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Sheldon Haudenschild in victory lane at Beaver Dam Raceway. (Mark Funderburk photo)

Dominant Haudenschild Rules Beaver Dam

BEAVER DAM, Wis. — Sometime a track just fits a racer perfectly. Whether it’s the size, shape, surface, or a blend of all the elements, drivers go with certain race tracks like yin and yang.

And that’s certainly the case with Sheldon Haudenschild and Beaver Dam Raceway.

Heading into Friday’s Jim “JB” Boyd Memorial opener, Haudenschild had topped four the last five Beaver Dam races with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars. Haudenschild being up front at the Wisconsin oval with the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing crew had become a foregone conclusion. And he didn’t let the Badger State fans down. 

Haudenschild delivered perhaps his most exciting Beaver Dam victory to kick off the Jim Boyd Memorial. He hadn’t started worse than third in his previous four victories, but he lined up sixth Friday night and gave the crowd a show. The Wooster, Ohio, native wheeled his way forward from row three, snatched the top spot from Carson Macedo on lap 17, and held on late for his fifth win in the last six Beaver Dam races. 

“I don’t know, maybe I’m Scott Boyd’s (track owner) long lost son or something,” Haudenschild said with a laugh of his success at Beaver Dam. “We just seem to have this place figured out. It’s cool to have the wins here and be friends with the Boyd family.”

The sixth win of 2024 for Haudenschild moved him to 40 for his career with The Greatest Show on Dirt as he becomes the 20th different driver to reach 40 victories. Five wins at Beaver Dam also breaks a tie with Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 to make it the winningest track on his résumé.

The front row of Carson Macedo and Bill Balog led the field to green. Macedo slid ahead of Balog to take the top spot and lead the opening lap. As the front four cars all opted for the cushion on the first couple circuits, David Gravel gave the bottom a shot and it paid off. The point leader rolled all the way from the fifth starting spot to second in two laps. 

The forward progress for Gravel halted when he reached second as he couldn’t also move by Macedo for the top spot. The lead duo settled into a rhythm while Haudenschild began to make his charge. At the completion of the first lap Haudenschild was in seventh. Only three circuits later he’d worked his way up to third.

Haudenschild quickly closed in on the lead duo as they navigated traffic. Lapped cars caused the leaders to bunch up and make daring moves to work their way through. Haudenschild grabbed the runner-up spot from Gravel on lap eight, but Gravel took it right back on the following lap. Two circuits later Haudenschild passed Gravel again, and then a lap-14 caution cooled off the battle.

Gravel used a strong run on the bottom during the restart to reclaim second, but it didn’t take long for Haudenschild to get his momentum wound up where he’s most comfortable – right against the fence.

As Macedo and Gravel rolled the bottom in turns three and four, Haudenschild blasted by Gravel on the top and into second on the 16th circuit. One lap later he used the same move to power by Macedo and into the lead.

There was no slowing Haudenschild after he took the top spot as he began to stretch the advantage while Macedo and Gravel battled for second.

A yellow flag with six laps remaining brought Macedo and Gravel to Haudenschild’s tail tank, but he proved to be too strong on the restart as he took off and drove to his sixth victory of 2024 in the NOS Energy Drink No. 17.

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Sheldon Haudenschild (17) races around David Gravel at Beaver Dam Raceway. (Mark Funderburk photo)

“Just searching the track and knowing when to move,” Haudenschild said. “Me and David were on the bottom pretty early, but he was still trying the top in (turns) one and two. I kind of showed him my nose, and then he moved down, and that just put me searching again. But you can only do that with a really good race car. If your car is no good, you can’t search like that, so hats off to (Kyle) Ripper and the guys. They were on it all night even after starting in the back of that Dash.”

Carson Macedo brought the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 home second for their eighth consecutive podium finish. They’re down to only 30 markers behind Gravel for the point lead.

“I feel like that was obviously the wrong move now, but hindsight is 20/20,” Macedo said. “I felt like during the race I was getting edged on the bottom. I could see David down there, and I think I could see Sheldon down there at one point. It just felt like in lapped traffic it was decent down there and getting so far around up top. It was weird. I went down there, and it was good, and then a couple laps later I went down there and spun (tires), and Sheldon blew my doors off. Then when I moved back up, it was way more grippy up there all of a sudden.”

Gravel and Big Game Motorsports rounded out the podium.

“We had a race-winning race car right there,” Gravel said. “What a race track. It changed. The fastest lane changed a couple times. I felt like if Carson just continued to run the top there and didn’t dirty up my air on the bottom of (turns) three and four, then I could’ve maybe got the lead. But that just opened up the top for Sheldon, and he was really able to rip it and make it count.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[6]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo[1]; 3. 2-David Gravel[5]; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[7]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart[10]; 6. 15-Donny Schatz[3]; 7. 83-Michael Kofoid[4]; 8. 17B-Bill Balog[2]; 9. 99-Skylar Gee[17]; 10. 73-Scotty Thiel[9]; 11. W20-Greg Wilson[13]; 12. 23-Garet Williamson[21]; 13. 2W-Scott Neitzel[23]; 14. 70-Kraig Kinser[14]; 15. 6-Bill Rose[15]; 16. 49J-Josh Schneiderman[11]; 17. 14T-Tim Estenson[19]; 18. 7S-Landon Crawley[12]; 19. 10V-Matt VanderVere[22]; 20. 25-Danny Schlafer[16]; 21. 87A-Austin Hartmann[20]; 22. 65-Jordan Goldesberry[24]; 23. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[8]; 24. 10W-Mike Reinke[18]