After qualifying ended on Wednesday night at the Knoxville Nationals, the No. 1S car sat at the top of the scoring pole in the middle of turns three and four at the track. Logan Schuchart had just qualified himself to first place at the famed Knoxville Raceway during the first event of Nationals weekend.
Scaled: Logan Schuchart redeems himself after mistake
Schuchart had a fast car, and although an invert of eight kept him from transferring straight to the night’s A-Main, he was a threat to win. All Schuchart had to do was race through the B-Main, finish in the top four, and then he would secure his spot in the A-Main, along with a decent spot in the point standings that would put him in Saturday’s big show.
Schuchart did nearly all of that. The Hanover, PA native battled with 10-time Knoxville Nationals champion Donny Schatz in the B-Main, passing the veteran and taking the win in the transfer race. Though, after the race, Schuchart made a big mistake.
He forgot to drive over the scales for Knoxville officials to check to make sure his car weighed the correct amount.
“I just didn’t think I had to go,” Schuchart said. “They call it a drivers meeting for a reason and I guess I wasn’t paying attention at it. They tell you where you’re supposed to go, and I’ve been here in year’s passed and I should know that. That was my fault and that’s the driver’s responsibility.”
Schuchart came back to his pit while the announcement blared over the loud speakers at the track
“The 1S did not come to the scales and is disqualified for the night. Again the 1S is disqualified for not hitting the scales.”
Schuchart didn’t expect a warm welcome.
“I expected to come in and have [my team] all be mad at me and not talk to me or whatever,” Schuchart said. “They just went right back to work, they started working on the car to get it ready for [Friday].”
The team’s work paid off. The 1S was again the fastest car on the track during qualifying, running a 15.607. After winning his heat race, Schuchart started on the front row of Friday night’s A-Main next to fan-favorite, Brian Brown.
“They gave me a great race car and I was able to come out tonight and come back swinging,” Schuchart said. “My guys have worked their butts off all year long to get to this point.”
Schuchart battled with Brown during the first 10-laps of the feature, eventually surrendering the lead to the Missouri native. However, after a short battle, Schuchart managed to pull away. The Shark Racing car would cross the finish line first and punch his ticket to the Knoxville Nationals main event.
“We’re trying to forget about that and we’re in the A-Main,” Schuchart said. “We’re lucky to be there, and we’re happy to be there. It’s a long 50 laps.”
Schuchart will start the race in the 17th spot. The record for the furthest back a winner in the event started is P21 by Schatz in 2013. However, before that, it had been P14 for over 40 years. Though, Schuchart isn’t thinking about that.
“It’s just cool to be up here and give our team another chance to race our way up in the biggest sprint car race in the world,” Schuchart said. “We’ve had a fast race car all week. We’re starting in the back, and there’s a lot of good cars. But I feel like we have a very good shot at racing our way to the front. We can race with those guys in the back.”
Now, Schuchart becomes one of the dark horse picks to win the 58th annual Nationals. When asked what it would mean to actually come from P17 to take the win on Saturday, the Shark Racing driver didn’t know what to say.
“That’s hard to put into words,” Schuchart said. “This is the biggest race that we race in. Just the prestige of the Knoxville Nationals, this is what you dream about as a kid. I wouldn’t be able to put it into words until it actually happens. We’re just going to do the best we can to get up there, and if it happens, I’ll let you know.”
2018 Knoxville Nationals A-Main Starting Lineup
1. Brad Sweet
2. Chad Kemenah
3. Kyle Larson
4. Donny Schatz
5. Aaron Reutzel
6. Kerry Madsen
7. Tim Shaffer
8. Carson Macedo
9. Gio Scelzi
10. Tim Kaeding
11. Ian Madsen
12. Jacob Allen
13. Rico Abreu
14. Greg Hodnett
15. Shane Stewart
16. Terry McCarl
17. Logan Schuchart
18. Brian Brown
19. Paul McMahan
20. Matt Juhl
21. B-Main Transfer No. 1
22. B-Main Transfer No. 2
23. B-Main Transfer No. 3
24. B-Main Transfer No. 4
25. Dominic Scelzi