Fan Favorite: Jac Haudenschild Looks to Thrill Crowd at Manzanita Jac Haudenschild has raced at more tracks from coast-to-coast than he can remember. Along the way, he was gained a vast legion of loyal fans that cheer him on every time he hits...
Fan Favorite: Jac Haudenschild Looks to Thrill Crowd at Manzanita
Jac Haudenschild has raced at more tracks from coast-to-coast than he can remember. Along the way, he was gained a vast legion of loyal fans that cheer him on every time he hits the track, no matter if it is in the Midwest, on the West Coast, in the Northeast, or in the case of this weekend, the sunny desert of the Southwest.
One of the most popular drivers in the pit area, the native of Wooster, Ohio always has one of the longest lines by his trailer after a race, with people waiting for autographs or to have their picture taken with their favorite driver.
It may be his aggressive driving style on the track that often has him riding the rim and hugging the wall that draws the fans to him, or possibly his nickname of "The Wild Child." It also could be his calm, cool, and collected demeanor that makes him so popular, or the respect he shows each and every fan when they approach him seeking an autograph or want to have their picture taken with him.
"I don't know," wondered Haudenschild, about why he such a fan favorite. "We've been running out here for quite a while and we have a lot of good fans. We have a lot of good fans out there (in Arizona). I've been to a lot of these tracks a lot of different times and am glad to be going back out west."
On Friday October 20, he will return to a track that he knows pretty well, the famed Manzanita Speedway in Arizona, as part of the Outlaw Desert Classic. Haudenschild won a World of Outlaws A-Feature at the wicked fast half-mile in 1998, to add his name to the illustrious list of winner's at the storied track including: Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Al Unser Jr., Al Unser Sr., and Bobby Unser among others.
Manzanita Speedway, which originally opened as a dog track, was converted to a ¼-mile race track in 1951, with the half-mile surface being added in 1954. Since 1978, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series has contested 19 events at the track, with nine different drivers visiting the winners circle.
"Manzanita is a nice big, fast half-mile," said Haudenschild, driver of the Wright One Construction Maxim. "We have not run there a lot in the last few years, but it's a nice track. It's a great place to race. I'm really looking forward to getting there. We hope to get the Rick Wright car up front."
Haudenschild established the track record in time trials in 1997, with a blazing lap of 15.34 seconds. As the saying goes, "records are meant to be broken," and Haudenschild believes the record may fall this weekend, and he hopes it is he himself who breaks the mark that he currently holds. To date, 26 different drivers have set quick time in World of Outlaws Sprint Series action, including Haudenschild on three different occasions.
"The history of the track does make it special to hold the track record," he said. "The track record is pretty old, and I'm sure that it will be broken pretty easy."
The race on Friday night will mark the 26th time this season the World of Outlaws Sprint Series will compete on a half-mile track. Haudenschild who has 17 Top-five finishes on the year, will be looking for his first win of the year on a half-mile. With his driving style and knowledge of the track, the veteran is confident that he and his crew will have the right set-up to help him stay fast throughout the course of the night.
"It's a big track and sometimes it gets a little rough," said the fan favorite. "You never know how it's going to get, but it's always good racing there. You'll just have to have everything right to win."
After racing in brisk conditions last weekend at Wilmot (Wisc.) Speedway that saw the temperature dip to near the freezing mark when the sun went down, Haudenschild is ready for the Outlaw Desert Classic which takes the green flag at Manzanita on Friday night, and then moves south to USA Race Park in Tucson on Saturday night.
"There's really not much difference (racing warm versus cold weather)," explained Haudenschid. "The track may be slicker when it's cooler, but other than that, there is not much difference."
One of the keys to a good night for the veteran driver will be starting off with two solid laps in trials. In addition to his strong qualifying effort, Haudenschild has also won seven dashes on the season and earned five pole positions.
"We hope to get the car pretty close, and qualify well to start up at the front," Haudenschild said. "We hope to finish up there as well."
With four races left on the calendar, Haudenschild is solidly in the fifth spot in the series championship point standings, and knows exactly what he wants to accomplish over the course of the next two weekends in the desert.
Already this season, he has won four races, including at U.S. 36 (Missouri) Raceway in May to earn the first World of Outlaws A-Feature win for his car owner Rick Wright, a California native. Along with this triumph, Haudenschild also made his way to RacinSoles Victory Lane at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway, The Raceway @ Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wisc., and Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
"We need to definitely win a couple more races before the end of the year," he said. "We're just hoping to get the car back in victory lane."
For ticket information about the Manzanita race on October 20 visit www.slspromotions.com, or call 815-344-2023.On Friday, reserved tickets for those 13-over in Sections A-D will be $35, with reserved seats in Sections AA-DD being $32. Reserved tickets for those 12-under in Sections A-D will be just $15, with seats in Sections AA-DD being $12. General admission tickets for those 13-over will be $28. General admission tickets for children ages 6-12 will just $10 and kids 5-under will be admitted free of charge.