Jacob Allen describes life for a family team on the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars tour

Jacob Allen

Life on a national touring series is not for the faint of heart. Miles and miles of roadway are covered followed by hours of grueling labor often performed in either the hottest or the coldest parts of the year. That is particularly true for the drivers and teams who take on the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars Series. But if things got well on the race track, all of that travel and work can pay off with a podium finish or even a victory. On the flip side though, when things don’t go well on the race track, even more work can be added to an already rigorous and exhausting routine.

Shark Racing holds a bit of a unique position among those who go up and down the road with ‘The Greatest Show on Dirt’. Not only are they one of the most competitive teams in the sport, but they are largely a family centered operation fielding two cars for drivers Jacob Allen and Logan Schuchart. Those two proven feature winners are, respectively, the son and grandson of team owner and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame member Bobby Allen.

The family dynamic is important to Shark Racing team members. During a recent World of Outlaws media availability, Jacob Allen discussed the positive aspects of spending so much time on the road with relatives.

“I think it’s huge,” Allen declared. “I think one day when I’m all done with all this stuff, it will be the most important thing. You have to sit back and take time slow or however you would work that and just really enjoy the moments that you get to be with your family and being out on the road and racing with them. In a life spectrum, that’s probably the most important thing that we could probably do.”

Unlike some teams, Shark does not have a great deal of turnover due to their close knit nature. Allen believes this gives his crew an advantage over the course of a long campaign.

“We stick together,” the Hanover, Pennsylvania native pointed out. “You see a lot of teams where a driver might change or a crew chief might change or all the crew is not with that team anymore and that changes the chemistry of the team whether they’re the most funded team or not. Those things are the most important things of a race team, your core group of guys. For us, we’ve always stuck together. I’m thankful that my main crew member, Tyler Garber, has been with me the last five or six years and we’ve built quite a relationship together. The core of our deal is my dad, Logan, and myself and we’ve been together our entire lives so we’ll never give up on that core because we love racing and this is what we are choosing to do with our lives.”

Allen points to a particular time early in the life of Shark Racing in which the team’s togetherness and perseverance allowed them to endure when many believed they would not survive. Since that time, things have taken a dramtically positive turn.

“We were a team that at one point nobody believed at all that we would make it out of the first California swing and now we have these beautiful motorhomes and beautiful trucks and trailers,” the 28-year-old driver said. “I take a lot of pride in that. It went from my dad’s trailer that he built back in the day to having all this stuff for us to be able to race at the top level. I take a lot of pride in the trailer that I race out of because we built it as a family. It’s always been such a family thing. The more we have grown the more it means to you to go out there and perform for all these people who have supported you all of these years.”

Jacob Allen aboard the Shark Racing No. 1A

Whether a family operation or not, life on the road can be difficult. Often times, the basic everyday chores that many do in the comfort of their own homes have to be carried out in unfamiliar places and under tough circumstances. Obviously, the car is the first priority, but like every family, there are things that have to be taken care of.

“The average week you drive to wherever your next location is and you’re going to do your maintenance on your car so whatever that is,” Allen explained. “If it’s no dramatic things like a blown up motor or a torn up race car you’re just going to do your basic maintenance, you know, look at your shocks or change some torsion bars or whatever people do in their maintenance program. From there you might have to do some laundry or you might go to the gym if you’re into that kind of stuff. And you try to get some good rest and try to eat some half decent food and just take it easy. If you try to do too much you could burn yourself out.”

Logan Schuchart

With all that goes into this lifestyle, there is a certain mindset required for those who participate to make it all work out. There is more to it than simply getting through a long season. Being able to stayed motivated to succeed throughout the entire schedule is a necessity for teams who want to be true contenders.

“It is called ‘Sprint Car racing’ but I think the year is more of a marathon,” Allen stated. “Your longevity in your teammates and the rest you get and feeling those things for the entire year is highly important. I think everybody comes into the year very confident and their mental game is very strong, but do you keep that mental strength through August? Do you show up at the Knoxville Nationals like ‘Ugh, I’m worn out and I’m just ready for the year to be done?’ Or, are you still feeling the same way you did when you showed up at Volusia? To me, that’s the goal. You take care of your priorities with your race car to show up at the race track to be capable of winning the race. After that, you are just taking care of your personal life whether it’s laundry or eating or exercising or sleeping or whatever. That’s what it looks like for me.”

Allen currently sits 12th in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series standings but will be looking to move up when the series races twice this weekend at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Missouri in the I-55 Outlaw Showdown. Shark Racing teammate Schuchart resides in the 4th spot in the standings.

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