KNOXVILLE, Iowa — The Shark Racing team continues to be a premier testament to what dedication can yield.
The driving duo of Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen capped a strong week at Knoxville Raceway by putting both cars in the top five of the 61st Knoxville Nationals finale on Saturday night, Schuchart in third and Allen in fifth.
For Schuchart the result marked his third consecutive Nationals top-five finish and second overall podium. Allen’s effort came in just his second time making the Nationals main event, the first being a 13th in 2018.
Their performance in the finale comes after Schuchart won the Capitani Classic last Sunday, and the duo swept the pair of Nationals prelim nights, Schuchart on Wednesday and Allen on Thursday. Their combined average finish for the five starts of the week was 2.2.
The team that joined the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars tour nearly a decade ago as loveable underdogs once again proved they’ve risen to an elite level against the sport’s toughest competition.
“I’m proud of the whole week, our entire team,” Allen told SPEED SPORT. “From Sunday with Logan winning, Wednesday Logan winning, me winning Thursday, and then getting a top-three and a top-five, that’s a pretty big deal for our race team. It’s something to be proud of.”
“Everybody that’s put time and blood, sweat, and tears into this team to make it better and grow is very proud this week,” Schuchart said.
The Nationals marked a turning of the tide for Allen at the iconic half-mile. Prior to this week, Allen didn’t own a top-10 Outlaw finish at Knoxville. A prelim win, and a top-five finish against the strongest field the track sees all year is a remarkable improvement.
“This is amazing,” Allen said of his result. “I’ve always struggled here. This is something I’m really proud of.”
Allen’s supportive teammate took note of his progress.
“Jacob’s been having a really good year, but we’ve never really run up front as a team (at Knoxville),” Schuchart said. “I just know it really makes my grandfather (Bobby Allen) happy.”
Both of their races on Saturday night were characterized by charging forward. Allen started the main event 11th while Schuchart’s B-main win slotted him 17th on the grid. They passed a combined 20 cars during the 50-lap finale.
“I thought the track was great,” Allen commented on the race. “I struggled with restarts a little bit. I wasn’t bad on restarts. I would just kind of be at wrong places at the wrong time. The last restart I was good.
“My car was great,” Allen continued. “Racing with the best all the time really prepares you for these kind of moments, and having a great race car is pretty important as well, so to put it all together is very special for us. We’re just going to soak this all in and have a good time.”
Schuchart’s run marked the second time in the last three years he’s rolled by a majority of the field after going from 22nd to second in 2019. The 29-year-old notes that starting in the back shifts his approach, making it easier to be a little more aggressive.
“I feel like when you start in the back you have the attitude that you have nothing to lose,” Schuchart said. “You can just go forward. You don’t have to come up with a strategy.”
For Schuchart, the week may signal a positive shift in his season. It has been trying at times as the 2020 Outlaw runner-up has struggled to contend for the title. While it may be very difficult to overcome his current deficit in the points, Schuchart hopes the Nationals provides a boost to finish the year strong.
“Our championship points are kind of hurting a little bit this year,” Schuchart said. “We’ve made some mistakes as a team, so I feel like we’re going to try to win some races… We’re just happy right now with the moment of starting 17th and running third, getting a win at the Capitani, and winning our qualifying night. I’m really just excited for our team.”
Team. That’s the word both drivers continued to go back to. This collection of hard-working individuals that have come so far in their time in the sport made perhaps their biggest statement on where diligence can lead, shining when the lights are at their brightest.
“For us both to get a few wins at the race track this week, and then on Saturday night at our biggest race of the year, to have one be on the podium and the other in the top-five just says a lot about our race team, and I know everybody’s proud,” Schuchart said.
“This is what we’ve worked for throughout all of these years,” Allen said. “To accomplish this is a very special thing for us.”