Sheldon Haudenschild Tames Texas Two-Step Opener Once Again at Cotton Bowl Speedway

(l to r) Second place Cory Eliason, winner Sheldon Haudenschild, and third place finisher Brad Sweet from the opening night of the Texas Two-Step at Cotton Bowl Speedway. (Trent Gower photo)

From Brian Walker

PAIGE, TX (March 4, 2022) — Friday’s Texas Two-Step opener at Cotton Bowl Speedway felt all too similar to last year’s initial run at the Paige, TX track.

• In March 2021, Sheldon Haudenschild was slated to start seventh, drove to the lead on Lap 25, and his score made him the first repeat winner of the young World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season.

• In March 2022, Sheldon Haudenschild was slated to start seventh, drove to the lead on Lap 22, and his score made him the first repeat winner of the young World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season.

There were differences, however, and the Wooster, OH gasser noted he thought this triumph was harder to come by. It required a more patient, methodical approach to carving his way forward and ultimately parking the Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17 in victory lane.

“I felt like more guys had this place figured out this year, at least as to what I was doing compared to last year,” Sheldon said after his 24th career World of Outlaws win. “It made this one a lot more wild, I mean Logan [Schuchart], Brad [Sweet], and I had a really great battle. That yellow kind of came at a bad spot for me, but I ended up catching Cory [Eliason] and I knew the exit of turn two would be good to square him up.”

A bad spot indeed, the Lap 8 caution for early leader James McFadden’s flat right rear tire slowed Haudenschild’s momentum as he caught McFadden and Eliason in a three-way battle for the lead. Sheldon then found himself in a torrid battle with Schuchart & Sweet on the restart, but soon broke away and reeled in Eliason’s Rudeen Racing #26 with some lap traffic assistance.

Haudenschild caught Eliason on the 22nd circuit and promptly cut the #17 from top-to-bottom in turn two and rocketed right underneath the #26 down the backstretch. From there, it was basically over as Haudenschild built an impressive 2.578-second margin of victory over the final nine-lap stretch.

“This NOS Energy Drink #17 team is on it,” said Haudenschild praising his SJMR crew. “[Kyle] Ripper, Stephen [Hamm-Reilly], and Jakob [Weaver] are killing it. It’s been a little slow to get the season going, so I can’t wait to get racing more and see if we can win a little bit more too.”

After leading 13 laps throughout the middle portions, Cory Eliason of Visalia, CA settled for a runner-up result aboard the Rudeen Racing #26. It’s his best finish in World of Outlaws competition since he won his second career race in September of 2018 at Calistoga, extending his victory lane dry spell to 78 races with the Series.
“He was definitely better later when we really needed it,” Eliason noted. “This track is tough already, but lap traffic adds another element to that. I knew if someone was there they were probably going to get by me once I got caught in a bad spot. We’ve still got tomorrow night to come back stronger and get one spot better.”

For the fifth time in five races at Cotton Bowl Speedway, Brad Sweet was among the podium finishers. The three-time and defending World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion kept his consistent runs coming with a third-place bid for the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49.

“We just run really good here,” Sweet joked on his prowess at the Paige, TX facility. “You always want to win, but I think we just barely missed it on the car. I couldn’t hit the bottom quite well and I tried about 10 different ways, but I just couldn’t get it slowed down to get the car stuck. It felt a little one-dimensional stuck on the top like that. We’ll make a few better decisions and get a little better for tomorrow.”

Rounding out the top-five on Friday night was Logan Schuchart with a season-best fourth-place finish for the Shark Racing, DuraMax #1S, and Donny Schatz with a KSE Hard Charger bid from 13th to fifth in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Ford Performance #15.

Closing out the top-10 at Cotton Bowl was Giovanni Scelzi in the KCP Racing #18, David Gravel in the Big Game Motorsports #2, Jacob Allen in the Shark Racing #1A, Spencer Bayston in the CJB Motorsports #5, and Brock Zearfossin the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill #3Z.

