Area drivers put up some strong finishes during sprint action in Florida

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Donny Schatz, seen here in a file photo, won a World of Outlaws race Thursday in Florida.

The outdoor sprint season kicked off last weekend in Florida.

The World of Outlaws got in three days of racing at the Volusia County Speedway near Daytona.

The All Stars, however, were unable to present any of their early southern shows.

The All Stars were washed out in Georgia the weekend before and the rain seemed to follow the circuit to Volusia. The All Stars were set for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Volusia, but heavy rain on Tuesday washed out that program and left the ground too saturated for the Wednesday show.

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The track was ready for Thursday’s World of Outlaws opener, however, and multi-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz raced to victory in that program. Schatz’s win that night came over defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, with Aaron Reutzel, David Gravel and Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri in the top five.

The next night, Sheldon Haudenschild edged Gravel for the win, with Brad Sweet, Carson Macedo and Hanover’s Jacob Allen in the top five.

David Gravel, seen here in a file photo, won a World of Outlaws race Saturday in Florida.

The final night on Saturday saw Gravel pick up the win over local racer Brent Marks. James McFadden, Haudenschild and Sweet completed the top five that night.

Drivers from the area fared pretty well during the Volusia races. Marks’ second-place run was the best by local drivers in the three-day show.  He also had finishes of 12th on Thursday and 11th on Friday.

Macri started off the week well but faded as the days went on. He finished 13th on Friday and was listed 24th on Saturday.

Allen had finishes of 23rd on Thursday and 12th on Saturday to go with his fifth-place run on Friday.

His uncle, Logan Schuchart, also from Hanover, started the series with a seventh-place run on Thursday, was credited with 25th on Friday and came back for ninth on Saturday.

Brock Zearfoss, like Schuchart and Allen, a local driver who competes full time with the Outlaws, made the show all three nights with finishes of 17th, 14th and 11th.

Danny Dietrich had a 15th-place run Thursday and an 18th-place finish Saturday.

Racing in Florida continues this week. The All Stars try again on Monday and Tuesday at the East Bay Raceway near Tampa. When the All Stars leave East Bay, the 360 sprints move in for their nationals, which run from Thursday through Saturday.

The nonwing United States Auto Club National Series of sprint cars is at Bubba’s Raceway near Ocala from Thursday through Saturday.

PIT STOPS

Catching up: Last week, I mentioned some of the restored cars that were on display at the Racing Xtravaganza at the York Expo Center. 

I thought I’d take a little time here to talk about two of those cars that gained the attention of the fans and the judges during the show.

Van May’s sprint car and the Gary Stuhler late model were both eye catchers, but both were also cars with a long history.

May’s sprint car is the only car he used during his long and colorful career that he actually built himself from the ground up. He raced the car for several years in the mid-to-late 1970s. It is the car he used to win the 150-lap Williams Grove National Open.

When May moved on to other cars, he put this frame, at the time bent and twisted from years of use, in the loft above his garage. It sat there for a number of years before he passed it on to his longtime sponsor, J. Bob Benchoff.

When May decided he wanted to restore a race car, he went looking for his old frame. Benchoff had passed on, but his family still had the car. They worked things out, with May agreeing to restore the car to the way it looked when Benchoff was the sponsor.

During its life span, the car had been raced with coil-over-spring front suspension and also with a torsion-bar front suspension. It won the National Open with torsion bars but has been restored to its original coil over suspension.

May says that he was able to come up with many original pieces for the car, including the original fuel-injection system, which had actually been purchased by his brother Dub all the way back in 1968.

The Gary Stuhler late model was restored by the Dillon brothers, perhaps best known as former racer Kenny and his brother Steve, who are the sons of noted former columnist and publicity person Stan Dillon.

The car was found in a Virginia barn in almost the same condition as it was when Stuhler raced it in the 1990s. The man who had purchased the car had only raced it a few times, changing the driver’s side door to make it easier to for him to get into the car.

The Dillons say that only that door and a front fender are replacement body parts. All the others are original from when Stuhler raced the car.

It should also be noted that this is the third Stuhler car that has been restored.

Motorama this weekend: The Motorama Show will be held this weekend at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.

Motorama combines indoor auto racing with most anything else car related. 

There is indoor arena cross for motorcycles and indoor racing for go karts and quarter midgets during the weekend.

The Motorama show runs Saturday from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Reach Bryan Householder at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.