Story By: NICK GRAZIANO / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – ATTICA, OH – Sheldon Haudenschild doesn’t just want to win at Eldora Speedway, he feels like he needs to.
The half-mile speedway, located in Rossburg, Ohio, is a home track for the Wooster, Ohio-native. And it’s a track his father, Jac Haudenschild, has won at nine times with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series — including three Kings Royal victories.
“Every year Eldora is on my win list,” Sheldon Haudenschild said. “I feel like I need to win there. I feel like I’m capable of it. Just need to make it happen.”
After racing Tuesday in the Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic at Attica Raceway Park, he’ll have four attempts at an Eldora Speedway win this week — #LetsRaceTwo on July 17, Jokers Wild on July 18, Knight Before the Kings Royal on July 19 and the $175,000-to-win Kings Royal on July 20.
To win, he’ll have to compete against his hero — his dad.
“I love racing with my dad,” Haudenschild said. “Just having him at the track, I feel like my mood is better. It’s hard not to be happy around my dad, he’s always happy.”
The sentiment is shared by Jac. While he doesn’t run many races with his son, Jac Haudenschild said when he does it’s always fun. And when he does, you’re guaranteed to find the two together.
“It’s definitely good to have another guy to talk to and see what he’s feeling on the track and what he sees, too,” Sheldon Haudenschild said.
But on track, both Haudenschilds see each other as just another driver.
“He’s definitely just another guy out there,” Sheldon Haudenschild said. “I know he’s definitely not going to cut me any slack and I can’t either.”
For Jac, he said he races everyone same. He’ll race them how they race him. No matter who it is.
He doesn’t always lend much advice to Sheldon, either. Not because he’s trying to withhold something. Because he knows Sheldon already has the knowledge he needs.
“He’s watched me for years race,” Jac Haudenschild said. “He’s been around racing all of his life. He’s paid pretty close attention. He’s doing a pretty good job.”
Sheldon spent his rookie year in the World of Outlaws in 2017 driving for his dad. He finished seventh in points and earned the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award. The following year he was hired by Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing to drive the NOS Energy Drink No. 17 car and picked up five wins.
The first half of his 2019 season saw highs and lows with a few podium finishes, but no wins. He changed that at the start of the second half by out running 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz to win at Cedar Lake Speedway — his sixth career Series victory.
“It’s been fun watching him,” said 72-time World of Outlaws winner Jac Haudenschild. “He’s got a good ride.”
Before going head-to-head at Eldora, on Tuesday the Haudenschild father and son duo will both be searching for their first win at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio.
“I’ve got a lot of laps at Attica,” Sheldon Haudenschild said. “I’m looking forward to Attica. We’ve been close there. Led some Outlaw laps there in my own car.”
While neither have won the Brady Doty Classic at the 1/3-mile track, Jac knows what it’s like to win in his home state. Sheldon is still searching for that honor.
“It’s pretty good,” Jac Haudenschild said about winning in Ohio. “It’s always good to have won in front of your home crowd of fans.”
Whether it’s at Attica or Eldora, Sheldon would like to experience winning at home, too. He’s most eager to get one at Eldora, though.
He failed to transfer to the Feature at Eldora in May, but with four nights of racing in-a-row at the speedway, Sheldon Haudenschild said he thinks the extra day on track will help him get more comfortable there.
While Jac has won at the speedway several times, Sheldon said his dad hasn’t really given him too much advice about the track. Watching his dad race there for years is all the advice he needs. However, he acknowledged implementing what he’s seen his dad do isn’t always easy to materialize.
“I feel like last year when I ran third at the Knight Before the Kings Royal is probably my best run there,” Sheldon Haudenschild said. “I don’t think we followed it up very well the second night. But I know I got speed there and I feel like I can run that place right. It’s just putting a night together.”
This year, they’ll have to piece together four solid nights — due to the second May #LetsRaceTwo event being postponed by rain and being moved to July. To be successful all four nights, Jac Haudenschild said it’s going to take a strong motor program and a good team.
Doing so could lead to the unprecedented $175,000 payday on Saturday. The Kings Royal’s winning purse had been $50,000 since the event started in 1984. Jac Haudenschild’s winnings from his three Kings Royal victories don’t even top the new winning amount.
“That’s nice, you know,” Jac Haudenschild said. “It’s paid fifty thousand (dollars) for years. It’s pretty much just been the same purse for a long time. So, looking forward to the one hundred and seventy-five (thousand dollars) this year. We always look forward to going back to Eldora and look forward to going back there again this year.”
Racing is all the Jac and Sheldon ever done. Both want to win just as bad as the other. Whether it’s Attica or Eldora, neither is going to lay down for the other. But that racing passion won’t stop them from still being father and son.
“My dad is one of my heroes and someone I look up to,” Sheldon Haudenschild said. “It’s really cool everything he’s done, but to me he is just my dad. I’m very fortunate to have a dad that’s done a lot of things in a Sprint Car.”