last lap to win. All the way from the back with only one caution. That was a really big deal for us. Doing what we did a couple years ago at Hanford that was an Outlaw show. Those are extremely difficult races to win and to do it in California where not a lot guys from back home have won before. Just crazy to think about. Hopefully, we don’t have to try and come from that deep again Friday.”
Schuchart returns to Hanford with plenty of momentum despite dealing with several early season rainouts. The Drydene Performance Products-backed driver picked up his second California World of Outlaws triumph in Stockton by rough riding his way to victory from the pole on a treacherous surface. He became the sixth different winner in the previous six races.
Only World of Outlaws points leader Daryn Pittman, winner of the first two races at Volusia Speedway Park to start the year, has more than one victory. With the win, Schuchart is now tied with sprint car legends Keith Kauffman, Brent Kaeding and Kenny Jacobs with nine career World of Outlaws triumphs.
“It’s been a dream of mine to race with the World of Outlaws,” continued Schuchart. “My grandpa had a dream and vision for making this happen. We are in our sixth season out here with the World of Outlaws and so many people have made it possible. I can’t thank everyone enough for all the help and support. We just want to keep working hard and winning races. Stockton was cool to have an all Shark Racing front row. A couple of Drydene sponsored cars leading the field to the green flag. I’m hoping that happens quite a bit more. We are the best we’ve ever been prepared to compete with the Outlaws and now it’s up to us to keep putting up the wins. However we have to. From first. From 19th. It doesn’t matter. Every time you win an Outlaw race you know you’ve beaten the best.”