ROSSBURG, Ohio – All eyes may have been on Kyle Larson Tuesday night during the opening act of the Governors Reign sprint car event at Eldora Speedway, but Shark Racing flipped the script in the feature.
Continuing to showcase the speed that has kept Logan Schuchart firmly in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series title chase, as well as helped Jacob Allen to his first World of Outlaws victory two weeks ago, the Hanover, Pa., based team turned plenty of heads during the 30-lap feature at the half-mile dirt track.
After both Schuchart and Allen failed to transfer through their respective heat races, they both raced into the feature through the B-main, finishing second and third in that 12-lap contest.
From there, the duo put on a show, starting 22nd and 23rd and roaring through the field.
Schuchart climbed 18 positions to finish fourth in the Governors Reign preliminary feature with his familiar No. 1s, while Allen moved forward 17 spots en route to a sixth-place finish in the No. 1a.
The effort gave Schuchart KSE Hard Charger honors for the night, with Allen passing the second-most cars during the All Star Circuit of Champions-sanctioned event.
Combined, Schuchart and Allen’s performances are further proof that Shark Racing has come into its own in 2020.
Schuchart sits eight points back of Brad Sweet in the World of Outlaws title fight with 12 races to go, while Allen was victorious at Dodge City Raceway Park on Sept. 11 for his first win in 359 tries.
Who would have thought those storylines would have happened when the team hit the road six years ago?
– Kerry Madsen and Shane Stewart’s podium runs Tuesday served as a reminder that part-time teams are still capable of mixing it up among the All Star and World of Outlaws regulars on big stages.
Madsen never ran worse than third throughout the 30-lap feature, while Stewart rose from outside the top 10 at the start to eventually land on the podium by the end of the night.
“We weren’t very good in the heat at all, but the guys changed some stuff and I had a rocket ship after that,” Madsen said. “We just battled a little stumble to where I couldn’t get a great start, but with two to go I fired one off at Brent and thought I had (the win), but he just turned straight back under me and was gone. It was great to have a shot at it.”
“I felt really good about our night,” added Stewart. “Starting 10th, falling back and then running where we did … I thought our car was really good. I could go top, bottom … I could go a lot of places, honestly. The track’s going to be way different tomorrow; I know it’s going to be a lot slicker, but I felt like we learned a bunch. We were a bit off in the dash, but Brenie (Stuebgen) went to work and made a few changes on the car for the A-main that made a big difference.
“Being a part-time team and being competitive every time out is a real joy,” Stewart noted.
– When Larson lined up 17th for night one of the Governors Reign, not only were onlookers surprised, but bets began to be placed on social media for how quickly he’d get to the front.
As it turned out, the Silva Motorsports No. 57 just didn’t have its usual steam Tuesday at Eldora.
Larson was buried during qualifying, a trend that stretches back to his crash during the opening night of the Tuscarora 50 at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway, and could only muster ninth in the A-main.
Since his Port Royal incident on Sept. 10, Larson has timed 11th, 28th, fifth and 10th on half-mile dirt tracks, including Tuesday’s show at Eldora.
It’s a trend he’ll want to clean up if he wants to bank $52,000 in Wednesday’s finale.
– Joey Saldana won his heat race Tuesday night, but he and the Ed Neumeister Racing could not start the main due to motor issues discovered after the heat.
Saldana mustered a smile afterward in the pit area, but his disappointment was clearly visible.
“We did everything right,” Saldana noted. “We put as much fuel as you could in it, and … I don’t know (what happened). It just got one of the cylinders and burnt a piston up. Every time we run this No. 12n, it’s really, really fast. What happened to us could happen to anyone, with the way the track was and the way the weather is. When you’re going to run that fast, stuff can happen.
“The problem is, we’re not prepared like 95 percent of these other teams. We do this five times a year. They have more motors, but their engine shop is in Plain City, Ohio, so we’ll get another one and try again Wednesday night.”
– Tyler Courtney was the only one of the three drivers who earned fan-vote selections into the Governors Reign field to make the preliminary feature.
Courtney transferred in through the B-main, the last driver to make the show with a fourth-place run, and went on to an 18th-place finish after 30 laps around the half mile.