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Sheppard Captures Gator Trophy February 21, 2017

Sheppard Captures Gator Trophy

BARBERVILLE, FL— February 22, 2017— Brandon Sheppard fought his way to Victory Lane during night eight of the 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals in the 30-lap DIRTcar Racing Late Model Feature. It wasn’t an easy path for Sheppard to get to the front of the pack as Brian Shirley tried to fend him off any way possible.

Sheppard started in the fourth position but found his way to second within the first 10 laps. He passed Shane Clanton, who started the feature third, early on and then had to duel with Tyler Erb. Sheppard then began reeling in Shirley and was at his door knocking by lap 10. They ran side-by-side and the lead position was juggled between the No. 1 and No. 3 machines for several laps. Sheppard finally made the pass on lap 13 but Shirley didn’t surrender as they continued to run side-by-side.

“One of the things I’ve struggled with here a lot is knowing where I need to be on the track,” said Sheppard. “Mark [Richards] talked to me a bunch before we went out for that race and he was giving me pointers on where I need to pick up speed, and where I need to be out of the gas, and how to keep my momentum up… I feel like I learned a lot for later in the week.”

It was Clanton who next found his way to Shirley’s bumper and also found his way around to claim the second position with only five laps to go. Clanton, with his No.25 Capital Racecars chassis, was then gunning for the lead and for Sheppard. Unfortunately for Clanton, he ran out of laps once he was close enough to pass for the lead.

For more news visit www.dirtcarracing.com

Sheppard Wins In Dramatic Fashion at Bubba Raceway Park February 19, 2017

Sheppard Wins In Dramatic Fashion at Bubba Raceway Park

OCALA, FL (February 19, 2017) – The former Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Year, Brandon Sheppard took the lead on the final lap from Scott Bloomquist to win Sunday night’s Lucas Oil Winter Nationals - presented by GEICO at Bubba Raceway Park. The exciting finish brought the packed grandstand to its feet as Sheppard charged from his 11th starting spot to take the win.

Bloomquist finished in second, followed by Dennis Erb Jr. in the Vomac Trucking, Clements Racing Engines, Black Diamond Chassis. Earl Pearson Jr. came home fourth in the Dunn-Benson Ford, Larry Wallace Racing Engines, Longhorn Chassis. Frank Heckenast Jr. completed the top five in the St. Louis-U-Pic-A-Part, Capital Race Car.

Sheppard ended the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks with his second win in the Mark Richards Racing, Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Gunter’s Honey, Sallack Well Services, Sunoco, Durham-powered Rocket House Car.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the sixth time in his career, the 24-year-old racer was at a loss for words; “Anytime you can pass Scott [Bloomquist] for the lead, it’s pretty big. He is probably one of the greatest in our sport. I guess you could say it was an honor to pass him on the last lap for the win.”

“It was crazy out there. Turns three and four and down the front stretch were pretty slippery. You had to make sure you hit the little bit of brown on the bottom of three and four,” said Sheppard.

“The caution with two laps to go, let us pack the top of one and two and made it so we could roll around on the top better. Scott was running on the top before that caution come out. I kind of expected him to go to the top and then he went to the bottom on the restart. I guess I just grinned a little bit and got on the gas and went right by him on the outside.”

At the start of the race Josh Richards and Bloomquist led the field to the green flag. Bloomquist led the first lap and Richards took over the point on lap two. Richards then started to receive heavy pressure from Don O’Neal who had moved by Bloomquist into second place.

As Richards and O’Neal exited off turn four on lap 20, a car spun directly into front of them, leaving those two drivers with nowhere to go and they came to a halt with heavy damage to both cars. Richards went pit-side and made repairs to re-join the field on the tail while O’Neal was done for the night.

Bloomquist inherited the lead, which he held until a caution with two laps to go for a slowing car in turn two, which bunched the field for a green-white-checker finish. Erb, who had been all over Bloomquist in the final five laps of the race charged to the bottom trying to get by Bloomquist as Sheppard swung out wide and went by both to take the win.

Bloomquist crossed the line in second even though it wasn’t the result he was looking for. “We were pushing badly at the end, especially in three and four. The tire was starting to give-up a little bit. The crew guys pointed to get to the bottom on the restart. I didn’t expect him [Sheppard] to get a run like that, and the car didn’t feel as good at the end, it was just one of those things. We had a good race and I am sure that everybody enjoyed watching that one.”

Erb took third, and commented on his podium finish, “We had a good car all night long. From the time we hot lapped, qualified, ran the heat, this car stayed good and to be running up front near the end, we are real pleased with that. We worked on this car all week-long and finally brought it out tonight, we made a lot of changes on this car, but at least we are going in the right direction.”

