Dave Blaney Sends Sprint Car World Crazy with Last-Lap Pass at Sharon

Dave Blaney. (Trent Gower photo)

From Brian Walker

HARTFORD, Ohio (May 22, 2021) – The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series ended a 14-year absence from Sharon Speedway on Saturday night, and promptly delivered the most magical moment of the 2021 season.

Dave Blaney, at 58-years-old, stunned Sheldon Haudenschild with a last-lap pass to score his 95th career victory at the track he owns in his home town of Hartford, Ohio. It was a storybook ending that sent his local crowd and the entire sprint car world into pandemonium.

As the 1995 World of Outlaws champion climbed from his car, chants of “BLANEY! BLANEY! BLANEY!” erupted.

You could actually feel the bleachers shaking as the decibels rose and fans sprinted to victory lane. It was a special moment for Blaney, who rose to fame as a Sprint Car legend in his prime during the 1990’s and now beat them again in the year 2021 with his own car.

“I feel like I had a Sprint Car career in the 90’s, but I don’t anymore,” Blaney explained. “I just come out and play, nowadays. It’s not lost on me that winning a World of Outlaws race in this day and age is giant; especially at a track I’m part-owner at. The response was just overwhelming.”

The historical significant of Blaney’s triumph is nothing to sell short.

He set the record for longest gap between World of Outlaws wins, striking at Sharon 23 years, 7 months, 2 days after his last victory at Southern New Mexico Speedway on October 21, 1997. He also broke the record for longest gap between a first and last career victory, making it 36 years, 1 month, 16 days between his April 5, 1985 win at Tri-City (IL) Speedway and Saturday’s score.

Blaney also came close to being the oldest winner in the history of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. He topped Sharon’s Outlaw return at the age of 58 years, 6 months, 29 days. The record still belongs to Sammy Swindell, winning Eldora in 2014 at 58 years, 8 months, 16 days.

The best part of it all? Blaney wasn’t even surprised.

“Yeah, I can believe it actually,” Blaney told DIRTVision’s Chase Raudman. “I thought we had a car that could come here and be competitive. We’ve raced here quite a few times with this car and it’s ran really well. To have it actually work out is pretty crazy, though. This is really awesome.”

Coming back in the year 2021 and doing it against today’s modern crop of Outlaws is something that gives Blaney an extra sense of appreciation.

“This is such a proud moment for us,” Blaney admitted. “This is a car we built ourselves and we just beat the Outlaws. Holy crap. It’s a dream come true, and it happened at my home track.”

Blaney’s sudden victory stole the spotlight from Sheldon Haudenschild, who dominated the Feature for the opening 30 laps. By the halfway point, the NOS Energy Drink #17 has built a massive 7+ second lead and lapped inside the top-ten. He was gone, and yet another win was in the bag, but the caution flew for a slowing Aaron Reutzel on Lap 31.

It gave Blaney the one opportunity he needed, and he capitalized on it.

“I knew that was my only chance,” Blaney said. “That caution saved us, no doubt. I could see him up there and the lappers were catching him on the bottom, so the top was slowing down. He wasn’t going to move off it, so I thought I had a chance if I could get alongside him. I thought we were dead with two to go, but that mistake all we needed.”

That mistake came on the final lap as Haudenschild rode the rim through turns one and two. However, the NOS Energy Drink #17 got too tight and he hit the wall. Blaney rolled by and beat him to the line by 0.802-seconds.

“I let my guys down,” Haudenschild mentioned. “We’ve got a really fast race car, but I just pushed too hard and lost my momentum. Sometimes you get beat. If I’m gonna lose to anybody, I’m glad it’s Dave. He and my dad [Jac Haudenschild] grew up racing so far him to get an Outlaw win this late in his career at his home track, that’s special for the Blaney family.”

It was an Ohio 1-2, and more importantly, a historical night that many will remember forever.

