Spotlight On: Sheldon Haudenschild

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Sheldon at Knoxville (Ken Berry Photo)Sheldon at Knoxville (Ken Berry Photo) by Jenna Prather

Sheldon Haudenschild, son of Jac and Patty Hauenschild, from Wooster, Ohio, is a 24 (25 in August) year old professional sprint car driver for Ricky Stenhouse and Richard Marshall's 17 car.

"I've got a little bit of a different ownership deal than most because I have an owner who's raced before and then I have more of the business man on the other half, so I think its been really good for our team to have those two different sides; somebody who really understands the racing side and someone who really understands the money side. It's a big benefit," Sheldon says.

Not a lot of sprint car racers have contracts or things similar, it is based on preformance and most of it is played off of by a handshake on whether a racer is hired or fired. Funnily enough, Sheldon's father, Jac, drove the car previously before Sheldon got in the seat. "It's pretty cool how that came about. Last year, they let Joey go and were looking for somebody to drive, so they hired my dad. Which was cool because I was already out on the road and we got to race 50 times together last season. Which has always kind of been a goal of ours, to be on the road together racing with the Outlaws. It was really cool that they made that happen. Then, I obviously transfered over to the car in the winter."

Getting paid a percentage of what the car makes, Sheldon travels 35,000 miles across the country with the World of Outlaws all season along with his girlfriend, Zan, dog, Pella, a motorhome, a t-shirt trailer, and his crew.

His crew consists of Tyler Swank, Drew Brenner, and Adam Clark. Adam previously worked on a crew with Bryan Clauson and Ricky Stenhouse and the plan was to race with Clauson and Stenhouse on the Outlaw tour with Richard and Jennifer and then we all know what happened to make those plans change. Tyler Swank worked with Joey last year and he and Sheldon have known each other for a long time, making it easy to work with each other, and Sheldon brought Drew on from his team last season, giving him three good guys to have as a part of his team.

"The hardest part of traveling, for me, usually just depends on the situation. I know last year that the hardest thing was trying to keep everyone happy and making sure everything was in line. This year it's more of worrying about the mental stuff. Like what I've got going on, and still keeping the guys happy, but it's just kind of trying to keep your mind right when you're doing that much traveling and that much racing."

On the flip side, all of the racing is overall his favorite part of being on the road. "Definately the racing. We get to race 95, almost a hundred, times a year and just being at the races is my favorite part."

One of his most frequently asked questions is about his father; the Haudenschild name carries a lot to live up to, but Sheldon doesn't see it as a burden or pressurizer, he just shrugs his shoulder and takes it with the best of him. "To me he's just dad. He's definately accomplished a lot, but the way I look at it is it's an advantage for me over anybody else. Having somebody in my corner with that much experience."

One of his favorite racing memories is actually with his dad. He grinned widely when he talked about being at the front of the four-wide at the King's Royal last year next to his dad.

Sheldon hadn't always wanted to be a sprint car driver. Growing up he didn't really know. He raced dirt bikes a hundred times a year since he was four before he ever even considered racing a sprint car. "I turned sixteen, dad asked me what I wanted to do, and we kinda talked about it and figured that the best case was getting a car."

And now he's been at it for ten years; you could say it runs in the family. "My dad's dad, John Haudenschild, obviously got my dad and his brother into racing which led to me and my cousin racing. On the Sweeney side (mom's side), it's a little more complicated. So, my mom's dad, Max, raced in California without the cage and then he ended up getting hurt in the caged midget and passed away. Then, her mom married another racer who raced without the cage, who was a three time CRA champion out in California. Then her brother raced. So both sides of my family had racing in their blood before my parents even knew each other."

To help him on his way to, not only live up the name, but to make a name for himself, Sheldon hopes to be apart of the top five on the points at the end of the year and if he could get the chance to pick up some more wins, he thinks that would be pretty great.

On the off-season, as short as it is, Sheldon keeps himself relatively busy. He's been racing the Chili Bowl, he went to Australia once, but doesn't plan on going back any time soon. Mainly he keeps himself relaxed in the span of those two months. Working in the shop with Jac and just hanging out with his family.

This winter he plans to race three midget races, Turkey Night Grand Prix out in Ventura, California, the Chili Bowl, and the new race in St. Louis.

So watch for this young racer who's driving style is living up to the name 'Haudenschild'. If you were ever a fan of the Wild Child then I do believe that you will become a fan of Sheldon!