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Brandon Sheppard Captures First WoO Late Models Championship November 4, 2017

Brandon Sheppard Captures First WoO Late Models Championship

CONCORD, NC—Nov. 7, 2017— Brandon Sheppard’s standout 2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series season officially came to a close on Nov. 5 at the annual banquet, where he was awarded the Championship title.

The 24-year-old from New Berlin, IL was rewarded with a $100,000 points-fund check, a black and red Craftsman toolbox, a championship ring, and the traditional World of Outlaws trophy for his record year.

Sheppard and the Rocket 1 Racing team were nearly unstoppable this season, totaling an impressive 18 wins, 37 top-fives, and 41 top-10 performances in 43 races, and collecting a total earning of $398,800 after the points-fund check.

“First of all, I have to thank the World of Outlaws, everyone at Craftsman, and everybody involved in the tour that makes this deal happen. This is really an awesome deal, and I hope to be involved with it for many years to come; so thank you, guys,” said Sheppard. “I also have to thank my crew. Man, what a crew. Mark [Richards], Dan [White], Austin [Hargrove], Joel [Rogers] — you all are the best group of guys I’ve ever been involved with. We’ve had a heck of a year.”

The Rocket 1 Racing team also received the Crew of the Year Award. In the past, this award has been given to the crew chief, but this year the award recognized the team effort that made this dream season happen.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you put good people together, good things can happen. And these guys are great guys,” said team owner Mark Richards. “Brandon has done an awesome job ever since the first day of testing this year, all the way until [the final night at World Finals]. We are really thankful for what he’s done for keeping this team going and keeping Rocket 1 up front… This has been such a year.”

Throughout the season, every time Sheppard appeared on the podium he credited his success to his hard-working crew. It was no different when reflecting on his overall season at the banquet as he gave heartfelt thank you to Richards, Crew Chief White, Hargrove and Rogers.

“The first night at Volusia, we had just a little conflict. I thought we needed to change something on the car. Mark thought it was me. It was just the heat of the moment,” explained Sheppard. “We were dang near ready to load up and call it a night after the heat race, and we ended up running the B-Main. We finished out the night and we were hooting and hollering, throwing stuff and everything else. Right then and there I knew that my crew had my back. I didn’t know any of them that well until we went to Florida.”

Devin Moran received the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series 2017 Rookie of the Year award. The young driver from Dresden, OH finished fourth in the point standings during his first-ever year on a national tour.

“Congratulations to everyone who made it through the whole season,” said Moran. “This isn’t an easy task as we found out. We definitely had our ups and our downs, but at the end of the day this is just one big family together. It’s not just my family [on the road], but everyone together… It’s really been a pleasure and been awesome racing with the Outlaw guys. I have to thank World Racing Group and The World of Outlaws just for putting this deal on for us. It’s a top-notch series, and it’s a blast to do it. We’re excited to do it again next year.”

For the 2017 season, Moran burned up the road and hit dirt tracks around the country with his family by his side, including his father — storied late model driver, Donnie — as well as his two brothers, Wylie and Tristin.

“One thing my dad has always taught me is to ride the wave, and I’ve definitely had an up and down year all year,” said Moran. “That’s one thing I really took into consideration all year, was just riding that wave and keeping my head down and straight forward and doing what I have to do.”

Moran completed his first season with the World of Outlaws tallying two wins (Atomic Speedway on May 26 and Georgetown Speedway on Aug. 17) as well as 14 top-five and 30 top-ten performances.

For additional news visit www.woolms.com

Matt Sheppard Claims Sixth Championship November 4, 2017

Matt Sheppard Claims Sixth Championship

CONCORD, NC — Nov. 4, 2017 — During the final night of competition at the Textron Off Road World of Outlaws World Finals, Matt Sheppard capped off one of the greatest comebacks in Super DIRTcar Series history. The Waterloo, NY driver who was looking down and out after serving a suspension halfway through the season, clawed his way back to the top. In true champion fashion, Sheppard went out by visiting Victory Lane for the 12th time this year and secured his third straight and sixth overall Super DIRTcar Series championship.