Completing the top ten were Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, Boom Briggs, Jonathan Davenport, and Josh Richards.

For more news visit www.lucasdirt.com

Thornton Wins Shady USMTS Opener at Shady Oaks February 16, 2017

Thornton Wins Shady USMTS Opener at Shady Oaks

The fourth race of the season for the USMTS produced a fourth different winner as Ricky Thornton Jr. rolled to a wire-to-wire victory at the Shady Oaks Speedway in Goliad, Texas.

Starting from the outside of the second row, Thornton wasted no time getting to the front and made it three wide with polesitter Chris Brown and Mickey Lassiter entering the first turn.

Stormy Scott followed to the inside down the back-stretch and slid into second behind Thornton as they completed the first lap.

The first four laps were plagued by five cautions, but the field rattled off 20 straight laps after that with Ryan Gustin, Stormy Scott, Johnny Scott and Chris Brown chasing Thornton around the big 3/8-mile dirt oval.

The yellow flag flew with five laps to go, and again as the white flag was waving to set up a green-white-checkered finish, but each time Thornton was up to the task and paced Stormy Scott to the finish line to notch his second career USMTS triumph.

“I can’t thank Ed Gressel enough for giving me this opportunity. It’s pretty cool to get our first real USMTS victory,” Thornton said, referring to his first win last September at the Lakeside Speedway in a twin-feature format as part of the prelude to the Grant Junghans Memorial. “Who knows, maybe we can get a couple more here.

“I got up to lapped traffic there and I didn’t know if I had a decent lead or not, so I tried to drive hard but not give myself a flat. Then we get that white and that yellow and I thought ‘Oh my God, I’m gonna lose this thing’.”

Instead, Thornton pocketed the $2,000 top prize for his efforts.

Brown, who fell back as far as sixth during the 30-lapper, clawed his way back to a third-place finish while Gustin nipped Johnny Scott as the finish line to take the fourth spot.

Racing from 18th on the starting grid to sixth at the checkered flag, Travis Saurer earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award with Jason Hughes, Tyler Wolff, Cade Dillard and Dereck Ramirez rounding out the top 10.

For additional news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com/Carey Akin

Richards Takes Tuesday's Winternationals Victory February 14, 2017

Richards Takes Tuesday's Winternationals Victory

TAMPA, FL (February 14, 2017) – Josh Richards took the lead from Davey Johnson on lap five of the 25-lap main event on Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park during the 41st Annual Wrisco Industries Winternationals - presented by E3 Spark Plugs. Richards had to fight off fellow West Virginia driver, Tim Dohm for his seventh career win at “The Clay by the Bay.”

Richards, in the Best Performance Motorsports, Rocket Chassis, Dargie-powered entry earned the outside front row for the main event after a last-lap pass on Austin Hubbard in a pivotal heat race number three.

Hubbard in the Mid-Coastal Siding, Trinity Logistics, Rocket Chassis came home in third followed by Devin Moran in the Tye Twarog, Rocket Chassis and David Breazeale in the Henderson Motorsports, Moyer Victory Race Car who rounded out the top five.

“We made a lot of changes from last night, we worked our way back to seventh last night, so tonight was a whole lot better. The pass on Austin [Hubbard] on the final lap of that heat race was crucial. Davey [Johnson] started off good. We stayed right with him until we were able to get around him.”

“Thanks to the team for a great job. That makes it two for four with Randall Edwards and all the other guys. I am grateful for this opportunity to drive this car. Thanks to Peoples National Bank, Valvoline, Corey Frazier-State Farm Insurance, Keyser, Riggs Motorsports, Integra, and Sunoco Race Fuels.”

“I didn’t know how many wins we could get down here. That’s two already. I really couldn’t see who was behind me. It felt like the car was leaning over there at the end. The tires might have been burned off I am not sure right now. We are still learning the communications between Randall and myself. It’s always good to win here at East Bay.” Said the 28-year-old in Lucas Oil Victory Lane.

Dohm - a former winner at East Bay - was happy with his second-place finish. “To run second behind Josh Richards, it was a good night then. I love East Bay. I was way better tonight than I was last night. I hope the track stays like this all week. When you can hit the brown surface instead of that little sliver of black out there it sure makes for a better race,” said the driver of the Dohm’s Cycle, Swartz Chassis.

