CONCORD, N.C. – Jacob Allen’s passion for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series wasn’t just on display Sunday night during the World of Outlaws Awards.
It’s been on display for the entirety of Allen’s six-year Outlaw tenure with Shark Racing.
Allen has dug deep and persevered in the face of adversity time and time again, even as bad luck, mechanical failures and other maladies plagued him repeatedly and continued to rip a long-awaited first World of Outlaws victory from his grasp.
That drive and never-give-up attitude was both recognized and rewarded during the Outlaws’ season-ending awards banquet Sunday night, when Allen was named the inaugural recipient of series sponsor NOS Energy Drink’s new Human Horsepower Award.
The $2,500 award recognizes the heart, passion, grit and dedication to the sport that it takes to compete on the World of Outlaws tour over the course of a season, and will be awarded annually to a driver who best exemplifies those characteristics.
“No one on the World of Outlaws tour can do their job without sacrifices, a whole lot of passion and a love for dirt. All of us at NOS appreciate that and acknowledge that,” said NOS Energy Drink Marketing Director Lauren Albano. “This year’s recipient, Jacob Allen, defines what it means to have passion and unwavering ambition. He has come close so many times, and even after heartbreak, comes back to the track with a smile on his faces.
“He’s a true racer and we’re proud to have him as the inaugural Human Horsepower Award recipient.”
Allen’s perseverance was tested numerous times throughout the season, not just through issues that he battled with his new motorhome, but also on-track in his quest for a breakthrough win.
It looked like the elusive win would finally come during the NOS Energy Drink Showdown at Stockton Dirt Track in September, but an ignition box issue coming to two laps to go took the victory out of Allen’s hands and gave it to his teammate, Logan Schuchart.
Still, Allen kept pushing, en route to a hard-earned and heart-driven 12th-place finish in points.
Sunday night, that big heart was overflowing as Allen took in the cheers of his peers and soaked in the moment.
“I’m thankful. I’m very thankful,” Allen noted. “To receive an award like this is very humbling. All the people I race against have made me better, and for this being my sixth year on the Outlaw tour, I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot. … I was 19 when this all started, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just did it because that’s what we did as a family and as a team.
“Six years later, I’m so proud to be here, to accept an award and a check like this,” Allen added. “I may not have an Outlaw win, but I’ll take a nice big check!”
Later on, during his points acceptance speech, Allen spoke to the dedication of his family, particularly his father Bobby, who brought Shark Racing on the road back in 2013.
“I may come off as a positive guy, but nine months of traveling and racing and having expectations like winning your first Outlaw race … that’s tough and I’ve been down and wanted to give up multiple times,” Allen admitted. “But when I sit down and think about all this and I think about my six years of being on the road with everybody, I could never give up on this. It has created a very good life for me and the people I’m surrounded by.
“My dad is the one that puts us in this position, and I probably yell at him more than I should, but I’ve got a 75-year-old dad up here and I’m this young guy … and he’s passionate about wanting me to perform well just like I’m passionate about wanting to run well for myself,” Allen continued. “At the end of the day, I’m really thankful for this and I love what I do in this sport. I won’t ever leave my dad where that’s concerned.
“As long as he’s around and dedicated, you’re going to find me too.”
It’s that dedication that will propel Allen into 2020, when he returns to the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series in hopes of bettering his season numbers.