ATTICA, Ohio — After nearly giving it all away, spinning in front of the entire feature field while leading on lap eight at Attica Raceway Park, Sheldon Haudenschild worked back to the top spot and around a pair of Ohio veterans to win the inaugural Dirt Classic Ohio.
The win, Haudenschild’s seventh of the season with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, was worth $10,000 and tied for the series lead in victories with defending champion Dale Blaney.
Attica Raceway Park track champion Byron Reed finished second during the Dirt Classic Ohio main event, followed by Blaney, Pennsylvania invader Brent Marks and Craig Mintz.
“The big thing was keeping myself in the race during the first half,” Haudenschild said. “After that spin, I just needed to regroup, keep my tires from spinning, and really focus on hitting my marks. I’m just really proud of my guys and what they do for this race team. We work as hard as we can to win races. That is what keeps us on the road. We had a blast tonight. Hopefully we can move to Wayne County tomorrow and create a similar outcome.”
Originally scheduled to start on the outside of row two, Haudenschild was moved to the outside pole position by virtue of a false start by Reed during the initial green flag. The pilot of the Southern Pacific Farms/Finzer Farms/Haudenschild Racing No. 93 jumped to the early advantage using the top line of the speedway, leading lap one over Blaney and Tim Shaffer.
For the first eight circuits, Haudenschild seemed invincible; leaning against Attica’s curb at the top of the speedway, now maintaining an advantage over Dale Blaney and Byron Reed, who snuck by Shaffer with just three laps in the books.
On his way to completing lap nine, disaster nearly struck, however.
Haudenschild looped it in front of the field while attempting to negotiate traffic, but luckily was able to maintain control of the car while staying in the throttle, eventually completing a 360-degree spin to keep his spot in the running order without bringing out a caution.
Blaney would inherit the top spot, followed by Reed and Haudenschild.
Despite the near-total loss, Haudenschild quickly worked his way back up the running order, driving back by Blaney on the low side during a battle in traffic with 15 laps in the books to take over the runner-up position.
After working beyond Blaney, Haudenschild set his focus back on the point position, returning his momentum to the very topside of the speedway. By lap 20, Haudenschild raced to the back bumper of Reed, eventually driving by the eight-time Attica Raceway Park track champion with a textbook slide job between turns three and four.
At that point, the race was Haudenschild’s to lose as he opened up a near-straightaway advantage even during traffic. The second-generation racer went on to score his 13th career Arctic Cat All Star victory.
“I just pinned the throttle and kept it running,” Haudenschild said regarding his spin. “I knew at this track, even if you spin and keep your momentum, you have a good shot to recover and still get it done. The track was just awesome, ya know? Hats off to the track prep team. Everything this car makes goes right back into the crew and car. We need to win races like this to keep us going.”
Reed raced inside the top five during the entire 40-lap main event, leading seven laps before finishing second to Haudenschild.
“With the track having a curb, we knew going in that Sheldon (Haudenschild) was going to be good,” Reed explained. “He’s really good on a racetrack like this. At least we were able to beat Blaney.”
Blaney’s third-place finish was just enough to put him back on top in the current Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions title chase by six points over Chad Kemenah.
Matt Foos won the 305 sprint car feature and Ryan Markham topped the late model main event.