Underdog is a word that is often used in sports. It can refer to an unranked college football team beating a ranked opponent or a higher seed making a run in the NCAA tournament. In motorsports, it often is used when a low budget team goes up against and beats the “big dogs”. On the World of Outlaws circuit, Shark Racing has defied the odds in recent seasons, embracing the underdog roll and often defying the odds on a regular basis.
The Hanover, PA-based team has run with the Outlaws over the past three seasons, steadily improving each year. They are racing out of the same hauler team owner and Sprint Car Hall of Famer, Bobby “Scuffy” Allen, won the 1990 Knoxville Nationals out of. The Sharks have prided themselves on hard work, with only two full-time crew members for two cars, when most big teams have at least three crew members per car.
Through all of this, 2016 was a breakout season for Shark Racing and their drivers Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen. Schuchart broke through with his first career WoO win at Cedar Lake Speedway, in Wisconsin, and added another victory later in the season in front of his home state fans at Port Royal in Pennsylvania. Allen continued to improve in his third Outlaw season, racking up two Top 5 runs and ten Top 10 finishes. The team combined for 22 Top 5’s, 49 Top 10’s and 2 Quick Time Awards. Jacob Allen put himself in the win column at Susquehanna Speedway, which was his first career 410 Sprint Car win.
More important than all the statistics and accomplishments, the small family owned team from PA proved they could run up front with the big boys on a consistent basis and win races. Fans and media alike have been trying to pin point who is the biggest competition to Donny Schatz and who could take the championship from his grasp. Shark Racing may be the WoO equivalent of an underdog, but they have also established themselves as championship favorites for 2017 and years to come.