Story By: ALEX NIETEN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – WEST FARGO, ND – The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars don’t near the ocean for a few more days. But that didn’t stop a shark from surfacing far inland this weekend in North Dakota.
On Friday Logan Schuchart won in dramatic fashion aboard the Shark Racing #1S at Grand Forks, ND’s River Cities Speedway. Then on Saturday the Hanover, PA native didn’t need a late race pass to find his way to Victory Lane. He simply dominated at West Fargo, ND’s Red River Valley Speedway to complete a weekend sweep in “The Peace Garden State.”
Schuchart led from green to checkered in the non-stop 30-lap Feature to top the Gerdau Presents the Duel in the Dakotas for his first Red River Valley triumph. From the moment they unloaded, Schuchart knew they’d be a force through the night.
“The car felt good right out of the box tonight,’ Schuchart said. “We made some very small, minor changes. The track stayed pretty quick. I thought it was an awesome racing surface. If we started fourth or fifth or sixth in that area, I feel like we still would’ve had a really good shot at winning the race. I just tried to pick my spots. Move when lapped cars were in the way and go to the top if I needed to. I could even run the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4 there at the end. This car was just awesome this weekend.”
The win marked a major milestone for the 30-year-old as he reached 40 career World of Outlaws victories – becoming the 19th driver to reach the feat. The sweep was also Schuchart’s first back-to-back trips to Victory Lane with The Greatest Show on Dirt since 2020. He’s up to five wins in 2023, the fifth straight year he’s hit that number.
Schuchart’s path to the checkered flag was paved in large part with his triumph in the Toyota Racing Dash. That sat the Drydene/Duramax machine on the pole for the NOS Energy Drink Feature. When the green lights flashed, Schuchart immediately showed his muscle by darting ahead on the opening circuit.
While Schuchart pulled away early, the first lap also signaled the beginning of what would be a race-long war for second. It began with David Gravel and James McFadden going wheel-to-wheel before Gravel secured the spot.
Only five laps in to the main event was when Schuchart encountered traffic which would persist throughout the race’s entirety with no yellow flags slowing the pace. While a few slower cars allowed Gravel and the battle for second to close in, Schuchart would always pull back ahead after a lap or two.
In the second half of the race, the jockeying for the runner-up position intensified as Giovanni Scelzi and Buddy Kofoid reeled in Gravel. The trio traded sliders and crossovers on the racy surface as the laps wound down.
Up front, Schuchart cruised with a comfortable advantage and ultimately crossed the finish line with nearly a three second advantage.
“We got out in front, and I just wanted to set a good, clean pace, not push the issue too far and not put myself in bad spots,” Schuchart said. “I tried to just hit my marks, and I thought it would make it pretty tough for someone to run up to us and blow by us. I can’t say enough about our team working so hard.”
Behind Schuchart it was David Gravel crossing the line in second when the dust settled on a fierce battle. The runner-up restored some confidence after he and the Big Game Motorsports team endured four straight finishes outside the top 10 entering the night. Gravel upped his Series-leading podium total to 26 for the season. It was an especially tricky result to come by as Gravel felt an early issue and had to hang on with a wounded machine for most of the race.
“About Lap 10 something let go in the motor when I was all over Logan, and I was like you’ve got to be kidding me. After these last two weeks, I’m going to DNF here,” Gravel explained. “And luckily it held on, so once that happened I was just in survival mode and was pretty much quarter to half throttle trying not to kill the thing and make it to the end. There was still like 18 or 19 to go. I kept looking, and it got down to seven to go. I thought I just had to make it. I saw Gio kept throwing it in on me and kept showing me to run the bottom. But the slower I went, the worse the motor ran, so I had to kind of keep one pace and try to not hurt the motor anymore.”
Standing on the final step of the podium was Buddy Kofoid and his Roth Motorsports crew after starting the Feature in fifth. It marked his seventh World of Outlaws top three of the season and third since joining Roth. The Penngrove, CA native had plenty of speed and left feeling hugely confident in the direction of he and the #83JR crew.
“I feel like that’s one of the better cars I’ve had since we’ve been with Roth,” Kofoid said. “I feel like we were a second place capable car. It would’ve been nice if I could’ve got ahead of some of them earlier if we had a yellow. I don’t how good Logan was, but I feel like where I was my car was just very impeccable. I owe it all to these Roth Motorsports guys.”
Gio Scelzi and James McFadden completed the top five.
A sixth place run allowed Brad Sweet to slightly extend his points lead over Carson Macedo, who came home eighth. Sweet’s advantage now sits at 56 markers, but Gravel’s runner-up moved him closer to Macedo for second. The distance between those two is now only 10 points.
After claiming the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown, Tanner Holmes also went on to take KSE Racing Hard Charger Honors with a drive from 19th to 12th. The Jacksonville, OR native was also the recipient of the Smith Titanium Brake Systems Break of the Race after mechanical issues in Qualifying put them behind early in the night.
David Gravel earned the Simpson Performance Products QuickTime Award for the ninth time this season and the 106th time of his career.
CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One went to James McFadden (46th Heat Race win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heats Two and Three were topped by Logan Schuchart (116th of career) and Buddy Kofoid (12th of career).
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are bound for the Pacific Northwest for four races in five nights. First, it’s three nights (August 31-September 2) at Skagit Speedway (Burlington, WA) for the Sage Fruit Skagit Nationals with $26,000 going to the winner of the finale. Then on Monday, September 4 it’s a one-day stop at Elma, WA’s Grays Harbor Raceway.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps): 1. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 2. 2-David Gravel; 3. 83JR-Michael Kofoid; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 5. 83-James McFadden; 6. 49-Brad Sweet; 7. 15-Donny Schatz; 8. 41-Carson Macedo; 9. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 10. 5-Spencer Bayston; 11. 9-Kasey Kahne; 12. 1T-Tanner Holmes; 13. 20G-Noah Gass; 14. 21T-Cole Macedo; 15. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss; 16. 14T-Tim Estenson; 17. 3-Tim Kaeding; 18. 7S-Robbie Price; 19. 11M-Brendan Mullen; 20. 17B-Ryan Bickett; 21. 6-Bill Rose; 22. 17M-Zach Omdahl; 23. (DNF) 0-Nick Omdahl; 24. (DNF) 2K-Kevin Ingle