After the re-draw to determine the top-five starting positions, Matt Sheppard drew the pole and would lead the field to the green flag for the 40-lap Feature event. Looking determined as ever to pick up that 12th victory to tie his own record of most wins in a single-season, Sheppard rocketed out to a commanding lead over Ravena, NY’s Keith Flach.

Early in the 40-lap event, Sheppard’s closest championship competitor Billy Decker made his way up inside the top-five after starting eighth on the grid.

Setting a blistering pace, the leaders started to make their way through lap traffic. Sheppard took some risky-chances as he was maneuvering his way through and was able to expand his lead over Flach to over two seconds.

As the race went on, the pressure on Sheppard started to lift as Decker started to fade through the field.

“We were moving up but then we had that long caution and a tire just quit after that and had a bottom restart and couldn’t get going,” said Billy Decker.

Much like the hot summer months, Matt Sheppard just proved to be too strong as Super Sheppard would drive the Dendis Companies/West Moreland Golf Club/Extreme Lubricants No. 9s to the 12th victory of 2017 Super DIRTcar Series season.

“What a crowd here tonight, wow this is unreal,” said Matt Sheppard. ‘You can’t take a lap off here; you have to be on the gas running as hard as you can every single lap. It’s awesome to be able to put on a show like that in front of a crowd like this, this makes our season.”

Flach showed speed all weekend at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway picking up two heat race wins and was rewarded with his first ever Super DIRTcar Series podium finish in the feature.

“It’s been a great weekend, great way to end the year,” said Keith Flach. “To finish second to guy like Matt [Sheppard] a multi-time champion is just phenomenal. We definitely had our struggles this year but we’re still relatively new and this is our first podium since we started with the Series. Just very thankful.”

It was when the Series visited Utica-Rome Speedway in early-July that things flipped upside down in the championship point standings.

Super Matt Sheppard and Lightning Larry Wight in a closely-contested battle made contact after running inches away from each other for several laps. The contact sent Wight flipping end-over-end. The ensuing result: an on-track scuffle that all but closed the door on the championship for Sheppard.

Before the on-track incident at Utica-Rome, it was looking like Sheppard had the team pointed towards a sixth Super DIRTcar Series title, holding a 58-point lead over second place Decker. Following the incident at Utica-Rome, the 35-year-old driver was hit with a two-race suspension and lost all money and points from the race. Wight was placed on probation for 90 days.

“It kind of took all the pressure off,” added Sheppard. “When you’re leading the points all season you’re worried every race about finishing good and it kind of took the pressure off and we just went out and said we want to win as many races as we can and that’s what we did.”

With the point standings scrambled from the penalties after Utica-Rome Speedway, Sheppard had a BIG hole to climb out of in order to repeat a Series championship. Following the event at Sharon Speedway on July 20, Sheppard was as low as ninth in the championship point standings, and a whopping 185 points behind the leader. Sheppard’s hard work during hot summer months paid off with a victory at NAPA Super DIRT Week that finally put him back in the points lead over three-time Super DIRTcar Series Champion Decker, who finished a dismal 16th-place in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200,

Exiting NAPA Super DIRT Week, Decker was behind Sheppard by 46 points, but the Unadilla, NY driver wasn’t going down without a fight. The following week at Brockville Ontario Speedway, Decker made a late-race pass en route to his fourth victory of the 2017 season, closing the points gap to just 30 points as the Series enters the final weekend of competition at the Textron Off Road World Finals in North Carolina.

That points gap grew ever so slightly over the course of the three-day mega-event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Through the qualifying events and Friday Night’s Feature, Sheppard increased the points lead to 37 points before the Series Finale.

At the end, since July 25 Sheppard averaged a third-place finish and capped off a dream season in thrilling fashion with a trip down victory lane and his third consecutive championship by 71 points over Billy Decker.

While it may not have been Billy Decker’s time to climb back to the top of the standings, the three-time championship still had a stellar season. The Unadilla, NY driver was able to visit victory lane four times with wins coming at Fulton Speedway, Outlaw Speedway, Eldora Speedway and Brockville Speedway.

“I’m so proud of this whole team, they worked really hard to overcome some obstacles,” said Billy Decker. “We dug and clawed and fought. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the championship but I don’t want to take anything away from their efforts and second place in points.”

