Race Story


(Story courtesy of WoO PR)

Sheldon Haudenschild was right at home in more ways than one on Friday night at Eldora Speedway.

First, he was literally on home turf as the Rossburg, OH oval is only a few hours from his hometown of Wooster, OH. Second, he used the part of the racetrack where he feels right at home to drive to Victory Lane.

Haudenschild started on the pole and drove a masterful 30 laps inches from the intimidating fence at the fast half mile. The 30-year-old sliced his way through traffic and held off multiple challenges from Donny Schatz and Giovanni Scelzi to claim the checkered flag. A proud crowd enthusiastically welcomed one of their own to Victory Lane as Haudenschild climbed atop the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17 and took a celebratory swig of NOS Energy Drink.

Back in 2021 Haudenschild picked up his first Eldora win during #LetsRaceTwo, but he felt that Friday’s triumph validated the prior victory.

“I don’t really ever count first wins,” Haudenschild said. “I feel like they don’t mean much until you back them up. I’ve been really good here in the past. The Kings Royal I ran behind (Kyle) Larson. Even last year I was pretty good here but just haven’t finished the job off. I feel like we just struggled to make a full Feature really smooth, and we did it tonight. I feel like that was a perfect race. A perfect race car. (Kyle) Ripper busts his ass all the time. We were up until two in the morning last night fixing stuff like old times and running on very little sleep. It feels good. Luke (Vaughn), Kinzer (Dussel), everybody has been putting in the work. Can’t ask for much more.”

The fourth win of the season for Haudenschild already elevated his total beyond the three reached in 2023. He’s up to 38 for his career, and Eldora is the eighth track where he’s won multiple times with The Greatest Show on Dirt. It also marked Haudenschild’s fourth victory in his home state of Ohio.

The path to victory required an incredible early effort from Haudenschild before the Feature even started. His Qualifying effort left him starting fifth in a stacked Heat Race. The two rows ahead of him consisted of nothing but star power – Donny Schatz, Giovanni Scelzi, Logan Schuchart, and Michael “Buddy” Kofoid.”

But Haudenschild did what Haudenschild does. He put on a show with a great start to get to third by Lap 3. And then he snatched the final transfer to the Toyota Racing Dash from Scelzi on the final lap of the Heat.

In the Dash, Haudenschild lined up third and drove by David Gravel and Schatz to earn the pole for the 30-lap Feature.

Even though he had the best seat in the house for the green flag of the main event, it would prove to be no easy drive to the winner’s circle. He pulled ahead of David Gravel in the early part of the race, but it wasn’t long before traffic became a factor.

But traffic didn’t seem to phase Haudenschild. While the top was his preferred line, he could move the NOS Energy Drink #17 anywhere necessary to pass cars. At one point he stared down lapped cars racing three-wide ahead and made a daring move to split between two and give himself a little more breathing room from those in pursuit.

Sheldon Haudenschild stands next to his father – Jac Haudenschild
Sheldon Haudenschild delivered an Eldora drive that no doubt made his legendary father, Jac, proud (Trent Gower Photo)
The red flag flew with 11 laps remaining for a flipping Garet Williamson. Under the red, heartbreak struck the runner-up Gravel as his right rear tire went down, forcing him to the Federated Car Care Work Zone for a new one.

On the ensuing restart Schatz blasted from fourth to second and hung right with Haudenschild looking to challenge. Schatz kept the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15 rolling through the middle while Haudenschild never wavered from the top. After nearly pulling alongside Haudenschild multiple times, Schatz began to slip back as the laps faded.

Scelzi ripped by Schatz to take over second on the white flag with Haudenschild within sight, but it was too little, too late as Haudenschild crossed the finish line with half a second advantage to make his home state proud.

“Hats off to this whole NOS Energy Drink team,” Haudenschild said. “All these guys have been putting in the work. Happy to be in this.”

Scelzi brought the KCP Racing #18 home P2 for his fourth podium of the season and first since Arrowhead Speedway a month ago. The Fresno, CA native used the low line to make up most of his ground as he moved forward from ninth but found himself wishing he would’ve moved to the cushion sooner after finding speed there late in the race.

“The motor we put in was incredible,” Scelzi said. “I’m kicking myself because I wish I would’ve moved up a couple laps sooner because I think I would’ve maybe slid Sheldon for the lead. But he did his job in the Heat Race and did a great job all night. I tried to do my best Greg Wilson impression around the bottom for most of the race and gave up on it there with two to go and should’ve done it sooner.”

