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RIGHT AT HOME: Sheldon Haudenschild Rips the Eldora Cushion to Victory on Home Turf

Sheldon Haudenschild celebrates Eldora win with a wing dance
The Wooster, OH native eclipses his 2023 win total with fourth victory of 2024 (Trent Gower Photo)

Sheldon Haudenschild was right at home in more ways than one on Friday night at Eldora Speedway.

First, he was literally on home turf as the Rossburg, OH oval is only a few hours from his hometown of Wooster, OH. Second, he used the part of the racetrack where he feels right at home to drive to Victory Lane.

Haudenschild started on the pole and drove a masterful 30 laps inches from the intimidating fence at the fast half mile. The 30-year-old sliced his way through traffic and held off multiple challenges from Donny Schatz and Giovanni Scelzi to claim the checkered flag. A proud crowd enthusiastically welcomed one of their own to Victory Lane as Haudenschild climbed atop the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17 and took a celebratory swig of NOS Energy Drink.

Back in 2021 Haudenschild picked up his first Eldora win during #LetsRaceTwo, but he felt that Friday’s triumph validated the prior victory.

“I don’t really ever count first wins,” Haudenschild said. “I feel like they don’t mean much until you back them up. I’ve been really good here in the past. The Kings Royal I ran behind (Kyle) Larson. Even last year I was pretty good here but just haven’t finished the job off. I feel like we just struggled to make a full Feature really smooth, and we did it tonight. I feel like that was a perfect race. A perfect race car. (Kyle) Ripper busts his ass all the time. We were up until two in the morning last night fixing stuff like old times and running on very little sleep. It feels good. Luke (Vaughn), Kinzer (Dussel), everybody has been putting in the work. Can’t ask for much more.”

The fourth win of the season for Haudenschild already elevated his total beyond the three reached in 2023. He’s up to 38 for his career, and Eldora is the eighth track where he’s won multiple times with The Greatest Show on Dirt. It also marked Haudenschild’s fourth victory in his home state of Ohio.

The path to victory required an incredible early effort from Haudenschild before the Feature even started. His Qualifying effort left him starting fifth in a stacked Heat Race. The two rows ahead of him consisted of nothing but star power – Donny Schatz, Giovanni Scelzi, Logan Schuchart, and Michael “Buddy” Kofoid.”

But Haudenschild did what Haudenschild does. He put on a show with a great start to get to third by Lap 3. And then he snatched the final transfer to the Toyota Racing Dash from Scelzi on the final lap of the Heat.

In the Dash, Haudenschild lined up third and drove by David Gravel and Schatz to earn the pole for the 30-lap Feature.

Even though he had the best seat in the house for the green flag of the main event, it would prove to be no easy drive to the winner’s circle. He pulled ahead of David Gravel in the early part of the race, but it wasn’t long before traffic became a factor.

But traffic didn’t seem to phase Haudenschild. While the top was his preferred line, he could move the NOS Energy Drink #17 anywhere necessary to pass cars. At one point he stared down lapped cars racing three-wide ahead and made a daring move to split between two and give himself a little more breathing room from those in pursuit.

Sheldon Haudenschild stands next to his father - Jac Haudenschild
Sheldon Haudenschild delivered an Eldora drive that no doubt made his legendary father, Jac, proud (Trent Gower Photo)

The red flag flew with 11 laps remaining for a flipping Garet Williamson. Under the red, heartbreak struck the runner-up Gravel as his right rear tire went down, forcing him to the Federated Car Care Work Zone for a new one.

On the ensuing restart Schatz blasted from fourth to second and hung right with Haudenschild looking to challenge. Schatz kept the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15 rolling through the middle while Haudenschild never wavered from the top. After nearly pulling alongside Haudenschild multiple times, Schatz began to slip back as the laps faded.

Scelzi ripped by Schatz to take over second on the white flag with Haudenschild within sight, but it was too little, too late as Haudenschild crossed the finish line with half a second advantage to make his home state proud.

“Hats off to this whole NOS Energy Drink team,” Haudenschild said. “All these guys have been putting in the work. Happy to be in this.”

Scelzi brought the KCP Racing #18 home P2 for his fourth podium of the season and first since Arrowhead Speedway a month ago. The Fresno, CA native used the low line to make up most of his ground as he moved forward from ninth but found himself wishing he would’ve moved to the cushion sooner after finding speed there late in the race.

“The motor we put in was incredible,” Scelzi said. “I’m kicking myself because I wish I would’ve moved up a couple laps sooner because I think I would’ve maybe slid Sheldon for the lead. But he did his job in the Heat Race and did a great job all night. I tried to do my best Greg Wilson impression around the bottom for most of the race and gave up on it there with two to go and should’ve done it sooner.”

Rounding out the top three was Donny Schatz. The 10-time Series champion put together a productive night for his sixth podium of the 2024 World of Outlaws campaign.

“I thought we were going to have a chance at them there at the end,” Schatz said. “And then as we went by the end, they’d left us hanging again. Either way it was a decent finish. Started there and finished there. Went back and came back forward again.”

Logan Schuchart and Carson Macedo completed the top five.

After going to a backup car, Logan Schuchart drove from 24th to fourth to earn the KSE Racing Hard Charger.

David Gravel claimed his third Simpson Quick Time of 2024 and the 113th of his career.

NOS Energy Drink Heats One and Three went to David Gravel (251st Heat Race win of career) and Donny Schatz (523rdof career). Milton Hershey Heat Two went to Carson Macedo (120th of career).

Sheldon Haudenschild topped the Toyota Racing Dash.

Logan McCandless won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

After a flat tire derailed a potential challenge for the win and left him with an ninth place finish, David Gravel was awarded the Smith Titanium Brake Systems Break of the Race.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are back at Eldora Speedway on Saturday, May 4 for the #LetsRaceTwo finale. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.

FEATURE RESULTS:

NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps): 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[1]; 2. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[9]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz[3]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[24]; 5. 41-Carson Macedo[4]; 6. 83-Michael Kofoid[14]; 7. 70-Kraig Kinser[11]; 8. 23J-Cale Thomas[7]; 9. 2-David Gravel[2]; 10. 7S-Landon Crawley[6]; 11. 42-Sye Lynch[19]; 12. 27-Emerson Axsom[5]; 13. 101-Kalib Henry[8]; 14. 99-Skylar Gee[10]; 15. 29-Logan McCandless[18]; 16. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[21]; 17. W20-Greg Wilson[20]; 18. 17B-Bill Balog[15]; 19. 55T-McKenna Haase[16]; 20. 5T-Travis Philo[17]; 21. 6-Bill Rose[23]; 22. 15K-Creed Kemenah[22]; 23. 23-Garet Williamson[12]; 24. 21H-Brady Bacon[13]

For full results, CLICK HERE.

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