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Texas Two-Step
Cotton Bowl Speedway
Paige, Texas
Friday, March 4, 2022

Qualifying (2 Laps)
1. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.538[26]
2. 83-James McFadden, 13.556[7]
3. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.603[9]
4. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.638[12]
5. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 13.729[16]
6. 5-Spencer Bayston, 13.735[2]
7. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.737[8]
8. 8-Aaron Reutzel, 13.757[14]
9. 26-Cory Eliason, 13.781[28]
10. 2-David Gravel, 13.803[22]
11. 18-Giovanni Scelzi, 13.809[1]
12. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 13.858[13]
13. 9-Kasey Kahne, 13.877[3]
14. 21-Brian Brown, 13.915[24]
15. 24-Rico Abreu, 13.919[18]
16. 41-Carson Macedo, 13.925[19]
17. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 14.007[25]
18. 84-Scott Bogucki, 14.094[15]
19. 15-Donny Schatz, 14.102[20]
20. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, 14.106[11]
21. 20G-Noah Gass, 14.163[17]
22. 27-Carson McCarl, 14.266[27]
23. 19AZ-Tanner Thorson, 14.390[6]
24. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 14.410[4]
25. 6-Bill Rose, 14.424[10]
26. 24W-Garet Williamson, 14.457[21]
27. 7S-Jason Sides, 14.510[5]
28. 99X-Dalton Stevens, 14.673[23]
29. 4-Austin Mundie, 15.691[29]

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 1A-Jacob Allen[1]
2. 1S-Logan Schuchart[3]
3. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[2]
4. 2-David Gravel[4]
5. 15-Donny Schatz[7]
6. 41-Carson Macedo[6]
7. 27-Carson McCarl[8]
8. 99X-Dalton Stevens[10]
9. 6-Bill Rose[9]
10. 9-Kasey Kahne[5]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 83-James McFadden[1]
2. 8-Aaron Reutzel[3]
3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[4]
4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[2]
5. 11K-Kraig Kinser[6]
6. 21-Brian Brown[5]
7. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[7]
8. 24W-Garet Williamson[9]
9. 19AZ-Tanner Thorson[8]
10. 4-Austin Mundie[10]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 49-Brad Sweet[1]
2. 26-Cory Eliason[3]
3. 5-Spencer Bayston[2]
4. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[4]
5. 84-Scott Bogucki[6]
6. 24-Rico Abreu[5]
7. 20G-Noah Gass[7]
8. 2C-Wayne Johnson[8]
9. 7S-Jason Sides[9]

DIRTVision FAST PASS Dash (6 Laps)
1. 26-Cory Eliason[1]
2. 49-Brad Sweet[2]
3. 83-James McFadden[4]
4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[3]
5. 8-Aaron Reutzel[6]
6. 1A-Jacob Allen[5]

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps)
1. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[2]
2. 27-Carson McCarl[3]
3. 9-Kasey Kahne[1]
4. 20G-Noah Gass[4]
5. 24W-Garet Williamson[6]
6. 2C-Wayne Johnson[7]
7. 19AZ-Tanner Thorson[9]
8. 7S-Jason Sides[10]
9. 99X-Dalton Stevens[5]
10. 6-Bill Rose[8]
11. 4-Austin Mundie[11]

A-Main (30 Laps)
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[7]
2. 26-Cory Eliason[1]
3. 49-Brad Sweet[2]
4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[4]
5. 15-Donny Schatz[13]
6. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[8]
7. 2-David Gravel[10]
8. 1A-Jacob Allen[6]
9. 5-Spencer Bayston[9]
10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[12]
11. 41-Carson Macedo[16]
12. 24-Rico Abreu[18]
13. 83-James McFadden[3]
14. 8-Aaron Reutzel[5]
15. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[11]
16. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[19]
17. 2C-Wayne Johnson[23]
18. 21-Brian Brown[17]
19. 84-Scott Bogucki[15]
20. 11K-Kraig Kinser[14]
21. 24W-Garet Williamson[22]
22. 20G-Noah Gass[21]
23. 27-Carson McCarl[20]
24. 19AZ-Tanner Thorson[24]