For more news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Weekly Winners 10/17/17 - 10/23/17 October 23, 2017

Weekly Winners 10/17/17 - 10/23/17

Congratulations to:

 
Josh Richards - Portsmouth Raceway Park & Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion
 
Stewart Friesen - Orange County Fair Speedway
 
Craig Von Dohren - Delaware International Speedway
 
Rodney Sanders - Southern New Mexico Speedway
 
Austin Horton - Cochran Motor Speedway
 
Travis Senter - Riverside International Speedway
 
Bumper Jones - Southern New Mexico Speedway Track Champion (pictured)
 
Richards Wins Dirt Track World Championship; Clinches First Lucas Oil Title October 21, 2017

Richards Wins Dirt Track World Championship; Clinches First Lucas Oil Title

PORTSMOUTH, OH (October 21, 2017) - Josh Richards completed a dream night at Portsmouth Raceway Park on Saturday night. The West Virginia native won his first-career Rhino Ag Dirt Track World Championship - Presented by Optima Batteries, worth $100,000, and the 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Championship, worth $75,000.

Richards became the fourth different leader of the race when he passed race leader and defending DTWC winner, Brandon Sheppard for the lead after a lap 46 restart. Richards led the rest of the way to take his tenth series win of the season over Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar, and Jared Hawkins.

Jonathan Davenport started on the pole and led early on. Sheppard took over the point on lap 36, and then began pulling away from the field until a caution on lap 46 slowed his pace. On the restart, Richards; who was running third; went around Sheppard to take over the lead and stayed in front until the checker flag waved.

Tim McCreadie entered the race as the series point leader by 40 points over Richards and 75 ahead of Bloomquist. During the race McCreadie suffered two flat tires and Bloomquist had a tire go down while running second to Richards. Bloomquist finished the race in 12th and McCreadie was credited with a 17th place finish.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane after the biggest win of his career, the 29-year-old was emotional when being interviewed. “I have to collect my thoughts right now. I can’t thank everyone enough for this opportunity. I made a tough decision last year to switch teams. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We started the year off well, and then we went to a bunch of new tracks and kind of fell off a little. We struggled a little bit, but so did those other guys. We got on a hot streak in July though.”

“Coming into this weekend we felt pretty good and I know Scott [Bloomquist] and Timmy [McCreadie] did too. Thanks to Best Performance Motorsports, Eric and Kelly Brock for giving me this opportunity.
It’s been a crazy year. Randall Edwards has done such a great job as crew chief. There are so many people behind this team and that supported me. I felt everything in the last four or five laps. I have been through this scenario enough to know. I knew the tires were slipping away, but fortunately they held up to the end.”

The Best Performance Motorsports, Rocket Chassis entry is powered by an Andy Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by: Bulk Material Lift.com, Corey Frazier-State Farm Insurance, Alexander Lawn and Landscaping, Ultimate Firepit, Sunoco, Integra, Keyser, Riggs Motorsports, and Valvoline.

Sheppard, the runner-up and defending DTWC winner, joined Richards in Victory Lane with another podium finish in the crown jewel event. “We had a pretty good car. Josh got around me on that restart and he did a good job out in front. I look up to him a lot. I drive for his dad. It’s been a dream come true driving for Mark [Richards], we have had a great year. Being able to learn from Josh has been great. We would have liked to get the win tonight, but there’s nobody else I’d like to finish second to than Josh.”

Davenport, who was sporting the Flintstone Flyer scheme commemorating the late Mike Duvall, came home in third in the G.R. Smith-owned, Rocket Chassis entry. “Congrats to Josh and Brandon on their run tonight. We were good early on. I just don’t have this place down pat yet for some reason. We keep getting closer.”

Completing the top ten were Zack Dohm, Chub Frank, Brandon Overton, Darrell Lanigan, and Dennis Erb Jr.

For additional news visit www.lucasdirt.com

Friesen Wins Eastern States 100 October 21, 2017

Friesen Wins Eastern States 100

By FRANK CATIZONE

MIDDLETOWN – Stewart Friesen has put himself in position to make a clean sweep of Modified racing action during the 56th annual Eastern States Weekend Festival at the Orange County Fair Speedway.

