Fan Notes from Wayne County WoO Show

Friday, September 25, 2020
(Tom Myers) Orrville, Ohio – The long awaited, much anticipated, once postponed World of Outlaws race at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio finally got underway this evening and it was all worth the wait. The last time the Outlaws were here was 1984 and 1985. The 84 race saw 3rd place running, Bobby Davis Jr. grab the win when leaders Sammy Swindell and Steve Kinser tangled in turn 3 and spun each other out. The 1985 race, if I recall correctly, was all Steve Kinser as he ran away from the field for the win.

This year’s race was all about Haud Nation. This place is the home track for Jac and Sheldon and the crowd was crazy stoked about it to say the least. There were Sheldon Haudenschild pictures and banners and T-shirts and hats everywhere. It seemed like half the people there were Haudenschild family members! Loud applause and cheers were heard when the local heroes were being pushed out for motor heat! It made for a really fun evening, that’s for sure, and the expectation was for Sheldon or Jac to bring home the win.

I left work around 3:30 to head straight to the track because I knew the crowd would be there early and in large numbers. I didn’t leave early enough. I should have headed to the track at noon! Maybe I should have purchased a camper and camped out there all week in the parking lot! The gates opened at 3 and when I got there at 4 the parking lot was full! The parking helpers had just given up. I pulled into the main entrance as they were leaving. I asked them what to do and they said there was no more space to park anyone! So, I went back to the end of the street and parked behind someone’s house and paid $5.00 to do so. Other parking areas outside the track and closest to the main entrance were charging $20.00 to park!
Rico Abreu and Jason Sides visit with a young fanRico Abreu and Jason Sides visit with a young fan Campers and RVs were everywhere. Campsites were roped off and corn-hole games were going and smoke filled the air from all the grilling and footballs were flying in the air. I had to weave and navigate and go around and through the sea of campers and roped off areas to even get to the pit gate. I mean, the atmosphere and the number of people here made it feel like a super huge event like the Kings Royal or Knoxville Nationals. It was electric.

The weather was sunny with a slight breeze and temperatures were in the mid 70’s and there was no threat of rain all evening. At 4:30, the track crew was putting an awful lot of water on the surface and it looked great. The grandstands were half full with people, and the rest of the bleachers had blankets on them. The place was jam packed with people milling about and there were still lines of people waiting to get in. The lines at the ticket booth and pit gate were long…..well after time trials had started. The crowd kept coming and there were people standing everywhere! There were souvenir trailers everywhere. There were food vendors too. I must say that I saw some really cool looking corn-hole boards for sale. Slick smooth surfaces with a picture of Sheldon or Jac and I saw one with Henry Malcuit pictured at speed as well. I want one! And I think it was this particular company, Slick Woody’s Cornhole Company out of North Canton, Ohio, that pitched in to increase the winner’s share to $15,000 for this race as well as bump the prize money to $1,000 to start the race. Nice job and thank you Slick Woody’s! While in the pits, I saw that one of the companies we do business with was sponsoring Rico Abreu’s car for this race. Davis Door Company out of Norton, Ohio, was proudly displayed on the hood of Rico’s car. Nice job Davis Door!
Spencer BaystonSpencer Bayston There were 49 cars on hand, a great field of cars. In addition to the regular Outlaw followers, notable racers on hand were Daryn Pittman in the Heffner 72, Spencer Bayston driving the Roth 83 that Pittman had vacated, Rico Abreu, Shane Stewart, Kerry Madsen, Tim Shaffer, James McFadden, Cap Henry, who has won at least 2 big races here this year, Cale Conley, Jac Haudenschild, and Hunter Schurenburg. The racing surface was tacky and fast all night long. The track was wide right from the start with some going high and some in the middle. As the evening wore on, drivers could race anywhere, high, low or in the middle and the track was still grippy with no dust!

I was able to find a few spaces not covered with blankets up where we normally sit. Pops joined me a little later and we were glad to be seated almost at the top. About the time hot laps started, a mom and her little boy showed up and they sat right behind us, with the folks that were already there. The little child was a sweetie for sure…but being 3 years old or so, he was a bundle of motion. Needless to say Pops and I endured a constant barrage of elbows, knees, shoes and whatever else to our backs, ribs, arms and heads…. as the mom struggled to keep the child still. I can endure such things but Pops, being grumpy and intolerant, was not very happy! Ha Ha