Hubbard’s third-place run continues improvement for the driver who suffered through a tough 2016 season. “This was another good finish for us. I kept the car straight, and it gets better every night. I am getting back in the groove. We are on the podium, so it’s one step closer to winning. Josh passed me on the last lap of the heat and that prevented me from starting on the front row. He ran a great race so congratulations to him and his team.”

Completing the top ten were Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Michael Lake, Ricky Weiss, and Dennis Erb Jr.

For additional news visit www.lucasdirt.com

Sheppard Takes Opening Night At Winternationals February 13, 2017

Sheppard Takes Opening Night At Winternationals

TAMPA, FL (February 13, 2017) Defending Dirt Track World Champion, Brandon Sheppard picked up his first career East Bay Raceway Park victory on Monday night during the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned Wrisco Industries Winternationals - Presented by E3 Spark Plugs. Sheppard - who started fourth on the grid - drove the Mark Richards Racing, Valvoline, Rocket Chassis’ House Car to the win after taking the lead on the fifth lap.

Trailing Sheppard across the finish line were Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Kyle Bronson, and Brian Shirley.

Shirley led the first four circuits of the 25-lap main event until Sheppard came from the outside of the second row to take over the top spot. Sheppard then held off Pearson, who had started seventh, for the victory. It was Sheppard’s fifth career LOLMDS win.

“It’s good to finally get a win at East Bay. We have been coming here for several years and to do it on opening night this year feels great. In a short race like this you must get to the front as soon as you can. The car was good all night long. We could pass cars low and high and then we finally cleared Shirley. It was a good race up front. This Rocket XR-1 Chassis is just fabulous and the Durham Race Engine was flawless.”

Once Sheppard had the lead, he had to wait through two caution flags inside the final five laps of the race. Pearson slipped under Moran on a lap 20 restart and held that spot to the finish in the Carlton and Kemp Lamm-owned, Dunn-Benson Ford, Longhorn Chassis.

“These young guys are wearing me out,” said Pearson, a 3-time East Bay winner who was among only seven drivers in the starting field who had ever won at the track. “It was a total turnaround from Golden Isles. The crew has worked hard on this car and the Larry Wallace Racing Engine was super-strong tonight as well. To come from where we did in just 25 laps we should be set-up well for the rest of the week.”

Moran realized that his slipping out of the groove with five laps to go cost him a shot at the win. “It was driver error. But I had fun tonight running up front like I did. Hopefully this bodes well for the rest of the season,” said the driver of the Tye Twarog Racing entry.

Completing the top ten were Austin Hubbard, Josh Richards, Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, and Gregg Satterlee.

For additional news visit www.lucasdirt.com

Tyler Erb Wins at North Florida Speedway February 12, 2017

Tyler Erb Wins at North Florida Speedway

New Waverly, Texas (02/13/17) – Tyler Erb’s confidence level for the 2017 season got a major boost on Sunday evening, when he parked his First Class Septic #91 Rocket Chassis XR1/Clements Racing Engines Inc. Super Late Model in victory lane at North Florida Speedway. The $5,000 win was extra special for the Texas racer. (Bob Wing photo)

“Last year at Speedweeks I just felt like I was just a field filler every night, so to come out and win the third night out at Speedweeks this year really means a lot,” said the 20-year-old. “We’ve worked really hard in the off-season. I just want to thank my family, my sponsors, and my team for all of their hard work and support.”

Tyler Erb opened his February Speedweeks on Friday night at Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, Georgia) for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMODS) season-opener. Drawing 51 entries for the two-day Rhino Ag Super Bowl of Racing, Erb edged his way into the $10,000-to-win A-Main with a 3rd place finish in his heat. Earning the 18th-starting spot, Tyler jumped up two positions in the 50-lapper registering a 16th place outing.

The following night after posting the 4th fastest qualifying time in his group, Erb grabbed the last transfer position in his heat with a 3rd place spot. Starting in 13th, Tyler worked his way into the Top 10 in the 60-lapper improving four spots to place 9th.
On Sunday Erb made the short trip to North Florida Speedway (Lake City, Florida) for the UMP DIRTcar sanctioned event. With 20 Super Late Models signed in, Tyler qualified fastest in his group before registering a heat race win which put him on the pole for the A-Main. Jumping out to the lead on the drop of the green flag, Erb distanced himself from the field in the opening laps of the 40-lapper. Holding off a charging Kyle Bronson in late-race lap-traffic, Tyler Erb wheeled his way to his first victory of the season and $5,000 payday with Bronson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Austin Hubbard, and Billy Moyer Jr. completing the Top 5 finishers.
For more new visit www.DIRTcarUMP.com
Photo courtesy of Jim DenHamer