Although a scheduled 410 sprint race in central Pennsylvania was called off last weekend, some York County drivers were still able to get back on the track in Iowa.
Hanover native and World of Outlaws driver Logan Schuchart and New Freedom's Robbie Kendall took part in the Outlaws’ event held at Knoxville Raceway on Friday. So did Hanover's Jacob Allen.
It was the first WoO sprint race since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The event was held without fans, and although it was unlike any event he participated in before, Schuchart was grateful for the chance to race and for his third-place finish.
“It was definitely different and weird in lots of ways,” Schuchart said. “Not having fans there it was definitely different, but it was nice to get back in a race car and get the results we had.”
Schuchart likened the event to the first race back after the sport’s winter break. It took him a few laps to warm up and get used to the feel of the car and get ready to run against the talented field of drivers.
“When you’re away for a while and you get back to a big half-mile (track) where it’s cold out and the engines are running good, when you get back to that speed again it’s eye-opening,” Schuchart said.
Kendall was also excited to be part of the sport’s return, but didn’t enjoy the success Schuchart did once the race began. Kendall said he tried a move that didn’t pan out and it unfortunately caused him to collide with another driver and wrecked both cars.
Although he is not a member of the World of Outlaws, Kendall joined the event after a successful stint as part of the organization’s virtual racing competitions while the COVID-19 pandemic kept the cars off the track.
“It was awesome to actually just get back in a race car,” Kendall said. “Even though iRacing has been fun, still it’s just a blessing to get back, climb in and feel the speed.”
Kendall said he has his eye on a few World of Outlaws events in the future and will likely compete in them if they are open for entry or an invite is extended his way.
Both Schuchart, Kendall and Allen were set to take part in the World of Outlaws iRacing event broadcast on CBS Sports Network Tuesday at 8 p.m. Allen took 23rd in the Knoxville event.
The organization announced eight more sprint-car events to be held through mid-June. Races at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on May 22 and May 23 and Lake Ozark Speedway on May 29 and May 30 in Missouri will include limited fans.
Four more events in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa in June have not been confirmed yet or the status of fan admittance has not been decided.
Another 410 sprint program was set for last Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway in Snyder County, but it wasn't held when the state would not give its approval. The central Pennsylvania track is hoping to run this coming Saturday.
While future races won’t have the same feel, with the rules designed to limit contact between participants and spectators, Schuchart is excited that the organization can provide the sport’s followers the experience they have been missing for months.
“It’s going to be strict for a while (and) people are going to have to stay away from each other,” Schuchart said. “It’s going to be some weird, strict rules that we’re all not used to, but we’re all just thankful to be able to get back in the seat and go racing and put on a show for all these fans that are missing racing as much as we are.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.