CHICO, Calif. — Saturday’s 67th Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway had just a little bit of everything.
But in the end, Logan Schuchart used a little bit of luck to get the lead and then a whole lot of determination to fend off Brad Sweet’s late-race efforts at the quarter-mile bullring.
Saturday’s score marked the fifth of 2021 for the Shark Racing, Drydene Performance Products No. 1s.
“It’s pretty awesome to win such a prestigious race like this in California,” Schuchart said. “Being a Pennsylvania boy growing up out there we’re not used to this kind of stuff, but it’s something I’ve grown accustomed to being on the road and all these different tracks. It’s awesome to get back up here in victory lane.”
For Schuchart, his Gold Cup victory is even sweeter considering the preliminary fireworks. He failed to complete a single lap in Friday’s feature following contact with fellow full-time Outlaw Brad Sweet, which resulted in a brief post-race altercation. Only 24 hours later and the duo was exchanging sliders for the win.
“Sometimes I wish it was like the NHL and they’d just put us on the frontstretch,” Schuchart spoke openly. “I’m happy we got this win the right way, though. Didn’t do anything dumb or put ourselves in a bad spot, we just raced hard the way it’s supposed to be. Winning is the best form of payback.”
Kasey Kahne and Tanner Carrick owned the spotlight first, though. Both drivers in pursuit of their first World of Outlaws win led laps and Carrick specifically was in a position to stun the Outlaws at one of his home tracks.
In only his third career World of Outlaws start, the 19-year-old drove by Kahne to lead lap nine and was more than ready for a challenge when Sweet passed him on lap 21. He promptly got up on the wheel and slid right back by the reigning champion and continued to lead four more circuits until disaster struck.
With his tail tank rattling loose and falling off the No. 83t, Carrick was sent to the work area on lap 26 and had his chances at a monumental victory ripped away in a devastating fashion.
Schuchart was gifted the lead and proceeded to go slider-for-slider with Sweet until he established command with 10 to go. The duo ran through lap traffic down the stretch and it came down to a last-lap bonzai into turn one, which fell just short for Sweet and gave Schuchart a 0.954-second margin of victory.
Capitalizing on Sweet’s hail mary attempt, James McFadden slid by his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate on the final lap to finish second.
“That was fun,” McFadden excitedly said. “You have to be committed to the top, but there are monster holes and big ledges out here, so it’s a bit sketchy and I like that. I’ve watched this place a ton and played it on the video game, so it’s cool to finally be here and run well. We’ve got a lot of confidence in this team lately.”
Sweet’s pursuit for the elusive Gold Cup will have to wait another year.
“I think both nights we were just one corner away from winning,” Sweet said. “That’s on me. I need to step up and make some better moves. That was good, hard racing, though, and I’m sure the fans were excited. I hated giving up second on the last lap, so that’s a bit disappointing. One of these years I’ll get a Gold Cup.”