BRIDGEPORT, N.J. — Tuesday’s World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series trip to Bridgeport Motorsports Park did not disappoint.
Two of the most fierce pilots in the industry went wheel-to-wheel and put on a top tier show at the four-tenths-mile oval.
Officially, it appears that Sheldon Haudenschild controlled much of the race with 21 laps led to Kyle Larson’s four. However, the intensity goes so much further than what a brief analysis of the box score shows. The duo swapped command nearly 20 times in the final 15 laps with the race-winning move happening in the midst of a dramatic final restart.
Ultimately, it was Haudenschild snapping a 15-race dry spell and taking the NOS Energy Drink, Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing No. 17 to victory lane for the first time since Cotton Bowl Speedway on March 4. His third win of the season now ranks second-most (Macedo, 4 wins) and brings him to 25 career World of Outlaws wins at 28-years-old.
“It feels like we haven’t won in forever, man,” Haudenschild said. “This is where this team belongs, up here in victory lane. [Kyle] Ripper, Stephen [Hamm-Reilly], and Jakob [Weaver] have been working their tails off, we’ve been close these last few months. This one feels good.
“Kyle [Larson] and I have had some pretty great races over the years. You know he comes in here and sometimes puts a whooping on us, so it always feels good to get one over on him. Really, though, all of our full-time guys out here on the Outlaw tour make it just as tough. Every single World of Outlaws win you can get is a special one.”
Larson wasn’t short of fanfare following his second-straight runner-up result with the series, finishing 1.073 seconds behind Haudenschild.
“I definitely had a car capable of winning, but I didn’t do a good job executing that last restart and allowed Sheldon to get by,” Larson admitted. “Paul [Silva] got this thing better every time we hit the track, I just needed to make better decisions. I needed to move up after the caution, but I was too focused on protecting myself. I probably should have let him slide me and just started racing for it.”
Finishing out the podium on Tuesday was 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz, who started on the pole, but lost the lead to Haudenschild at the start.
“I say it all the time but you have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run,” Schatz said after back-to-back top-five finishes. “We got going near the end and found something down low, and I think we could’ve got the No. 57 with a few more laps. The guys did a great job and we’re building some momentum with this thing.”
Feature (25 Laps): – 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$10,000]; 2. 57-Kyle Larson [$6,000]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [$3,500]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,800]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri [$2,500]; 6. 83-James McFadden [$2,300]; 7. 24-Rico Abreu [$2,200]; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,100]; 9. 5-Spencer Bayston [$2,050]; 10. 2-David Gravel [$2,000]; 11. 91-Kyle Reinhardt [$1,600]; 12. 49-Brad Sweet [$1,400]; 13. 41-Carson Macedo [$1,200]; 14. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,100]; 15. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$1,050]; 16. 5G-Briggs Danner [$1,000]; 17. 51-Freddie Rahmer [$1,000]; 18. 19-Brent Marks [$1,000]; 19. 67-Justin Whittall [$1,000]; 20. 6-Bill Rose [$1,000]; 21. 39-Christopher Bell [$1,000]; 22. 9-Kasey Kahne [$1,000]; 23. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,000]; 24. 5R-Tyler Ross [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Sheldon Haudenschild 1-15, 17-19, 23-25; Kyle Larson 16, 20-22. KSE Hard Charger Award: 39M-Anthony Macri[+9]