MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Sheldon Haudenschild received the checkered flag and a handshake from Williams Grove Speedway‘s Hall of Fame track announcer Bruce Ellis on Friday night.
He dominated the night, setting quick time to lead all 25 laps for his sixth World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series win of the year on night one of the Summer Nationals. More meaningfully, it stood as his first victory at Williams Grove Speedway, and the exchange with Ellis channeled a beaming smile and a story.
“I meant to tell you, I found an old checkered flag you gave my dad from when he won here,” Haudenschild said as Ellis handed him the flag. “That thing was old. … It‘s good to get my own.”
Jac Haudenschild is a two-time winner at the historic speedway, but anyone who‘s followed his legendary career knows his impact in sprint car racing. This year, son Sheldon Haudenschild is accruing accomplishments like his popular father and furthering his story as a touring frontrunner.
The win Friday now gives him wins at historic venues Knoxville Raceway and Eldora Speedway, tokens Haudenchild added to his credit earlier this year. His first Williams Grove win was a 2.034-second win over the track‘s all-time wins leader, Lance Dewease, too.
“It‘s a big win,” Haudenschild said. “To have [Dewease] run second is even better. Yeah, just a good feeling to win here. It‘s tough.”
“It‘s a good feeling to get three wins [at Eldora, Knoxville, and Williams Grove],” he added. “Now we just have to get an Outlaw win at Knoxville.”
Coming off a well-received runner-up finish at the 37th Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway last weekend, Haudenschild transmitted that speed from the outset on Friday. He smashed the field in qualifying with a lap of 17.104 seconds, .160 seconds better than Chad Trout in second and nearly three tenths faster than the next highest Outlaw, Donny Schatz.
Schatz got the best of Haudenschild in the first heat but Haudenschild fired back to win the dash from the pole. That‘s all he needed to polish off his rewarding night.
“It‘s tough to win outside the top eight here, so you have to get in that dash. To pull a good number in the dash means a lot, and just make solid laps.”
It appeared at least one Pennsylvania Posse driver would challenge Haudenschild, but that wasn‘t the case. Trout, who timed second and started second in the dash, only logged nine laps in the feature.
Anthony Macri started second in the main event but nothing good came thereafter. He fell to fifth on the start and then got caught up in a wreck with TJ Stutts on lap six. Stutts was the third-highest Posse qualifier on Friday, but flipped out of the feature.
That left Dewease doing the heavy lifting from the 17th starting position.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Famer missed badly in qualifying, timing 21st of 36 overall, and could only get to fourth in his heat. That buried him in the starting order but it only took Dewease six laps to crack the top 10.
Dewease entered the top-three with three laps to go but by then Haudenschild was well ahead.
“That‘s about as bad as we‘ve timed in a long time,” Dewease said. “Driver didn‘t do a very good job. The car was no good. … But we don‘t give up. We kept plugging away. The car was nice in the feature. We could move around nad pass some guys. We rolled around the bottom pretty nice as we normally can here. We could actually run the middle pretty nice there too. All in all I was really happy with it in the feature.”
The race went nonstop after the red flag for Stutts on lap six. Once Haudenschild‘s lead eclipsed 1.5 seconds, it never lessened, not even in lapped traffic, a curveball for the leader at Williams Grove since it takes away clean air.
Haudenschild, though, never slowed around his hallmark line, the top.
“I knew they would be trying the bottom in turns three and four with how curbed up it was. I knew it would be hard to throw sliders down there because you don‘t want to slide to that curb and get tight. I tried the bottom and felt pretty good down there but I just stayed committed to the top to get by them.”
“I never count the No. 69K. You can‘t screw up. You just have to be perfect.”
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$10,000]; 2. 69K-Lance Dewease [$5,500]; 3. 9-James McFadden [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,600]; 5. 19-Brent Marks [$2,350]; 6. 2-David Gravel [$2,150]; 7. 41-Carson Macedo [$2,100]; 8. 49-Brad Sweet [$1,950]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,900]; 10. 48-Danny Dietrich [$1,850]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,400]; 12. 51-Freddie Rahmer [$1,200]; 13. 27-Devon Borden [$1,000]; 14. 39M-Anthony Macri [$950]; 15. 1A-Jacob Allen [$900]; 16. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$900]; 17. 99M-Kyle Moody [$]; 18. 27S-Alan Krimes [$900]; 19. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$900]; 20. 45-Jeff Halligan [$900]; 21. 83-Aaron Reutzel [$900]; 22. 5C-Dylan Cisney [$900]; 23. 44-Dylan Norris [$]; 24. 1X-Chad Trout [$900]; 25. 11-TJ Stutts [$900]; 26. 2C-Wayne Johnson [$900].