2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jac Haudenschild Concord, NC--Nov. 29, 2006 -- Jac Haudenschild has won numerous races in his career, and many of these stick out in his mind. He added a very special victory to that list this season, at U.S.
2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jac Haudenschild
Concord, NC--Nov. 29, 2006 -- Jac Haudenschild has won numerous races in his career, and many of these stick out in his mind. He added a very special victory to that list this season, at U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri as part of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series inaugural visit to the blazing fast high-banks in front of a standing room only crowd.
Not only did his name go down in the record books as the first series winner at the track, but more importantly he scored the first series win for veteran owner Rick Wright, who has campaigned cars on the World of Outlaws trail for a number of years.
After the victory in early May, Haudenschild followed it up with three more wins over the course of the spring and summer, including a thrilling performance at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in July, 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.
The native of Wooster, Ohio also made trips to RacinSoles Victory Lane at Sharon Speedway in his home state in May and in June at The Raceway @ Powercom Park in Wisconsin. Haudenschild wound up the year leading 117 laps.
On the strength of 17 Top-Five finishes, the fan favorite wrapped up the season fifth in the championship standings. The four wins he totaled on the year brought his career mark with the World of Outlaws to 44, which is eighth on the all-time winners list.
"We were pretty good," said Haudenschild, driver of the Wright One Construction Maxim. "We expected to win a few more races than we did, but the Rick Wright car was pretty quick. We're looking forward to doing it again next year."
The season started off on a very positive note for the team, as Haudenschild scored a runner-up finish in the second race of the campaign at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. The always optimistic driver finished off the early part of the season by scoring Top-10 runs at USA Race and The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
A fifth-place finish at Batesville (Ark.) Speedway wrapped up the month of March, and he opened April on the same note, scoring a strong fourth at I-55 Raceway. After some bad luck on the opening night of a two-day event at Eldora Speedway, one of his favorite tracks, Haudenschild charged his way to another fourth-place run.
The solid finishes continued for the veteran on the bullrings, as he was fourth at the high-banks of Tri-State (Ind.) Speedway, followed by the win at U.S. 36 Raceway. A trip north to Huset's Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota was next in store, and Haudenschild was fourth in that event. The string of Top-fives continued at Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania on May 16, setting the stage for his win at Sharon Speedway.
The first trip of the year to New York brought more solid results for Haudenschild and the team. At Orange County Fair Speedway, the largest track on the circuit, a spacious 5/8-mile, he came home third, to begin a stretch of six straight Top-10 finishes. He followed this up with a 10th-place run at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
On June 3 at Eldora, Haudenschild lived up his name of "The Wild Child," thrilling the fans after racing his way through the B-main into the A-Feature where he rode the rim and kissed the wall countless times en route to a stunning fifth-place run. The following night at the Terre Haute Action Track, he was sixth.
Haudenschild racked up a streak of eight Top-10 finishes from the early in June, until early in July, that were book ended by his win at The Raceway @ Powercom Park on June 16 and at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway on July 7.
Showing the consistency that helped him remain in the Top-Five in standings all season, Haudenschild finished no lower than 11th from July 25 until September 16. In that stretch he turned in a stellar performance in the finale of the Gold Cup Race of Champions, as he tracked down eventual winner Daryn Pittman with a couple laps to go, to finish second on the quarter-mile, again riding the rim and hugging the wall.
While he has driven for many owners over the years, he feels very much at home driving for California native Rick Wright, who assembled a very strong team to tackle the 2006 World of Outlaws season. Haudenschild especially enjoyed being able to bring Wright his first World of Outlaws win, a triumph that he has sought for many years.
"It felt good to get Rick Wright his first World of Outlaws win," he said. "The car was good all year. We had Bonzai (Bruns) and Paul (Baines) working on the car and they did a good job. We were a little off and on, and we just have to get a little more consistent for next year."
Being reunited with longtime crew chief Bonzai Bruns, Haudenschild had the confidence and speed to compete for wins all season every time the series took to the track.
"We have worked together for so many years, that we a lot of times know what each other is thinking," explained Haudenschild. "It was a fun year, and I am looking forward to another one."
With large car counts all season, Haudenschild knew the importance of time trials each and every night. He stopped the clocks first on three different occasions. Just as impressive, he won seven dashes on the year, which earned him five pole positions.
"You have to keep up with the track all night, and follow the track," commented Haudenschild. "You have to make the right changes to the car as the night goes on."
With 16 different drivers winning A-Feature on the season and 26 drivers leading laps the competition just as tough as Haudenschild envisioned it before the season. He wound up with 40 Top-10 finishes in the 56 A-Features events that were contested in 2006.
"The competition was tough this year," he said. "You had a lot of guys running real good, and you never knew who was going to win. We had a lot of different winners this season. I think it will be just as tough next year."
Looking to build momentum for the 2007 season, Haudenschild scored Top-10 finishes in four of the last five events, including a strong eighth-place run in the season finale at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While he will take some time to relax in the off-season, Haudenschild's mind is always thinking about racing.
"The guys will be building new cars all winter," he stated. "I just started to do some racing with my son in the winter, so I'll be doing a little motorcycle racing this winter."
Next Up: The series of season reviews for the Top-15 in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series continues with Daryn Pittman.