CONCORD, N.C., May 24 — Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart finished third right behind winner Joey Saldana and runner-up Donny Schatz Friday night in the Circle K/NOS Energy Drink Outlaw Showdown in World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series action at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Schuchart, of Hanover, Pa., started third in the 21-car field and was able to pass Schatz at the start of the 30-lap feature to vault into second place. He ran in second place behind Saldana, the polesitter, for three laps before Schatz got him back working lap four.
Schuchart was able to maintain third the rest of the way despite both a yellow and a red flag with eight laps down. The yellow was for a spin by Kory Crabtree. The red was for a violent flip by Shane Stewart in Turn 4 that also involved Brad Sweet. Stewart was able to get out of his damaged sprint car under his own power.
Saldana led all 30 laps to nip Schatz by just 0.323 of a second at the checkered. Schuchart was 1.111 seconds behind Schatz. Paul McMahan passed Cody Darrah on the last lap to nail down fourth place, 0.872 of a second behind Schuchart.
Schuchart’s teammate, Jacob Allen, also of Hanover, Pa., started 18th and finished 16th. Allen set his fastest lap of the race on lap 17 but Schuchart was fastest on the very first lap with a 15.489, the fourth-fastest lap run by any driver in the race.
Earlier in the evening Schuchart set the third-fastest time in qualifying with a 15.012, which was only 0.134 of a second off the time set by the fastest qualifier, Schatz, who did a 14.878. Allen was 19th-fastest with a 15.891 in the very competitive field.
Allen started seventh in the first heat, an eight-car/eight-lap event. He passed Stewart on the first lap to move into sixth. Stewart got him back on the next lap to push him back to seventh, but he got sixth on the next lap when Dave Blaney had engine problems. He moved into fifth with five laps down when the leader, Steve Kinser, suffered a flat right-rear tire, and he maintained fifth the rest of the way.
Schuchart started fourth in the seven-car, eight-lap third heat. Daryn Pittman passed him on lap two to push him to fifth and he finished in that position, 1.186 seconds behind Pittman and 2.142 seconds ahead of the sixth and final qualifier, Brent Marks. Schuchart’s fastest lap of his heat was a 15.075 on lap seven.
Schuchart started fourth in the eight-car, six-lap dash. He passed the third-place starter, McMahan, on the first lap and finished third to nail down the third starting spot in the feature. Schuchart was 1.764 of a second behind the second-place finisher, Schatz, and 0.633 of a second ahead of the fourth-place finisher, Kraig Kinser, in the dash. His fastest lap of that race was the final one, when he was timed in 15.481 seconds.
Schuchart thanked the Shark Racing crew for their hard work and said they had his car set up to handle the rough, slick track.
“We had a good car,” he said. “I was just trying to find a different line that might work. We’re rookies and we’re learning, but we really want to win. We were running hard. We’ll just keep trying for two spots better.
“The track was kind of rough in spots, but we didn’t have any close calls,” he said. “We were running up near the wall for awhile and I was close to the wall, but I never really hit it or anything.”
He added that having run well at this particular track in the past was a big help.
“We have a pretty good idea of what to expect at some of the tracks where we’ve raced before, but other tracks we’re just learning, trying to get better for next year.”
Schuchart and Allen also thanked the team’s sponsors, which include: Your Auto Source NAPA Autocare Center, Pell’s Tire Service, Marty Thompson, Don Ott Racing Engines, Rich Fogle Custom Pole Buildings, Newman’s Towing & Recovery, CnB Mushroom Farms, Brenneman Painting, Speedway 94, Dirt: The Game, Silpada Jewelry, Lebo Skin Care, DMI, Penske Shocks, ButlerBuilt Seats, Tony Stewart Racing, SR Lubricant Solutions and Mycroleum.
Both Schuchart and Allen are contenders for the series’ Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award presented by ButlerBuilt.
They drive the only Shark chassis in the field.
Their next race is Monday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, Ind., near Cincinnati. The pit gates will open at 2 p.m. with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are set for 6 p.m.
Schuchart said he has competed at Lawrenceburg only one time in the past.
“We didn’t run very well there last year, but I think we’ll be better there this year,” he said.
Free audio coverage of all WoO races is available on Dirtvision.com, as well as pay-per-view coverage of selected events. The series’ Web site is at woosprint.com.
The team, Schuchart and Allen have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and Schuchart has a Web site at Shark1s.com.