Jacob Allen is on track for one of the best seasons of his career. And you don’t need to look at his statistics to tell.
His smile is brighter. There’s confidence in his stance. And his head no longer hangs low.
That mentality has put the Shark Racing driver, of Hanover, PA, inside the top-five and top-10 on a more consistent basis and in contention on multiple occasions to try and capture his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win this year.
He ended the 2019 season 12th in points with two top-fives, 17 top-10s and 42 laps led. With still half of the 2020 season to go, Allen currently sits ninth in points with four top-fives, nine top-10s and 23 laps led. The highest he’s finished in points, so far, in his career is 11th in 2018.
“I think I just took the off season, the time that we had down and changed some things with myself away from the racetrack,” Allen said. “Just thinking about my attitude during races and how I approach things. I think that has helped. I’ve been working out and eating healthy. Just thinking about life, a lot better and I think that’s made me a lot happier and a better leader to my teammates. I think that’s just been a consistent thing to the entire 2020. It’s been good for the racing.”
This weekend, for the Ironman 55 doubleheader, he returns to the site of his first good run of the year at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. When the Series returned to the 1/3-mile track in May, Allen won his Drydene Heat Race, the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash and led early before fading to fifth in his Drydene #1A. While the result was another missed chance at a win, Allen didn’t hang his head. He stayed positive and excited.
A week later he had a chance to win at Lake Ozark Speedway before flipping in Turn 1. A couple of weeks after that he battled with Carson Macedo and Brad Sweet for the lead at Tri-State Speedway before a lap car spun in front of him. And recently, he had his best run of the year at Lincoln Speedway, leading the first 14 laps and ended up third – his first podium since April of 2019.
Each race, again, saw him inch closer and closer to his first Series win. And like at I-55, he never hung his head at any of the results. They only fueled his winning desire more.
“There’s been good chances to win races for me, but there’s been what people call “bad luck,” Allen said. “I don’t get upset about that. I just look at is as, I’m up front. I work hard at it. I race hard at it and I try to get better each and every night. And eventually it will turn around and it will be great.
“The wins are going to come. When I’m working as hard as I am and as focus as I’ve been, I don’t see where it can’t not happen. I look forward to that day.”
He’ll have two more chances to improve his May run at I-55 this weekend on Fri., Aug. 7 and Sat., Aug. 8 and try to win the Ironman 55 like his teammate Logan Schuchart did in 2018. A good run there will also help him carry momentum into the historic three-day event at Knoxville Raceway on Aug. 13-15. But no matter the outcomes, Allen will still keep his bright smile, confident stance and his head held high.
“I know I haven’t won an Outlaw race, but as far as this year I feel so good physically and mentally,” Allen said. “I prepare really hard for these races.
“It will get better. I’m happy and I’m having fun. That’s all that matters.”
If you can’t make it to the track, you can still watch all of the action live on DIRTVision.