2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Jac Haudenschild Concord, NC -- Jan. 26, 2007 -- Jac Haudenschild knew before last season that he would have plenty of chances to add to his World of Outlaws career win total, as he teamed up with veteran car owner...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Jac Haudenschild
Concord, NC -- Jan. 26, 2007 -- Jac Haudenschild knew before last season that he would have plenty of chances to add to his World of Outlaws career win total, as he teamed up with veteran car owner Rick Wright from California, who has always fielded cars that ran at the front of the field.
While he notched four wins, his first victory of the season at US 36 Raceway in Missouri was extra special. It marked the first time that Wright had scored a win as a car owner in World of Outlaws competition.
Wins followed for Haudenschild at Sharon Speedway in his native state of Ohio, as well as at The Raceway at Powercom Park in Wisconsin, now Charter Raceway, Beaver Dam. One of his most thrilling wins came at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in July, in an event that saw him ride the cushion to charge to the lead with just three laps to go in a three-wide battle with Joey Saldana and Craig Dollansky. In one of the most impressive drives all season, Haudenschild fell from the fourth spot to 10th on the opening lap and methodically worked his way back into contention on the tight quarter-mile.
These triumphs along with 40 Top-10 finishes powered the native of Wooster, Ohio to a very solid fifth-place finish in championship points in his first season with the team. This was his 11th Top-10 finish in the World of Outlaws standings.
This foundation has Haudenschild ready to return to the seat and take to the track on February 9 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida for the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop.
"It's getting real close, so the crew is getting things finished and everything buttoned up," said an excited Haudenschild, who has 44 career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins.
The veteran driver had a very strong run last season at Volusia, as led the first 24 laps of the finale before coming home second. The number of laps he would lead over the course of the season would continue to climb. He finished 2006 as only one of six drivers to lead more than 100 laps on the season. The strong start in Florida got the ball rolling for some early season momentum that paid off on May 5 with the victory at US 36.
"The win really got everyone pumped up really high," he said, when looking back at getting Wright his first World of Outlaws win. "It helped get everyone excited. It always helps to get the first one of the year under and helps to get everyone going. It was very important for Rick Wright. He is a very good car owner for me. We're looking forward to this season and winning some more races."
For the first time ever, the World of Outlaws will compete three straight nights as part of the DIRTcat Nationals. With drivers from coast-to-coast on hand, it is expected to be one of the strongest fields ever assembled at the blazing fast half-mile.
"I don't mind racing three nights," said Haudenschild. "You get to know the track a little better, and get your set-up down. Three or four nights at the same track is pretty fun."
Bonzai Bruns is back for the second year in a row to serve as crew chief for the team. Bruns has worked with Haudenschild on a number of occasions over the years. With an expanded schedule this year, Bruns and the rest of the team have been working day and night in the shop over the winter to make sure everything is in place when the team unloads the car in Florida.
"A 90 race schedule is really going to be tough this year," admitted Haudenschild. "We've done it before in the past, and it's plenty of racing, that's for sure."
He will get the chance to race in his home state nine times this season. Highlighting that list will be five stops at the famed Eldora Speedway, where he has four World of Outlaws A-Feature wins, including three in the Kings Royal. The series will also visit Attica Raceway Park as well K-C Raceway, and Sharon Speedway.
After facing stiff competition every race last season, Haudenschild knows he will be in for more of the same this year, as nearly 30 cars will take to the road with the World of Outlaws.
"I think it will be as tough this year, as it has been years in the past," he said. "Some years are a little bit tougher than other years. Everyone is back together this year, and they'll be some good racing. We're looking forward to it."
One of the keys on any race night is being quick during time trials. Haudenschild stopped the clocks first in time trials on three occasions last season, and knows how vital those two laps will be again this season in determining how the rest of the night unfolds. He also scored seven dash wins last season, to earn five pole positions.
"We have to get our qualifying down a little bit better, and start closer to the front," commented the fan favorite as one of things the team is determined to do in 2007. "That's our plan."
After a very successful first season driving for Wright, Haudenschild is confident the team can build on the solid base they formed last year, and be in contention for wins night in and night out.
"This year we want to finish all the races in the Top-Five and be as consistent as we can," stated Haudenschild. "We definitely want to win our share of races."