W. FARGO, N.D. – Jac Haudenschild might have to change his nickname from “The Wild Child” to “The Rough Rider,” the moniker of North Dakota, where the Wooster, Ohio native dominated the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions event at Red River Valley Speedway Wednesday.
The win is Haudenschild’s first with the UNOH All Stars since 2006 and is his 23rd overall with the series, moving him into 24th on the all-time win list just one way away from tying Sammy Swindell and Keith Kauffman. Haudenschild becomes the 19th different UNOH All Star winner in 2012 with his first series win of 2012.
“I have to thank Tom Liedig for putting me in this car,” said Haudenschild beside the Auto Electric Jupiter/Motter Equipment/Dan and Ruth Motter backed Maxim. “The car was really quick tonight on an awesome race track. I didn’t know if Paul (McMahan) or anyone was coming, so I just ran it as hard as I could and we ended up on top.”
It was a wild night at Red River valley, as the evening began with a quick rain shower that delayed the start of the program. However, the rain, along with several recent improvements to the facility, provided a lightning quick surface on the 3/8th mile dirt oval. McMahan established a new track record before a second rain shower halted qualifying two-thirds of the way through the order. When the shower passed, the cars returned to the track for a quick session of hot laps, followed with a single lap of qualifying. McMahan once again set the standard in the Tom Buch owned machine with a
new track record of 12.045 seconds.
McMahan would continue his strong night by leading all six laps of the Outerwears Performance Parts Dash, holding off a strong challenge from Haudenschild for the win to earn the pole position of the feature. But, when the green flew for the 30-lap feature, it was Haudenschild who seized command with McMahan trying to keep pace with Cap Henry and “The Hammer” David Gravel in pursuit. The race came to a halt on lap four when Henry slowed going down the backstretch. Local standout Mark Dobmeier couldn’t avoid Henry and flipped the Lunstra/Dobmeier #13L.
On the restart Haudenschild once again pulled away and hometown favorite Donny Schatz – fresh off his sixth Knoxville Nationals win – took over third in the family-owned #15 powered by the Alternative 410 Motor Program engine. Unfortunately, his night would come to an end just three laps later when a mechanical failure forced him pitside.
Another red flag stopped brought the field back to Haudenschild, but when the green reappeared, he continued to set a blistering pace. At one point, Haudenschild jumped the cushion in turn three and still maintained a sizable advantage.
At the half-way point the running order was Haudenschild, McMahan, Gravel, Stevie Smith and Jason Sides.
When Haudenschild was racing through lapped traffic, Gravel worked his P&M Transportation #89G up to challenge McMahan for second, grabbing the position on lap 22. Smith started the CL Motorsports #19 eighth and took third from McMahan a lap later.
The final stoppage of the race came on lap 23 when disaster struck Gravel. He was trying to work through lapped traffic when contact resulted in a broken front axle. This started a chain reaction accident and brought out the third and final red flag.
Haudenschild had no problems the final seven laps with a clear track, while Smith and McMahan completed the podium.
“Fargo used to be the big half-mile track and now they’ve got it quite a bit smaller. I enjoy those too,” added Haudenschild. “They had the track really nice tonight…good and heavy. So I think starting up front played to our advantage. I’d say it was our first heavy track all season. It was a great race track tonight and just goes to show you what can happen when a track works on them a little bit.”
For Smith, the 2009 and 2012 Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion, a second place run continued his recent consistent finished.
“We’re still getting very consistent results and that is absolutely key,” said Smith of his DDNi/CJB Motorsports/Spectro Oils/KPC machine. “When we look at our finishes, it’s really good to see long streaks of great finishes because that’s what wins you championships. We’re not running for a season long title this year, but 2013 is a whole different animal.”
“We got a little bit behind in time trials but we still made the dash,” continued Smith, who has 34 top10′s so far in 2012. “Time Trials continue to be the most important part of the night. Where you get slotted in at has a lot to do with the amount of success you’ll have at the track.”
“My hat goes off to the Schatz family. They worked hard to give us a good place to race tonight. They were looking at trying to give us a great surface to race on and then Mother Nature added just a little bit more. We all had to race on the same surface and I hope the fans enjoyed it. It seemed like a heck of a race,” added Smith. “The surface here was a lot like Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) in that it was very wet and tacky. I think the rain ended up helping the surface a lot because the wind was fierce all day long and it kept that moisture locked in for a long time. Our car going until about 10 laps in…we didn’t seem to take off well. But, after a few laps, we were one of the fastest cars on the track. I
don’t think we had anything for Jac because he was in his own zipcode. We did have some great battles with David Gravel and Paul McMahan.”
McMahan was also pleased with his third place run.
“All in all it was a good night and I really want to thank Tom Buch for letting me bring his car out here,” said McMahan. “The track was in terrific shape. We were fast early and set the track record twice on a night when I earned my first fast qualifier award of the year. If you had your race car right, this was one of the best tracks we’ve had all year. We
were good, but just got bottled up there with some lapped traffic and lost second.”
Sides, who won his first UNOH All Star feature two weeks earlier, would come home fourth ahead of three time UNOH All Star Champion Tim Shaffer, who started 13th. Shaffer would clinch the UNOH All Stars’ Great Plains Region championship and its $10,000 prize.