Rounding out the top three was Donny Schatz. The 10-time Series champion put together a productive night for his sixth podium of the 2024 World of Outlaws campaign.

“I thought we were going to have a chance at them there at the end,” Schatz said. “And then as we went by the end, they’d left us hanging again. Either way it was a decent finish. Started there and finished there. Went back and came back forward again.”

Logan Schuchart and Carson Macedo completed the top five.

After going to a backup car, Logan Schuchart drove from 24th to fourth to earn the KSE Racing Hard Charger.

David Gravel claimed his third Simpson Quick Time of 2024 and the 113th of his career.

NOS Energy Drink Heats One and Three went to David Gravel (251st Heat Race win of career) and Donny Schatz (523rdof career). Milton Hershey Heat Two went to Carson Macedo (120th of career).

Sheldon Haudenschild topped the Toyota Racing Dash.

Logan McCandless won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

After a flat tire derailed a potential challenge for the win and left him with an ninth place finish, David Gravel was awarded the Smith Titanium Brake Systems Break of the Race.


(Story courtesy of USAC PR)

Rossburg, Ohio (May 3, 2024)………Robert Ballou wasn’t 100 percent sure his car would stick, nor did he even think he was close enough to take his shot on the final two turns of Friday night’s #LetsRaceTwo opener at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

Residing a half-straightaway back from leader Kyle Cummins as he took the white flag, Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) put his right rear tire right up next to the outside wall all the way around the half-mile dirt oval, and ultimately, tracked down the low-riding Cummins to win at the stripe by mere inches – .016 second to be precise.

The margin of victory is the second closest in USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship competition during the decade of the 2020s, trailing only the .005 second margin he was on the other side of during the July 2023 Indiana Sprint Week round at Gas City I-69 Speedway in which he finished second to Justin Grant.

This time, it was Ballou’s turn to shine in his Ballou Motorsports/Suburban Subaru – Deaton’s Waterfront Services/DRC/Ott Chevy as he recorded his 38th career USAC National Sprint Car feature victory, surpassing 1977-81-82 series champion Sheldon Kinser for sole possession of 12th place on the all-time list.

His seventh career USAC National Sprint Car triumph at Eldora now puts him among the all-time elite at Eldora. Jack Hewitt ranks number one with 13 career victories. Larry Dickson and Tracy Hines collected nine wins apiece. Pancho Carter and Rich Vogler notched seven.

But Ballou doesn’t exactly need statistics to prove he’s elite at Eldora. He thoroughly demonstrated that with his 11th to first run on Friday night.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to make it,” Ballou admitted. “My car was not very good, and I was being a little girl and wasn’t very good up on it. Before that last caution came out, I finally got brave enough to run straight and it was getting faster. I was tired of getting passed and it’s been a tiresome 500 and something days.”

The win came 546 days, to be exact, which translates to just one day shy of 18 months since his most recent USAC National Sprint Car victory at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway in November of 2022. Similar to that race, Ballou saved his heroics for the latter stages after restarting fifth on the restart with nine laps remaining of the 30-lap distance.

“When that last caution came out, I got rolling. I was trying to count the laps and I knew it had to be getting close,” Ballou recalled. “When I got to third, I’m like, ‘man, he’s slowing down but I just don’t think I can get to him.’ When they threw the white, I said, ‘we’re either going to pull out a backup car or we’re going to try and get a win.’ I sent it into three there and wasn’t sure if it was going to end up in the suites or not. But luckily it held on.”

In a feature race with as many twists and turns as a snake in a canyon, Ballou dealt with their fair share of hurdles to overcome. Following qualifying, Ballou and his crew changed engines to a unique powerplant that has a history as long as Ballou’s entire sprint car career.

“This is the Brettnacher motor,” referring to the engine that driver Aaron Farney and their team used when he was a competitor on the USAC National Sprint Car trail. “They let me have this motor after they quit racing. It’s from 2004 when I first started racing sprint cars. So, it’s all gone full circle. Thanks to the Brettnachers and the Farney family for everything that they’ve done for me over my career.”

The main event featured five different leaders taking their turn up front. Two-time USAC East Coast Sprint Car champion Briggs Danner was the first to step out front as he led the initial three circuits from the pole position. A lap four caution resulted in a flat tire for fifth running Logan Seavey, who made a beeline for the Indy Metal Finishing Work Area under the yellow for repairs. The series point leader returned to the track, but managed only an 11th place finish, ending his record streak of seven consecutive top-three finishes to begin a season.