The track was still a bit greasy for hot laps. They ended up having 2 flights of hot laps and qualifications. I don’t follow the Outlaws as closely as some other groups simply because I don’t get to see them race much in person, so I don’t know if this was normal or something special. Half the cars ran hot laps and then timed. Then they did the other half of the cars, having them hot lap and then time trial. And I like the way the Outlaws did the time trials. They had 2 cars time at once. They pushed them out on the front straight and then Johnny Gibson said a few things about each driver and then they pushed off and timed. I liked that because I could hear Johnny and this also brought some excitement and highlighted the drivers a bit more, made it seem like a big deal. Good presentation.
Sheldon in Victory Lane at Wayne CountySheldon in Victory Lane at Wayne County Sheldon grabbed fast time overall, much to the raucous approval of the fans. Abreu timed 2nd fastest and Donny Schatz was the third fastest. There would be 4 heats, each heat being 8 laps with the 5 top cars going to the feature. There was also a non-qualifiers heat and the top 4 from that started at the tails of the regular heats. As it turned out, it seemed like there was more opportunity for some guys to race with the Outlaws format and I thought that was cool. If you don’t qualify, you have a heat race and then if you are top 4 in that, you have a regular heat race. Then a C main or B main awaits you depending on how you do.

I don’t always eat donuts. But when I do, it’s because I have to take my medicine with food and the regular concession stand line is too long and I don’t want to miss the heat races. Lerch’s donuts are made fresh and they are good. They are famous around here and tonight I was glad they were at the track! Also, the lady that took my donut order was beautiful! Man, was she pretty!

The first heat consisted of 11 cars and was 8 laps and the finish was Sheldon Haudenschild winning followed by Sweet, Carson Macedo, Gravel and Bayston. Shaffer and McFadden missed the transfer. On the last lap Sheldon slowed down after exiting turn 4 but stilled crossed the finish line first. I thought maybe a drive line let go but everything seemed fine back in the pits. In heat 2 the finish was Madsen, Abreu, Kinser, Chris Myers and Spithaler. Spithaler and Henry raced hard, exchanging spots the last 2 laps with Spithaler making a great move to grab the 5th spot back. In the 3rd heat the finish was Schatz, Pittman, Martin, Jac and Sides. Both Allen drivers, Schuchart and Jacob Allen missed the transfer spots. The 4th heat finish is Parker Price-Miller in first followed by, Stewart Conley, Schurenburg and Dean Jacobs. Mason Daniel wins the C main. The dash was next and it was exciting as Sheldon comes from 6th to take 3rd. The crowd went wild to see the passing as Sheldon was blowing around the top. The finish was Sweet, Stewart, Sheldon, Schatz, Pittman, Price-Miller, Madsen and Abreu. The 12 lap B main had some good drivers in it. Henry Malcuit wins it followed by Schuchart, Henry, McFadden, Wayne Johnson and Tim Shaffer. Shaffer faded after starting in the 2nd row.

And now onto the feature. Jacob Allen and Wayne Johnson both take provisionals and start 25th and 26th. The track is still tacky and wide. At the start Sweet grabs the lead as Stewart follows and Sheldon is not far behind. Briefly Price-Miller passes Sheldon for 3rd but Sheldon races back by. On lap 5 Stewart goes around Sweet on the high side at the turn 2 exit and into the lead. That 71 car has won a few races here at Wayne County the last few years and it’s always fast no matter who drives it. And of course Shane Stewart knows his way around here too. There was a yellow on lap 6 and then the dreaded double file restart. I don’t like them. On the restarts you can notice the camera drone flying overhead and racing along with the cars as they scream down the straights! Sheldon gets a good run on the restart and passes Sweet and sets sail for Stewart. Then on lap 11, Stewart bobbles and jumps up the track in turn 1 and 2 and Sheldon is there to pounce and goes right by for the lead. Sheldon would run away with it the rest of the way. The crowd went wild! If Stewart doesn’t bobble there, he may have been able to hold Sheldon off……….mmmm, nah, on second thought, nope. Sweet gets back around Stewart about midway through but Stewart passes him back to take the 2nd spot for good. The finish was Sheldon, Stewart, Sweet, Schatz, Abreu, Price-Miller, Martin, Carson Macedo, Gravel and Pittman. Amazingly, Pittman, who was the 5th starter, had to exit the track before the race started and went to the work area. He came back out and wanted the 5th spot back but they moved him to the tail. So he started dead last and made it up the 10th by the end of the race!

Thank you World of Outlaws for a great time and a great show! Thank you Wayne County Speedway and thank you Jason and Kristen Flory for having a World of Outlaws sprint race and for a great racing surface all evening and a great time. What an electric atmosphere and a huge crowd and a great race and a really enjoyable evening. Let’s do it again!