2007 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jac Haudenschild
Being from Ohio, there are a couple of races that are very near and dear to Jac Haudenschild. One of those is the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, which he has won three times during his career. Another is the Brad Doty Classic, which he had been seeking a win in for a number of years. He came close in the past when the event was held at Attica Raceway Park and this season, he put his name in the record books by being victorious in the event which honors the former World of Outlaws driver, which was held at Limaland Motorsports Park for the second consecutive season.
Doty, who is also a native of Ohio, presented Haudenschild the winner's check and trophy in victory lane, as he helped promote the race that bears his name again this season. For Haudenschild, it is a win that he will never forget, as he is also good friends with Doty, who provided the expert analysis for all of the World of Outlaws television broadcasts in 2007.
"We were glad to win that race," Haudenschild said. "We didn't win as much as we wanted to this year, but the guys did a good job on the car. The car owner also did a good job keeping us with stuff. Next year we are just hoping to win more races."
Haudenschild wrapped up the season with two A-Feature wins and now has 46 in his career with the World of Outlaws. He was 11th in championship points on the strength of 34 Top-10 finishes, with 13 of those being in the Top-Five. He opened the season with a 10th place finish on the Florida DIRTcar Nationals, and followed that up with a strong trip to the West Coast. When the series headed to Thunderbowl Raceway in California, he earned two Top-six finishes, including a runner-up performance on the opening night of the two-day show.
"It definitely was a competitive season," said Haudenschild. "There were a lot of good car and a lot of good drivers out here. Year after year it seems to always be competitive with the Outlaws. This year definitely ranked up there."
Haudenschild also won at Red River Valley Speedway in North Dakota during the "SuperClean Summer of Money" on ESPN2. In addition, he ran strong in several of the other televised events this season. In total, the World of Outlaws had 16 races on ESPN2 and SPEED, bringing sprint car racing to thousands of new fans around the world.
"It was very good to be on television this year and having it back next year," he noted. "We are looking forward to next year."
Haudenschild continued to thrill fans from coast-to-coast with his always entertaining driving style. In his first ever visit to River Cities Speedway in North Dakota, he rode the high side of the track to come from the 13th starting spot to charge to second, just inches behind winner Joey Saldana in one of the closest finishes all season. That along with his win at Red River Valley earned him the overall title for the Duel in the Dakotas. It also was the beginning of a string of six consecutive finishes of eighth or better, which was capped off by his win in the Brad Doty Classic.
"The strong runs and the wins are what keep you going," said the veteran driver. "You wouldn't do it if you weren't running well. It's hard to win races and that is what keeps you going."
Again in 2007, Haudenschild was paired with longtime World of Outlaws crew chief Dean "Bonzai" Bruns, as the duo continued to add to the list of events that they have won together. With 78 total events contested in 2007 and countless miles travel from coast-to-coast, Haudenschild was proud of the entire Rick Wright team for all of their hard work day in and day out.
"He did a lot of work and kept the team going," said Haudenschild of Bruns. "He did a real good job keeping everything rolling. The entire crew did a very good job."
A new format awaited Haudenschild and the rest of the World of Outlaws competitors in 2007 and it provided exciting racing for the fans. The biggest change was that the top two finishes in each heat race earned a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, with the final two spots in a normal four-heat program being filled by the fastest two cars from time trials that transferred to the A-Feature through their heat race. A number of heat races saw last lap passes, as the driver in third position did everything they could to move into the second spot to earn a spot in the dash.
"It takes a little while to get used to stuff, especially when they change the format," said the native of Wooster, Ohio. "You just have to get used to it. It worked out pretty good and they'll probably keep it the same for next year."
The crowd favorite also had a number of strong runs cut short by flat tires and other problems, though he did not dwell on those nights. Rather he focused on the next race and what it would take to continue to run at the front of the field and contend for wins.
"The stuff you can't control is out of your hands," he explained. "It's a bummer when that happens, but it happens to everybody at some point, so everyone has to deal with it."
Haudenschild won't take much of a break this off-season, as he will again do some two wheel racing indoors with his son Sheldon in preparation for the 2008 season.
"I do a lot of the motocross racing with him, so I really don't get much time off," he smiled.
Haudenschild will return for another season with the World of Outlaws in 2008, and will be piloting the number R19 for Carnahan Motorsports, with veteran crew chief Leonard Lee turning the wrenches.