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Jacob Allen (1a) edged his teammate Logan Schuchart to win the Gold Cup by inches Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway last year. (Devin Mayo photo)

Shark Racing Sticks Together

Sprint car racing has always been a family affair for the Shark Racing team.

And while some aspects of the operation have been updated since joining the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series tour in 2014, the essence of Shark Racing has remained the same.

This idea of staying “true to their roots” has even become a point of pride for Jacob Allen, driver of the No. 1a sprint car and son of team owner Bobby Allen.

“We were a team, at one point, that nobody believed would make it out of the first California swing,” Allen said, referencing the first year the Pennsylvania-based operation attempted to run the 80-plus race WoO schedule.

Their inaugural campaign was one of survival for Allen and Logan Schuchart, Allen’s nephew and driver of Shark Racing’s second entry, the No. 1s. Nonetheless, they made it farther than their critics expected and collected several top-10 finishes during their first full season.

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Jacob Allen’s best finish so far this season has been a pair of third-place finishes — one at Volusia Speedway Park and one at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

It’s been a ragged road for the duo to reach victory lane with the Outlaws, but the two drivers have proven themselves to be serious contenders in recent years.

Schuchart brought the team its first triumph at Cedar Lake (Wis.) Speedway in 2016. He had a breakout year in 2019, winning eight races and finishing fifth in the standings. The next year, Allen picked up his first WoO victory at Kansas’ Dodge City Raceway Park and won four races in 2022.

As for this year, Schuchart was the first of the two to visit victory lane, which he did during the #LetsRaceTwo event at Eldora Speedway last weekend.

As Shark Racing has continued to grow its on-track résumé, Allen points to a few external changes that could also be used to illustrate the growth of the team — his trailer being one of them.

“It went from being my dad’s trailer that he built back in the day, to having all this stuff for us to be able to race at the top level,” Allen said. “I take a lot of pride in the trailer that I race out of, because we built it as a family.”

He might not have the flashiest motorhome or the biggest budget to operate with, but Allen still has a heartfelt appreciation for the crew he works alongside — starting with his father and nephew.

The 28-year-old acknowledges that the chemistry of a race team is vitally dependent on two things: who is a part of it, and how long they’ve been a part of it. Being a family-owned operation, he feels Shark Racing has a leg up on others.

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Logan Schuchart works on his No. 1s sprint car. (Paul Arch photo)

“The core of our deal is me, my dad and Logan (Schuchart). And we’ve been together our entire lives,” Allen said. “We’ll never give up on that core, because we love racing and this is what we’re choosing to do with our lives.”

There are a number of others who have contributed to the success of Shark Racing — including Tyler Garber, who has been the No. 1a’s crew chief for six years.

For Allen, the objective has always been to keep the team a family, with the same drivers and crew members, as it grows into a championship-caliber operation.

“We’ve always stuck together,” Allen noted.

Inevitably though, a race team needs money to operate.

Schuchart credits Shark Racing’s long-term relationships with their sponsors — namely Drydene on the No. 1s and Low-E Reflective Insulation on the No. 1a — as a key factor in enabling the team to develop.

“There’s been a lot of help throughout the years,” Schuchart said. “It’s cool to see the level at which it grows and how we’re able to do this and be more competitive as a team.”

But when considering all the new elements that have helped Shark Racing be successful, from its steady stream of funding to the updated trailers to the dependable crew, Allen always revisits one constant that hasn’t changed.

Allen concluded, “One day, when I’m all done doing all this stuff, I think the moments with my family — out on the road, racing with them — will be the most important thing.”