Diehard sprint fans, we know you know about these three young drivers we're about to give mention to here. But parts of the audience here at TDN may have heard the names, and may not yet know the significance of what they're accomplishing in 2015.
One thing we can all agree on, is that it's a great thing to watch talent develop before our very eyes. Drivers start out and become competent, then show flashes of potential without much in the way of results sometimes. Then, they show glimpses, a local feature win, maybe a moment they come from the back of the pack to a podium spot in a bigger race perhaps. At some point, we stand up and take notice as fans, somewhere in between those two stages and then wonder when they'll take their next step to the realization of their potential with consistent podium finishes and wins. And when we see it happen, we remember back to the moment when we saw them making their first slide jobs against decent competition...and smile. Because we knew that they'd arrive on the scene one day, at some race one night and open the eyes of everyone who hadn't been paying close attention.
These drivers we're about to recognize were primed for good things to happen, each showing glimpses in the past few seasons, but they all have one more thing in common, they all brought their game to a new level in 2015, and that's not always an easy thing to do. It takes commitment, a positive attitude, and a willingness to correct and perfect the art of what they do.
So, for the more passive sprint fans among our following, the ones who pay attention to all divisions on the track on a given night, we bring forth three sprint drivers on the move, ready to take even another step on the way to potential greatness in the future. If you're not familiar with these names, it's time to commit them to memory, you're going to be hearing them for a long time to come.
|Pat Miller Photo|
His last name is immediately recognizable to almost any fan. The son of sprint racing legend Jac Haudenschild, Sheldon has seemingly hit the point where anything could be possible on any night, against any competition. The soon to be 22 year old from Wooster, OH enjoyed motocross in his early years and won with regularity. He graduated to 360 sprints in 2009 and gradually worked in more 410 shows as the years progressed, with some weekly victories at Wayne County and Sharon Speedways. As his early 410 years continued, he started perfecting his craft on stiffer competition with semi regular All Star and World of Outlaw starts, picking up his first All Star win in 2014 at Wayne County Speedway.
Welcome to 2015 where Haudenschild's progress is no longer measured by being competitive, but by podium finishes, wins and his ability to achieve good results at tracks he's not as familiar with. In his young career, he's already shown the ability to be a threat to win virtually anyway in his native Ohio. But his charge through the field to a podium finish at Lernerville earlier this year in ASCoC action, his bmain victory in World of Outlaw action at Williams Grove (coming from 8th), and his win at the Lou Blaney Memorial all point to a brilliant future on the horizon. That and the fact that he recently made the Amain starting grid at the Knoxville Nationals without needing a bmain. Haudenschild will be one to watch for years to come, and a fun one to watch at that.
It's always great to watch a driver on the brink of really great things, and Reutzel's on the brink, we just wish we had more chances to watch him in the east. The Clute,TX native started out in micro sprints, gradually working his way to 360's in the gulf coast area. He was named Lucas Oil ASCS Series Rookie of the Year in 2011 and made more appearences as the years progressed. Then in 2014, Reutzel started making headlines by getting national tour wins and podiums with regularity while earning a second place finish at the prestigious Short Track Nationals.
Now forward to 2015. In January, his name was making one tweet or press release seemingly every day at the inaugural Winter Heat Showdown at Cocopah Speedway in Arizona. With a star studded 410 field, Reutzel was in position to win virtually every night of the mini speed week kickoff, but suffered bad luck in the features until the final night when he won! Since then, he's spent the season leading the ASCS national points, with 10 wins and also another 410 sprint victory at Tulare (CA).
But the best was yet to come, he was recently named Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year driving for the famed Roth Motorsports California based team. Reutzel's emergence might not completely surprise sprint diehards, but for those with a little more passive interest, it would be wise to check him out as soon as you can, he's going places sooner rather than later.
Parker Price Miller
|Pat Miller Photo|
Of the three drivers we're profiling here, this young driver hasn't quite reached the brink just yet, but he's the youngest and may have the brightest upside. The Kokomo, Indiana native has experience in almost every type of open wheeled car.....and he's still in high school. His progression from micro sprints to 410's was quick and impressive. He was named POWRi Midget Rookie of the Year in 2013, and took another Rookie of the Year award in 2014 at the Chili Bowl.
But in 2015, the results caught up to the expectations in a big way for Parker. He's got eight wins in winged sprint action this year so far and earned his first All Star Sprint victory at Wayne County Speedway. Throw in a podium finish with the World of Outlaws at Oshweken and a solid performance at the Knoxville Nationals, and it's easy to see his star rising. But more than just results, he's something to see live and in person as you'll come across a driver that is learning the right times to be patient and aggressive against some of the best competition. He's starting to come into his own now, and nobody should be surprised that's been paying attention.
These three drivers represent the scratching of the surface when it comes to up and coming talented drivers in the 410 ranks, but we want you to catch them as soon as you can if you've not seen them yet, you'll be grateful you did. Look for big things from them in the coming years, and be sure to look for more further installments of "Three On The Move" from us here at TDN.