Sprint Car Hall of Famer and 1990 Knoxville Nationals champion Bobby Allen doesn’t believe in “good luck.” Only good circumstances.
It’s the mentality he used to build Shark Racing from the ground up and saw again firsthand Wednesday and Thursday at Knoxville Raceway during the 61st NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s as both team cars parked in Victory Lane.
Allen’s grandson, Logan Schuchart, won Wednesday’s preliminary race, holding off 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car champion Donny Schatz for the score. Then his son, Jacob Allen, won Thursday night, holding off three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet.
“Everyone always says good luck,” Bobby Allen said. “And luck, you make your own luck. It’s called good circumstances. And that’s what it was. That racetrack last night was almost like what it was when I won Knoxville. I knew Jacob had a good shot at running the bottom. That’s where he’s usually better. Then the track was good. It had a middle, it had a top, and he made the right moves at the right time to win the race against Sweet, as Logan did the night before with Schatz. That move he made to pass the lap car… And last night, I thought Sweet was going to get Jacob. All the sudden he moved and, son of a gun, Sweet sat for second and that’s all it took.”
Schuchart and Jacob have built themselves into weekly contenders on the World of Outlaws tour over the last seven years after being told “they would never make it” in the early years. While Schuchart’s 2022 season hasn’t gone as years past, with only one Series win, he’s found momentum at Knoxville, winning the Capitani Classic and Wednesday’s preliminary. And Jacob is having a career year, securing a career-high three Series wins, so far. His victory Thursday night – while not an official World of Outlaws victory – was his first at the Sprint Car Capital of the World and locked him into Saturday’s $175,000-to-win main event.
“This is pretty bad ass,” Jacob said in Victory Lane. “What else can you really say? I mean, I had to hold off Brad Sweet, who is a champion, and I’m just so blessed, so thankful. I mean, so bad ass, Knoxville Raceway victory is just, it tops it all, man. Let’s go!”
In years past, when Allen struggled to find success on the World of Outlaws tour, there were times he considered quitting, telling his father he didn’t think he was cut out for it.
“I said, ‘Jacob, you have speed. You just need to get to the next level. The next thing and do whatever. It just takes time,’” Bobby said.
“Jacob is one of the most high/low persons. When things are going bad, ‘I can’t do this deal.’ When things are going good like that, he’s up there high. So, deep down inside, he’s actually getting more confidence and doing better. Right now, he’s not quitting for a while.”
Jacob ran a throwback paint scheme in honor of his dad at last year’s Nationals and then made it his primary scheme on his Pells Tire Service/Low-E Insulation #1A this year. To Bobby, “it’s neat,” he said, more focused on just seeing the car win. But to Jacob, it’s home.
“It looks like the shop to me,” Jacob said. “It makes me think of the shop. My shop, my dad’s shop, it’s nothing special. It’s a pretty rough little shop. It’s from the ‘50s. It’s not been the most well-kept place in the world and all that kind of stuff. It just looks like where I come from, and I take pride in that. I do think that gives me a little bit of something. I don’t know what you want to call that. But that gives me a sense of home.”
While he can sleep stress free tonight, knowing he’s in the Knoxville Nationals main event, Schuchart has a little more work to do. His points total has him placed in Saturday’s B-Main. He’ll have the chance to also race his way in Friday night during the FVP Hard Knox event with his DuraMAX Oil/Drydene Performance Products #1S.
“I feel like we have a good shot at it if we put ourselves in position to race for it,” Schuchart said.
No matter the outcome, Bobby Allen is proud to see the progress his team has made in the last seven years, knowing they’re not rely on “good luck.” Only taking advantage of good circumstances.
“Naturally, I’m really proud of them,” Allen said. “I’m really proud how we’ve built a team. Grown every year. I try to teach them something different every year. In fact, I’ve taught them so much, if I try to teach them anymore, they tell me now. But what I found is if I put an idea in their head maybe a race or two later, they might try it.
“I’m very proud of them. I sit back and watch them all work. The mechanics, the drivers, the whole deal, because one day I won’t be here. So, I’m trying to train them to be able to do this without me. And they’re doing part it now without me. I’m very, very proud of them. Logan, winning those two races and Jacob winning [Thursday night]. Man, what more can you ask for?”
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