Sheldon Haudenschild Survives to Top Arrowhead’s Jason Johnson Classic

What a difference a night makes for Sheldon Haudenschild.

Friday ended in heartbreak when an incident in lapped traffic cost him a potential win at US 36 Raceway. There would be no heartbreak at Saturday night’s Jason Johnson Classic presented by FK Rod Ends.

The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars rolled into Colcord, OK to debut at Arrowhead Speedway with $20,000 on the line. Haudenschild snatched the top spot halfway through the main event and held off a fierce charge from David Gravel on the final lap.

The packed grandstands roared as Haudenschild climbed atop the Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17. Jason Johnson’s son – Jaxx – handed off the trophy in Victory Lane to an ecstatic Haudenschild.

“It’s huge,” Haudenschild said of winning the Jason Johnson Classic. “Obviously, getting to race my first couple years with Jason was a blast. Seeing Jaxx grow up over the years has been awesome. I have some good memories with Jason and love getting this trophy. I know I ran second to David (Gravel) at (Lake) Ozark, so it’s good to get him this time.”

Haudenschild’s victory was his 36th with The Greatest Show on Dirt, equaling him with Shane Stewart and Carson Macedo for 20th all-time. Arrowhead became the 23rd different track he’s won at and first in the state of Oklahoma. The Jason Johnson Classic is still yet to see a repeat winner through six editions as Haudenschild claimed his first.

Toyota Racing Dash winner – Giovanni Scelzi – led the field to green for the 30-lap Feature with Haudenschild alongside. Scelzi slid up ahead of Haudenschild on the opening circuit to secure the top spot.

As the early laps unfolded Haudenschild quickly began to flex his muscle. He kept the NOS Energy Drink machine right in the tire tracks of Scelzi’s KCP Racing #18 as they both hammered the cushion. It didn’t take long before Haudenschild fired a slider at Scelzi in Turns 3 and 4 and cleared him, but Scelzi managed to counter with a crossover to reclaim the lead.

Scelzi stared down a heavy group of lapped traffic as the halfway point neared. Behind Scelzi and Haudenschild, a rapidly charging Jacob Allen threw his name into the fight for the win. The Shark Racing driver started 10th and climbed to fourth by Lap 10.

Up front Haudenschild began to build momentum on the bottom of the racetrack while Scelzi stayed up top. The margin between the two shrank until they found themselves side by side for nearly a full rotation on Lap 16. Haudenschild used the bottom to muscle ahead and lead Lap 17.

Scelzi didn’t let Haudenschild pull too far ahead, but he quickly found himself in a three-car battle for second as David Gravel and Jacob Allen closed in. Allen snagged third on Lap 18 and looked poised to make a run at the win. On the 20th circuit Allen rolled by Scelzi for second in Turns 1 and 2. But in the next set of corners Allen slipped out of the groove opening the door for both Gravel and Scelzi to drive under him exiting Turn 4. The trio roared three-wide down the front straightaway, and Scelzi made contact with Allen’s left front entering Turn 1. The resulting damage to Allen’s car knocked him out of the race and brought out a yellow flag.

The caution set the stage for a 10-lap dash to the finish. When the green flag flew, Haudenschild wasted no time darting ahead of Gravel to get some breathing room.

The closing laps waned, and Haudenschild appeared as if he may cruise to the $20,000 payday, but lapped traffic became a factor. Haudenschild managed to sneak by a slower car with three laps to go but slipped up in Turns 1 and 2 as the next lap began, allowing Gravel to close on his tail tank.

The white flag flew, and Gravel drove the Big Game Motorsports #2 to Haudenschild’s outside in Turns 1 and 2 and nearly nosed ahead. Haudenschild powered ahead slightly down the back straightaway. Gravel threw one last Hail Mary in Turns 3 and 4 and briefly pulled alongside again, but Haudenschild’s speed on corner exit was too strong as he sped away to the checkered flag.

The joy of the win helped erase the dejection of the night before.

“After nights like last night, it’s tough,” Haudenschild admitted. “So, to rebound and get a win is great. We know we’ve been fast, so our spirit has been good. It’s always good beating the #2 (Gravel). He’s so good this year and all the past years.”

Gravel was in good spirits despite coming up just short of back-to-back victories after topping Friday’s visit to US 36. The Watertown, CT native has caught fire with four consecutive top two finishes, and his point lead has ballooned to 40 markers. Gravel thought he might be able to drive by for the win on the final lap but couldn’t quite find the speed needed.

“You had to conserve some tires, and I was saving there for a little bit at the end,” Gravel said. “I thought I was maybe going to be able to get him (Haudenschild) on the bottom in (Turns) 1 and 2 then he moved down. That one lapped car I lost a lot of time with and wasn’t able to clear him. Then I was able to get around the #7S and thought I was going to be able to go around him in (Turns) 1 and 2 and just couldn’t quite clear him. Man, the guys have been giving me a great race car. It’s been fun driving the past couple weeks.”

After leading early, Giovanni Scelzi completed the top three. The result marked Scelzi’s third podium of the season and served as a nice bounce back after two straight subpar showings for the KCP #18.

“I couldn’t tell in (Turns) 3 and 4 if I needed to get all the way down or just move a lane off the cushion,” Scelzi said. “I don’t know. It sucks. Obviously, they’re (Haudenschild and Gravel) veterans. They have a lot more laps than me. They just drove smarter races.”

Logan Schuchart and Carson Macedo completed the top five.

David Gravel grabbed his first Simpson Quick Time of the year and the 111th of his career.

A 24th to 14th run earned Chris Windom the KSE Racing Hard Charger.

NOS Energy Drink Heats One, Three, and Four belonged to David Gravel, Sheldon Haudenschild, and Brian Brown. Milton Hershey School Heat Two went to Giovanni Scelzi.

Landon Crawley claimed the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars invade Pevely, MO’s Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 for two nights of bullring action on April 12-13. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.


NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps): 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[2]; 2. 2-David Gravel[6]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[1]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[3]; 5. 41-Carson Macedo[5]; 6. 24-Rico Abreu[8]; 7. 83-Michael Kofoid[7]; 8. 21-Brian Brown[4]; 9. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[12]; 10. 39M-Anthony Macri[13]; 11. 15-Donny Schatz[15]; 12. 41S-Dominic Scelzi[19]; 13. 25-Kerry Madsen[16]; 14. 55-Chris Windom[24]; 15. 88T-Tanner Thorson[14]; 16. 70-Kraig Kinser[20]; 17. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[18]; 18. 17B-Bill Balog[17]; 19. 83SR-James McFadden[11]; 20. 88-Austin McCarl[22]; 21. 24D-Danny Sams III[23]; 22. 7S-Landon Crawley[21]; 23. 1A-Jacob Allen[10]; 24. 23-Garet Williamson[9]

For full results, CLICK HERE.

DIRTcar Series PR