Just as the yellow was displayed, Grant had surged ahead of Danner for the lead on the high side of turn four but had to relinquish the position due to the rule dictating that scoring will revert to the last completed lap. Danner resumed as the leader, but it proved to be short lived. On the lap four restart, Grant slid under Danner in turn three to take over the top spot and proceeded to lead the next nine trips.

All the while, ninth starting Max Adams was sneaking along the bottom in pursuit of his first career USAC National Sprint Car victory. Lap by lap, he edged ever closer to Grant, and on lap 13, he pulled ahead on the low line between turns three and four. During the ensuing laps, despite an issue with his right rear tire, Grant caught up to Adams. But on lap 18, Grant slapped the turn three and four outside wall with his right rear wheel, knocking the right rear shock off, and dropping him all the way back to fifth.

By lap 22, Grant pulled into the pits with his rear wheels bouncing like basketballs. Brady Bacon (6th) followed suit with a right rear tire issue as did Daison Pursley (7th). All returned to the field and all finished 15th or worse in the final tally.

Up front, Cummins was able to get the outside of Adams for the lead on the restart, and finally moved ahead using the middle of the racetrack on lap 23. Meanwhile, Ballou was charging, going topside around Matt Westfall for fourth on lap 24, then by Danner for third on lap 27, Adams for second on lap 29, and lastly, Cummins for the win on the 30th and final lap.

Kyle Cummins’ (Princeton, Ind.) best Eldora run to date had come during the #LetsRaceTwo opener of 2023 where he led nine laps and finished third. This time, he led seven laps and looked assured to grab his first win in the Petty Performance Racing/Avanti Windows & Doors – Premier Recycling/Mach-1/Stanton Chevy. But Ballou ultimately had something to say about that.

“That one definitely hurts a little bit,” Cummins acknowledged. “But to be honest with you, I’d rather it be the other way around. If I’m going to win, I want it to be up on the fence. I don’t want my Eldora win to be around the bottom. Even though it sucks for me, it made it exciting for the fans, I guess.”

Max Adams’ (Loomis, Calif.) previous best USAC National Sprint Car finish was a fourth at Macon (Ill.) Speedway in 2023. His previous top Eldora Speedway result came in a ninth in this event a year ago He topped both of those marks in his first ever driver in the F & F Racing/zMax – Western Speed Racing – FK Indy/DRC/FG3 Chevy.

“That was a pleasure to drive,” Adams praised. “I’ve never ran something that good around here before. We ripped the brake caliper off early in the race, like lap one or two. We kind of rode around for a little bit with no brakes to see if we could maintain and we ended up picking cars off and got to the lead. I really didn’t want to see that last caution come out, but that’s just the name of the game. I’ve got to get better on restarts, and I’ve got to get better here later in the night. But this was awesome. I’m truly at a loss for words. I would’ve liked to have gotten the win on that one and I felt like we had a good shot at it, but third is awesome.”

During Honest Abe Roofing Qualifying, Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) recorded his 39th career Fast Time award with the USAC National Sprint Cars, tying five-time series champion Levi Jones for sixth on the all-time list.

Race Results

Event Box Score


Heat #1 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 98-Saban Bibent[2]; 2. 19AZ-Mitchel Moles[3]; 3. 3R-Kevin Thomas Jr.[6]; 4. 9Z-Zack Pretorius[1]; 5. 24M-Hunter Maddox[4]; 6. 2B-Jake Swanson[5]; 7. 39G-Matt Goodnight[7]; 8. 86-Keith Sheffer II[8]

Heat #2 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 21AZ-Daison Pursley[5]; 2. 26-Chance Crum[1]; 3. 15X-C.J. Leary[6]; 4. 12-Robert Ballou[4]; 5. 71B-Braxton Cummings[2]; 6. 44-Todd Hobson[3]; 7. 1H-Korbyn Hayslett[7]; 8. 87-Paul Dues[8]

Heat #3 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 57-Logan Seavey[6]; 2. 15-Carson Garrett[3]; 3. 5S-Chase Stockon[1]; 4. 33M-Matt Westfall[4]; 5. 39-Briggs Danner[5]; 6. 21B-Ryan Barr[7]; 7. 99-Jack James[8]; 8. 17GP-Jadon Rogers[2]

Heat #4 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 3P-Kyle Cummins[2]; 2. 69-Brady Bacon[4]; 3. 88J-Joey Amantea[1]; 4. 63-Max Adams[5]; 5. 4-Justin Grant[6]; 6. 77-Kody Swanson[3]; 7. O6-Rylan Gray[7]; 8. 23D-Bryce Dues[8]

