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Jacob Allen’s career year has given him confidence

Jacob Allen is on a career-best streak with 13 consecutive top 10 finishes. (WoO photo)

ROSSBURG, Ohio — A few years ago, Jacob Allen told his father he didn’t think he was cut out for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Tour.

He couldn’t win. But now things have changed.

“I really think I feel like I can win every race I come to,” Allen said.

The confidence comes from not only having the best season of his career, but arguably a “breakout season.”

Allen’s bests last season included a win, nine top fives, 20 top 10s and a 79-lap lead. He’s already topped every statistic this year with four wins – including his crown jewel victory in the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway – 15 top fives, 31 top 10s and 134 laps in the lead.

What caused the change?

“You know, I don’t know … I just keep believing in myself, keep believing in my team and keep my focus,” Allen said. “We work hard to make our race car feel right for the race track. You know, finding the right car for the track also helps tremendously with driving the race car.”

The Hanover, Pa. rider and his Shark Racing team are currently enjoying their best results since competing full-time on the World of Outlaws Tour in 2014. Allen has not finished outside the top 10 in his last 13 starts, including his preliminary nights during the Knoxville Nationals, which he won, and the Gold Cup, where he finished second.

And more than half of those finishes are podiums.

To put his season in a different perspective, with 11 races remaining this season, Allen still has more wins than three-time defending champion Brad Sweet and is level on points with 10-time series champion Donny Schatz.

“It’s a humbling feeling for me more than anything,” Allen said of the stat. “Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz are people I look up to and respect. I’ve seen Donny win 30 races in one year. Hopefully I can have their respect and if I want to talk to guys like that, hopefully they’re willing to give me advice because I’m just a regular guy.

“I still have a long way to go to call myself great at this sport. Because of these guys, I strive to be like them one day and be as great as them.”

Allen and teammate Logan Schuchart recently swapped the top two spots during the West Coast Swing. Allen won the Gold Cup with Schuchart second and then Schuchart won the Tom Tarlton Classic ahead of his uncle.

Being able to add his name to the list of riders who have won the Gold Cup has several special meanings for Allen.

“It meant a lot, especially after Logan (Schuchart) won it the year before,” Allen said. “And with Stevie Smith winning, there are three guys from the same area who have won a crown jewel race – the biggest race on the west coast in my opinion. Coming all the way from the east coast and doing that is very special.

“You look at the names that have won the Gold Cup and there are some real gassers in there. Being part of that list is quite an achievement for me.”

This weekend, he and the rest of the World of Outlaws tour venture east for two stops in Ohio — Eldora Speedway for the BeFour the Crowns Showdown on Friday, September 23 and Sharon Speedway on Saturday, September 24

Allen has been struggling at both tracks lately, finishing no better than 19th at Eldora this year and 23rd at Sharon last year. However, his track record so far has carried little weight this year.

Across the 33 different tracks that World of Outlaws has raced at this season, Allen has set a new career best at 23 of those tracks.

A good part of that stems from his new mentality: “I feel like I can win any race I show up to.”

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