SURGING SHARK: Logan Schuchart Tops Final Huset’s High Bank Nationals Prelim, Leads Points Entering
Logan Schuchart has put himself in a position to make Sprint Car history.
Entering this week, the Hanover, PA native didn’t own a top-five finish at Huset’s Speedway. On Thursday night he changed that with a strong fourth. And then on Friday the driver of the Shark Racing #1S turned in a masterful drive to top the final prelim night of the Billion Auto Huset’s High Bank Nationals presented by Menards.
Schuchart slipped around the outside of Spencer Bayston on lap five, fended off a few challenges from Buddy Kofoid, and cruised to his second World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car victory of 2023 and the 37th of his career and pocketed $20,000. That mark gives him sole possession of 19th on the all-time Series win list. Huset’s is now the 21st different track he’s won at in World of Outlaws competition.But the larger picture is the more important one for Schuchart and his Shark Racing crew. The back-to-back effective prelim outings positioned them atop the points heading into Saturday’s finale where a $250,000 payday – the largest in World of Outlaws history – awaits the winner. He’s guaranteed a spot in the King of the Hill that will line up the front four rows of the Feature. The Pennsylvania team that joined the World of Outlaws tour in 2014 with an uncertain future ahead now has a chance at the biggest paycheck in the World of Outlaws’ more than 45 years of history.
“Happy we were able to hold on. $20,000 is a lot of money, but we’re focused on $250,000 tomorrow,” Schuchart said. “I feel like I roll this racetrack really good right now when everything is right. I feel like we have as good of a shot as anybody. For any big race, it feels good to roll into with confidence.”
Schuchart began the 35-lap main event next to pole-sitter Spencer Bayston. When the green lights flashed, Bayston was able to slide ahead for the early advantage. But Schuchart didn’t let him get far away.
Bayston worked the bottom line aboard his CJB Motorsports #5 while Schuchart explored the high line. Almost immediately, Schuchart began to close in. The 30-year-old ripped around the cushion and moved in on Bayston’s tail tank. On the fifth circuit, Schuchart found the run he needed to power into the lead.
For Schuchart, he actually felt that not getting the lead on the initial start was beneficial to knowing where he needed to be on the track and moving into the top spot.
“There in the beginning I was kind of happy to not get the lead there at the start,” Schuchart explained. “I wanted to see how the racetrack was moving around for a little bit. Then once we got to the top, I could kind of gauge how I wanted to do my starts, and once we got going, I could get to the top and start making momentum.”
After putting himself atop the points with Friday’s win, Logan Schuchart is focused on Saturday’s massive $250,000 prize (Trent Gower Photo)
Once Schuchart snagged the lead, he pulled ahead while behind him, Buddy Kofoid rolled into the runner-up spot by Bayston.
As the laps clicked away, Kofoid stayed roughly a second behind Schuchart within striking distance. When Schuchart would clear a lapped car, Kofoid would follow suit. Each time there was restart, Kofoid didn’t let Schuchart get too far ahead.
One last stoppage in the race set up a three-lap dash to the finish, and Schuchart saved perhaps his best restart for last. He roared away from Kofoid and drove with a comfortable advantage to the checkered flag for the win and the High Bank Nationals points lead.
“Yeah, it’s huge,” Schuchart said of being atop the standings. “It’s big. We want to be able to be there at the end of the night, put ourselves in position. If you’re starting 10th or 15th or wherever it’s going to be tough, but we have a great shot.”
For the second straight night, Buddy Kofoid wound up on the podium with Roth Motorsports. The Penngrove, CA native improved his finish from Thursday by a spot to claim the runner-up position for his sixth World of Outlaws top-three of the season. Only one spot on the podium remains for Kofoid to stand on this week. And if he can do it, he’ll be $250,000 richer.
“Dennis and Teresa Roth gave me a really good opportunity to drive such a prestigious car,” a grateful Kofoid said. “I feel pretty good about my odds. We were third yesterday, second today, and I hope we can be one better tomorrow.”
Rounding out the podium was the race’s pole-sitter – Spencer Bayston. It marked the Lebanon, IN native’s second podium of the year aboard the CJB #5. His efforts through the week have landed him fourth in points, and he’s entirely focused on the major prize that awaits on Saturday.
“We had, really, two good first nights,” Bayston said. “And coming here tonight it’s one of those to see if we can pick up on a few little things and improve and we certainly did that. We should be sitting really good for points. There’s a lot on the line tomorrow, so I felt like we made a really good gain tonight the Heat Race with our balance and my feel and then again in the Feature.”
A run from 24th to eighth earned Tyler Courtney his third KSE Racing Hard Charger of 2023.
Sheldon Haudenschild began the night by earning his second Simpson Performance Products QuickTime Award of the season and the 27th of his career.
CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One went to Ryan Timms (first Heat Race win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heats Two through Six were topped by Spencer Bayston (16th of career), Tim Estenson (first of career), Jacob Allen (56th of career), Sam Hafertepe Jr. (50th of career), and Gio Scelzi (29th of career).
Donny Schatz won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.
UP NEXT: History will be made as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars will race for $250,000 on the final night of the Huset’s High Bank Nationals on Saturday, June 24. For tickets, CLICK HERE.