Closing out the top five at Sharon Speedway was Carson Macedo in the final podium spot with the Jason Johnson Racing #41, David Gravel in fourth aboard his Big Game Motorsports #2, and Brad Sweet in the Kasey Kahne Racing #49.

Rounding out the top ten on Saturday night was Brent Marks in sixth, Brock Zearfoss in seventh, Logan Schuchart in eighth, Kraig Kinser in ninth, and James McFadden in tenth.

It was a trip down memory lane for those in attendance and watching on DIRTVision as not only did 58-year-old Dave Blaney win the World of Outlaws feature, but 61-year-old former “410” Sprint Car great Rod George brought down the curtain on the magical night winning the first appearance by the Pace Performance RUSH Sprint Car Series. George passed fellow former “410” Sprint Car veteran Arnie Kent on lap 13 to score the $800 win in the 20-lap Terry Bowser Excavating feature.
“That was a lot of fun battling with Arnie (Kent),” expressed the Kittanning, Pa. racer. “I didn’t want to touch him and we definitely had a good battle going there. I haven’t raced in four or five years and didn’t have much intention of doing anymore racing, but Ted Hull kept calling me over the winter so I decided to give it a try. I was never very good running without a wing. I’ve been struggling big time. These cars are so hard to drive. You have to be so smooth and keep the momentum. They don’t have a lot of power if you screw up to get going again. Overall they are a ball to drive, but a lot tougher than I expected.”

Kent and two-time RUSH Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series Champion Chad Ruhlman brought the field to green with Kent taking the lead, while fourth starting George raced to second on the opening lap. Second year racer Tyler Newhart brought action to a halt when he flipped in turn three on lap two; he was okay. When racing resumed, sixth starting Nolan Groves moved into third past Ruhlman. By lap four, the top four of Kent, George, Groves, and Ruhlman pulled away.

Ruhlman slowed to a stop with 11 laps scored to bring out the event’s final stoppage. This moved last year’s RUSH Weekly Series Champion, Jeremy Weaver, who started ninth, into fourth. Back under green flag conditions, Kent and George raced side-by-side for the lead with George taking the top spot on the 13th circuit, while last year’s RUSH “Futures Cup” Champion, Groves, followed in second.

George held off Groves over the final six laps to win by 1.255 seconds for his first win driving for veteran car owner Ted Hull in the Washington House/Alternative Power Sources-sponsored #41. George became the seventh different RUSH Sprint winner in 10 races run all-time at Sharon to go along with three career “410” wins at Sharon. George also becomes the fourth different winner in four RUSH Sprint races contested in the region in 2021.

World of Outlaws “410” Sprint Cars (35 laps, $10,000 to-win): 1. 10-Dave Blaney [4][$10,000]; 2. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [1][$6,000]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo [3][$3,500]; 4. 2-David Gravel [5][$2,800]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [11][$2,500]; 6. 19-Brent Marks [8][$2,300]; 7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [12][$2,200]; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart [7][$2,100]; 9. 11K-Kraig Kinser [13][$2,050]; 10. 9-James McFadden [10][$2,000]; 11. 15-Donny Schatz [19][$1,600]; 12. 2C-Wayne Johnson [21][$1,400]; 13. 40-George Hobaugh [9][$1,200]; 14. 11-Carl Bowser [14][$1,100]; 15. 42-Sye Lynch [6][$1,050]; 16. 13-Brandon Matus [17][$1,000]; 17. 23-Darren Pifer [15][$1,000]; 18. 22-Brandon Spithaler [16][$1,000]; 19. 5K-Adam Kekich [22][$1,000]; 20. O8-Brandon Conkel [24][$1,000]; 21. 29-Michael Bauer [20][$1,000]; 22. 83-Aaron Reutzel [2][$1,000]; 23. 1A-Jacob Allen [23][$1,000]; 24. 70-Henry Malcuit [18][$1,000]. DNQ: 12-Darin Gallagher, 33-Brent Matus, 47-Bret Brunkenhoefer.

