Lance Dewease stood to one side and Greg Hodnett the other. In the middle, an elated Jacob Allen.
The 22-year-old, from Hanover, PA, had finally scored his first 410 Sprint Car victory, standing tallest on the podium against the two Pennsylvania legends at the then Susquehanna Speedway.
It’s a seven-year-old memory for the now World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series veteran. In that time, the track changed its configuration and its name – now BAPS Motor Speedway. But when the Series returns to the track for the first time in 31 years on Wednesday, July 19, that memory will still be as vivid as it was in 2016.
“The most memorable thing that stands out to me is I won the race and Lance (Dewease) ran second and Greg Hodnett ran third, so it was pretty cool to beat those guys for my first 410 win,” Allen said. “I look back at my time then in my racing career and didn’t really know what I was doing at all. I was probably just racing off an instinct and a prayer, I guess. I’m just thankful I was able to accomplish that. You race a long World of Outlaws season and not win any races and battle adversity during a whole World of Outlaws season… it was good. It was a boost of confidence and something to be proud of as well.”
Since then, Allen has amassed five World of Outlaws victories, including the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway last year, and won a preliminary night during the Knoxville Nationals.
He’s also one of few World of Outlaws drivers with laps around the latest edition of BAPS Motor Speedway, having finished eighth during the Capitol Renegade Showdown in 2021.
Allen acknowledged he doesn’t have near the laps as the Pennsylvania locals around the 4/10-mile track to have any kind of edge up for the World of Outlaws Bricker’s Bash. But, against his fellow World of Outlaws competition, he said there is a sense of an advantage.
So far this season, Allen has earned four top five finishes and 14 top 10 finishes with the World of Outlaws. While on paper it may not look as good as his four-win season in 2022, to Allen there’s no immediate concern.
“Comparing it to last year I wouldn’t say it is great on that scale, but I’m not thinking about that,” he said. “You have a big change with tires. A completely new tire program. So, that is definitely a change and the set ups have changed with that. That’s been a big learning curve for sure.
“But I’m having fun racing. I feel like my driving is up to par. I feel very confident when I’m in situations starting up near the front. Qualifying hasn’t been as good. But I do feel good out on the racetrack. Racing is a tough thing. My team is a unique team and sometimes, there are different factors you have to deal with. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed the season. But need to keep trying to get wins and make the best out of it.”
His teammate Logan Schuchart scored a million-dollar payday last week at Eldora Speedway, and while Schuchart left with the spoils and glory, Allen said the victory is still felt throughout the entire Shark Racing team.
“It’s a huge deal,” he said. “It doesn’t just go into one night. It’s years of trying to build a race team and all the different things that we’ve gone through as a team and just never giving up. Anything you can think of, we’ve just always kept plugging away at this. The fact that my dad (Hall of Famer Bobby Allen) has never gave up on us and we just keep trying and accomplish big things and believe in ourselves. It’s a huge deal. I’m very proud of Logan. I’m proud of my dad. I’m proud of everyone who has ever been a part of our team. It’s something special that we’ll never forget. It makes a big stamp for our race team forever in Sprint Car history.”
Now, Allen will try to build his own momentous run with a hopeful return to Victory Lane in York Haven. It’ll be a site of fond memories, but also, he hopes, a site of a good time – for drivers and fans.
“I know being from Pennsylvania that BAPS is a place people enjoy going to,” he said. “It’s nice being able to have a different Pennsylvania track on the schedule. I think people will be really excited. I think it is a nice shaped racetrack. I know the fans will come out and it will be a fun event.”
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.