B-Feature – (12)Laps – Top 4 Transfer
1. 2B-Jake Swanson[1]; 2. 17GP-Jadon Rogers[9]; 3. 44-Todd Hobson[2]; 4. 77-Kody Swanson[3]; 5. 21B-Ryan Barr[4]; 6. 1H-Korbyn Hayslett[6]; 7. 86-Keith Sheffer II[10]; 8. 23D-Bryce Dues[12]; 9. 87-Paul Dues[11]; 10. O6-Rylan Gray[7]; 11. 99-Jack James[8]; 12. 39G-Matt Goodnight[5]

A-Feature – (20)Laps
1. 12-Robert Ballou[11]; 2. 3P-Kyle Cummins[7]; 3. 63-Max Adams[9]; 4. 39-Briggs Danner[1]; 5. 33M-Matt Westfall[12]; 6. 17GP-Jadon Rogers[19]; 7. 19AZ-Mitchel Moles[14]; 8. 15-Carson Garrett[16]; 9. 3R-Kevin Thomas Jr.[5]; 10. 5S-Chase Stockon[22]; 11. 57-Logan Seavey[4]; 12. 26-Chance Crum[21]; 13. 44-Todd Hobson[15]; 14. 77-Kody Swanson[17]; 15. 21AZ-Daison Pursley[2]; 16. 15X-C.J. Leary[24]; 17. 2B-Jake Swanson[8]; 18. 24M-Hunter Maddox[10]; 19. 69-Brady Bacon[13]; 20. 88J-Joey Amantea[23]; 21. 71B-Braxton Cummings[18]; 22. 4-Justin Grant[3]; 23. 9Z-Zack Pretorius[20]; 24. 98-Saban Bibent[6]

World of Outlaws

Heat #1 – (8)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 2-David Gravel[1]; 2. 27-Emerson Axsom[2]; 3. 23J-Cale Thomas[5]; 4. 99-Skylar Gee[9]; 5. 23-Garet Williamson[6]; 6. 17B-Bill Balog[3]; 7. 42-Sye Lynch[4]; 8. W20-Greg Wilson[8]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[7]; 10. 14-Sean Rayhall[10]

Heat #2 – (8)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 41-Carson Macedo[1]; 2. 7S-Landon Crawley[3]; 3. 101-Kalib Henry[2]; 4. 70-Kraig Kinser[8]; 5. 21H-Brady Bacon[5]; 6. 55T-McKenna Haase[4]; 7. 29-Logan McCandless[6]; 8. 24D-Danny Sams III[7]; 9. 6-Bill Rose[9]

Heat #3 – (8)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 15-Donny Schatz[1]; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[5]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[2]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[3]; 5. 83-Michael Kofoid[4]; 6. 5T-Travis Philo[6]; 7. 49X-Tim Shaffer[7]; 8. 32-Bryce Lucius[8]; 9. 15K-Creed Kemenah[9]

Dash – (25)Laps
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[3]; 2. 2-David Gravel[1]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz[2]; 4. 41-Carson Macedo[5]; 5. 27-Emerson Axsom[4]; 6. 7S-Landon Crawley[6]

B-Feature – (12)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 29-Logan McCandless[2]; 2. 42-Sye Lynch[1]; 3. W20-Greg Wilson[4]; 4. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[7]; 5. 15K-Creed Kemenah[9]; 6. 6-Bill Rose[8]; 7. 24D-Danny Sams III[5]; 8. 14-Sean Rayhall[10]; 9. 49X-Tim Shaffer[3]; 10. 32-Bryce Lucius[6]

A-Feature – (25)Laps
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[1]; 2. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[9]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz[3]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[12]; 5. 41-Carson Macedo[4]; 6. 83-Michael Kofoid[15]; 7. 70-Kraig Kinser[11]; 8. 23J-Cale Thomas[7]; 9. 2-David Gravel[2]; 10. 7S-Landon Crawley[6]; 11. 42-Sye Lynch[20]; 12. 27-Emerson Axsom[5]; 13. 101-Kalib Henry[8]; 14. 99-Skylar Gee[10]; 15. 29-Logan McCandless[19]; 16. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[22]; 17. W20-Greg Wilson[21]; 18. 17B-Bill Balog[16]; 19. 55T-McKenna Haase[17]; 20. 5T-Travis Philo[18]; 21. 6-Bill Rose[24]; 22. 15K-Creed Kemenah[23]; 23. 23-Garet Williamson[13]; 24. 21H-Brady Bacon[14]



Images from the Event

Photos by Tyler Carr


Video Highlights From The Event

05.03.24 #LetsRaceTwo | Feature Highlights