WoO Sprint Qualifying: 1. 83-Aaron Reutzel, 13.342; 2. 2-David Gravel, 13.545; 3. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.573; 4. 42-Sye Lynch, 13.615; 5. 19-Brent Marks, 13.787; 6. 41-Carson Macedo, 13.872; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.876; 8. 10-Dave Blaney, 13.903; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.944; 10. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.967; 11. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.972; 12. 70-Henry Malcuit, 14.128; 13. 9-James McFadden, 14.195; 14. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 14.212; 15. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 14.233; 16. 5K-Adam Kekich, 14.275; 17. 11-Carl Bowser, 14.616; 18. 12-Darin Gallagher, 14.689; 19. 22-Brandon Spithaler, 14.705; 20. 13-Brandon Matus, 14.764; 21. 40-George Hobaugh, 14.807; 22. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 15.044; 23. 29-Michael Bauer, 15.088; 24. 23-Darren Pifer, 15.458; 25. 33-Brent Matus, 16.006; 26. O8-Brandon Conkel, 16.415; 27. 47-Bret Brunkenhoefer, 18.529.

WoO Sprint DRYDENE Heat #1 (8 Laps) – (Top 6 Transfer): 1. 83-Aaron Reutzel [1]; 2. 42-Sye Lynch [2]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [3]; 4. 9-James McFadden [5]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [8]; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler [7]; 7. 5K-Adam Kekich [6]; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen [4]; 9. 33-Brent Matus [9].

WoO Sprint DRYDENE Heat #2 (8 Laps) – (Top 6 Transfer): 1. 2-David Gravel [1]; 2. 10-Dave Blaney [3]; 3. 19-Brent Marks [2]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [4]; 5. 11-Carl Bowser [6]; 6. 13-Brandon Matus [7]; 7. 29-Michael Bauer [8]; 8. 2C-Wayne Johnson [5]; 9. O8-Brandon Conkel [9].

WoO Sprint DRYDENE Heat #3 (8 Laps) – (Top 6 Transfer): 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [1]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo [2]; 3. 40-George Hobaugh [7]; 4. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [5]; 5. 23-Darren Pifer [8]; 6. 70-Henry Malcuit [4]; 7. 12-Darin Gallagher [6]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [3]; 9. 47-Bret Brunkenhoefer [9].

WoO Sprint DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash (6 Laps): 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [1]; 2. 83-Aaron Reutzel [4]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo [3]; 4. 10-Dave Blaney [6]; 5. 2-David Gravel [5]; 6. 42-Sye Lynch [2].

WoO Sprint Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps) – (Top 6 Transfer): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [1][-]; 2. 29-Michael Bauer [4][-]; 3. 2C-Wayne Johnson [6][-]; 4. 5K-Adam Kekich [3][-]; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen [2][-]; 6. O8-Brandon Conkel [8][-]; 7. 12-Darin Gallagher [5][$300]; 8. 33-Brent Matus [7][$250]; 9. 47-Bret Brunkenhoefer [9][$225].

Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps, $800 to-win): 1. ROD GEORGE (Hull 41) 2. Nolan Groves (25) 3. Arnie Kent (18) 4. Blaze Myers (43JR) 5. Steve Pedley (21) 6. Jeremy Weaver (Clay 12C) 7. Brandon Shughart (29) 8. Gale Ruth, Jr. (McConnell 24) 9. A.J. MacQuarrie (Hartzell 69x) 10. Brian Hartzell (69) 11. Andy Feil (Mahoney/Eckart 9) 12. Brad Blackshear (19) 13. Amelia Clay (16C) 14. Gale Ruth, Sr. (Boyles 5B) 15. Kevin Kaserman (13) 16. Ricky Tucker, Jr. (1T) 17. Chad Ruhlman (Engles 68) 18. Bill Watson (37x) 19. Tyler Newhart (57N).

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located on Custer-Orangeville Road in Hartford, Ohio near the intersection of Routes 7 & 305. For more information, check out the website at www.sharonspeedway.com or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sharonspdwy.