PORT ROYAL, Pa. – Don’t mistake Logan Schuchart’s backslide in production for regression as a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series driver.
Last year at this time, the Hanover, Pa., driver and his homegrown team, Shark Racing, were giving Brad Sweet all he could handle in the title chase, 32 points behind with five races left.
One year later, Schuchart is barely hanging on to fifth, two points better than Sheldon Haudenschild and 302 off Sweet’s pace. He doesn’t think fans should look too much into it.
“We’re better than what we were last year,” Schuchart said. “Yeah, we had a lot better results in 2020, a lot more consistency, but we’re fast at tracks we’ve struggled in the past this year. Some of those tracks we’ve excelled at in the past we’ve fallen out running up front.
“I feel like that’s the difference between us and the cars that are in front of us in the points standings and maybe winning some of those bigger races,” Schuchart added
Schuchart upped the ante to start the year, firing off two wins, two runner-up finishes and an eighth-place finish in five races at Volusia (Fla.) Speedway Park.
Schuchart then went winless during the next three months. He didn’t win his next race until May 18 at Bridgeport (N.J.) Motorsports Park.
By then, he went from leading the World of Outlaws standings to seventh, more than 200 points off Sweet’s early lead.
During the following 39 races, he won once — the June 27 Jackson Nationals at Jackson (Minn.) Motorplex. He’s run his win total to six as the end of the season nears.
That number could easily be more, considering Schuchart’s 10 runner-up finishes and 36 top-five runs in 76 races.
Schuchart has produced more as of late, winning three times in the last 10 races and finishing second twice during National Open weekend at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
If it wasn’t for a patient Carson Macedo, Schuchart was four laps away from winning the National Open. On Friday at Port Royal Speedway, Schuchart hounded leader Kerry Madsen in the midst of traffic and his wheelhouse, dry-slick track conditions.
Then Curt Stroup spun in front of the leaders. Madsen evaded destruction, but Schuchart couldn’t, as he slammed into Stroup and lost control of his No. 1S machine off turn four. Schuchart ended up finishing 27th.
“I feel like there are at least about four or five races where that’s happened this year that could have easily turned into wins,” Schuchart said. “I think this Drydene Performance team is in a very good spot. … We’re all working very hard.”
Stock-piling wins is just one half of what it takes to win a World of Outlaws championship. Last year, in 54 series races, Schuchart and team finished outside the top 20 just once. That alone helped him keep pace with Sweet, who placed outside the top 20 three times.
This year, Schuchart has finished outside the top 20 five times and finished 18th and 19th a combined four times.
“We’ve had some mechanical failures, some things that you don’t really account for that set you back,” Schuchart said. “It’s not really anybody’s fault. It’s kind of a learning experience. I feel like that’s some things we’re going to fix for next year. We’re not going to have those DNFs.
“As long as we stay out of issues on the race track, our stuff that happens throughout the week, or in the garage, we’ll make sure the race cars are strong,” Schuchart said.