ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. — It's the race that's talked about and probably most anticipated throughout the entire season. Everyone vying for that Knoxville Nationals title and a for a spot in the 'Avenue of Champions.'
Shark Racing out of Hanover will bring home a bunch of hardware and probably, collectively, their best week as a team. Their successful week began last Sunday at the Capitani Classic.
Logan Schuchart, the lone shark racing the Capitani, started outside on the front row. He quick took the lead away from Western Pa's Sye Lynch but it’s not smooth sailing for Schuchart. The 10-time World of Outaws champ Donny Schatz coming like a bull sees red. The shark was able to pick up his second career win at Knoxville.
Skip to Wednesday night, the first preliminary night to qualify for the 61st Knoxville Nationals. Schuchart started on the pole and once again, was challenged by Schatz. Lap cars in the closing laps helped the shark lead every lap to win back-to-back races at the Sprint Car Capital of the World. Just because he won, doesn't mean he was locked in. Schuchart still had a lot of work ahead as he currently sat 8th in points.
Heading to Thursday, it was Jacob Allen’s time to shine. He picked the right lines to hold off the big cat as Brad Sweet was even with Allen in the final lap. A double shark attack with Shark Racing sweeping the prelim nights. Allen locked himself into the A-Main as Schuchart needed to qualify through the B for the big show.
Rico Abreu won the Hard Knox Friday to set up the 21st through 24th starting spots.
The big day on Saturday, racing from the E to the A, no one made a run through the alphabet soup.
Schuchart has stayed perfect, so far, in features. He once again will win a feature, the B-Main to start 17th in the A-Main.
All in all, it was a great week for the hometown heroes from Hanover. Schuchart swam his way up to the podium, moving up 14 spots to finish 3rd as Allen finished 5th. Other locals, Brent Marks finished 7th, Daryn Pittman in the Heffner Racing #27 rounded out the top ten.
But the story line was a name that was in the mix all week, Donny Schatz was able to pick off David Gravel with 5-laps-left to pick up his 11th, yes I said 11th, Knoxville Nationals title.
Three months left in the season and there's still room for Shark Racing to make some big moves in the points, if the cards continue to be dealt in their favor.
“To win three races as a team, have two cars in the top five and to start deep. We both passed cars to get inside the top five so, very proud of my teammate, proud of my team. At our biggest race of the year, to finish third, for deep, is pretty cool. We learned a lot. One of these years we’re going to get a big Crown Jewel events, but right now, we’re going to stop and smell the roses and be proud of what we accomplished this week," said Schuchart.
They might be proud of what their doing on the track, but off, Schuchart is taking his platform to raise money for something close to his heart. During the Knoxville Nationals, a portion of his proceeds through t-shirts bought will go to Roots for Boots, "the grassroots non-profit whose Mission is to meet the current needs and challenges of our veterans, active duty and military families."
Schuchart's Great Grandfather Joe and his dad Craig Schuchart served in different branches of the military. Schuchart's No. 1S reveled a new drivers suit and crew member shirts, honoring those who put their lives on the line for the red, white and blue.
More on how you can help Schuchart gain money for Roots for Boots can be found here.
Wagaman first career win
In the Pigeon Hill's at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night, once again the handicap put a couple of young drivers up front, looking for their first 410 win.
Robbie Kendall, racing in Westbrook’s 1w, passed Michael Milliard for the lead. But, unfortunate luck for Kendall, while leading with eight laps left – he blows an engine and handed the lead to a fast Troy Wagaman Jr., who was working his way up from starting 10th.
Never count out the #8 of Freddie Rahmer. He was also on the move but from starting 19th.
Wagaman was able to get a good start and hook to the top as Alan Krimes took the bottom. He jumped the cusion in turn four with five laps left. That didn't make too much of a difference as Wagaman, after a handful of top five finishes, he's finally able to pick up his very first 410 win.
“Don’t really know right now, just really excited. Proud of everyone. We’ve really worked hard for this and it’s just a lot of relief. Didn’t think it would happen so, really glad to get it done," said Wagaman.
I’m sure first of many for Wagaman.
With Knoxville taking the spotlight, Williams Grove and Port Royal take the weekend off and that gave a couple of different tracks a chance to host 410 races.
Mark Smith wins at Big Diamond on Friday night while Billy Dietrich traveled up to Clinton County to pick up his first win on the season.
Tj stutts hopes of eating his way through is over when the rear breaks in in the e-main
Kyle reinhardt wins the c-main
But in the b… logan schuchart wins the b to hopefully make a charge through the field