Friesen, the reigning Eastern States 200 champion, held off Brett Hearn and Gary Edwards Jr. Saturday to capture his second 100-lap Small Block Modified title Saturday evening as well as the first-place base pay of $15,000.

“So far, so good,’’ said Friesen, who can bring out the broom in this afternoon’s 200-lap Modified main event, which offers a whopping $35,000 to the winner. “This entire Halmar racing team has worked very hard giving me a good race car and we’ll just wait and see what happens.

“I’m very pleased with how things have gone this weekend. But there is some real good competition here and I know it’s going to be a battle tomorrow. We’ll just stick to our game plan and hope things will work out.’’

Friesen, who qualified for the event behind the sixth fastest lap in time trials, chased Hearn and Edwards during the early stages of the race. Hearn and Edwards swapped the lead back-and-forth during the first 23 laps before Edwards took command on the 24th circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.

Friesen was able to sneak ahead of Hearn following a restart on the 25th lap and chased Edwards until Brad Horton slowed in the fourth turn to force a caution with 30 laps in the books.

Hearn returned the favor on Friesen on the 31st lap when he regained second place following a restart and then began chasing Edwards, who was beginning to build a comfortable cushion. But Edwards retired to the pits to change a right rear tire under caution after 41 laps were completed to hand first place back over to Hearn.

“We planned on coming in to change the right rear when we got the opportunity,’’ said Edwards. “I came in when the race was cautioned after the 41st lap. I didn’t have a problem with my tire, but the way everyone was getting flats, we felt it was the right thing to do.

“It was difficult coming back up through the field after we pitted, but there were so many cautions with all the flat tires. I got a left front flat two laps from the finish and it dropped me back to fifth. But this was the best showing I’ve ever had in this race.’’

Hearn, who has won this race more than anyone in Eastern States history, was now the leader again, but he had his hands full with Friesen not too far behind. Neither Hearn or Friesen pitted to change tires during the course of the race, but Friesen kept a watchful eye on his rival.

Friesen nearly snuck around Hearn while racing through the first and second turns as the race progressed, but just didn’t have enough momentum to pull off a pass. However, Friesen switched lanes on the 64th lap and dove under Hearn take gain control off the second turn.

“It was definitely a battle out there and certainly isn’t easy getting past Brett…especially at this place,’’ said Friesen. “All I had to do was make one mistake, and I know he could have returned the favor on me.’’

Last year, Friesen utilized a last-lap pass between the third and fourth turns to steal a win away from Hearn for his first Eastern States 200 title. Hearn’s car came up with a flat tire and he drifted back to third place at the finish.

But there would no chance of that as Friesen was able to stay ahead despite several more cautions periods until the end.

However, Friesen said he took a look at his tires under red flag conditions when Andy Bachetti slammed hard into the homestretch wall after making contact with Edwards on a 98th lap restart. Horton’s car came crashing into the inside jersey barrier as several cars were involved in the incident.

Bachetti, who was running fourth at the time, was transported by ambulance into the pits following the accident to be checked out.

“We didn’t have any plans on stopping for a tire change,’’ said Friesen. “In fact, I took a look back at my right rear under that red stop and knew we were just fine. But I must admit that I was worried with all of the cautions because you just don’t know what can happen.’’

Hearn settled for a second-place finish with Tommy Meier, Tim Hindley, Edwards, Craig Mitchell, J.R. Heffner, Jesse Leiby, Allison Ricci and Matt Janiak rounding out the top 10.

For additional news visit www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net

Weekly Winners 10/10/17 - 10/16/17 October 16, 2017

Weekly Winners 10/10/17 - 10/16/17

Congratulations to:

Logan Roberson - Potomac Speedway

Riley Hickman - Talladega Short Track

Rodney Sanders - I-35 Speedway

Brett Kressley - Grandview Speedway

Billy Decker - Brockville Ontario Speedway

Matt Lux - Lernerville Speedway

Jonathan Taylor - Lernerville Speedway

Tanner English - Clarksville Speedway

Paul Banghart - Tucson Speedway (pictured)

Russ King - Lernerville Speedway

Chase McCormick - Friendship Motor Speedway

Kyle Bronson - Bubba Raceway

Rex King Jr. - Lernerville Speedway