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Brandon Sheppard Wins 28th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic July 29, 2017

Brandon Sheppard Wins 28th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic

FAIRBURY, IL— July 29, 2017— The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series and the team at Fairbury American Legion Speedway made history on Saturday night during the 28th annual Prairie Dirt Classic as the highest paying race to ever take place in the state of Illinois with a $30,000 payout. Brandon Sheppard wheeled his way to victory on Saturday night ultimately breaking a three-year winless streak for Illinois-drivers at the event.

The two-day show saw 65 of the nation’s best Dirt Late Model drivers compete on the Fairbury, Ill stage. The standing room only crowd nearlytripled the size of the all-American city as fans traveled from far and wide to experience one of the most anticipated Dirt Late Model events of the year.

The 28th annual Prairie Dirt Classic did not disappoint as the semi-banked quarter-mile dirt oval produced multiple lanes of racing every time cars hit the track. The 100-lap feature event was no exception, as three different drivers took command of the lead during the race including Shane Clanton, Ryan Unzicker, and eventual winner, Brandon Sheppard.

“This car is awesome every night we take it out of the box,” said Sheppard on his 11th win with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series. “I have to thank my crew Dan, Austin, Joel, Mark, little Brian, everyone at Keyser Manufacturing, Durham Racing Engines they all keep this thing going night in and night out. I have to also thank my Dad and my Grandpa. I wouldn’t have a racing career if it wasn’t for them.”

Sheppard led 69 laps of the 100-lap event, taking total control over the lead on lap 40. He was even able to defend his lead after three restarts.

Several cars juggled positions behind the Rocket1 often battling four-wide for the final two podium positions including Unzicker, Clanton, Devin Moran, Jason Feger, Chris Simpson, Brian Shirley, and Mike Marlar.

The fight for second and third came down to the last lap as Unzicker passed Moran on lap 99 to finish second in the 29-car feature.

“I tell you what, this feels freaking awesome running second to these guys,” said Unzicker. “It feels like I’m winning a million.”

Earlier in the day during the redraw, Unzicker was explaining to Series Announcer, Rick Eshelman, that he would be satisfied with a top-five finish because he had not made the show the past three years he entered into the Prairie Dirt Classic.

“This thing ran great tonight,” said Unzicker. “I was just thankful to be up there and running with these guys. Our car was pretty decent but these guys are damn good. It was a hell of a racetrack and it was ‘falsy’.

Devin Moran finished two spots shy of sweeping the weekend. On Friday, Moran turned the fastest lap during qualifying with a 12.627-second lap. The Rookie of the Year Contender then went on to lead every lap of the first of four Showdown Features to claim the win, ultimately placing him in the redraw for the 100-lap main event. Moran’s luck continued on Saturday as he pulled the no. one wrench from the Craftsman tool box putting him on the pole for his first time at the Prairie Dirt Classic.

Moran was passed on the first lap by Clanton who started directly behind him in third. Clanton led the first 23-laps of the 100-lap feature before getting passed by relentless track-regular, Unzicker. Within the first six-laps Moran had fallen outside of the top-five but the long-distance race granted him time to find his way back to the front of the pack.

“I wasn’t quite patient enough,” said Moran. “I kind of blew the deck out of it there at the end but congrats to [Sheppard and his crew] they’ve been on their own speed level this year and we are still just trying to play catch up. We got close there tonight but we just fell back too far early in the race and that just killed us. It’s our first time at FALS so we will definitely take a third-place finish.”

For more news visit www.woolms.com

Matt Sheppard Dominates SDS at Autodrome Granby July 25, 2017

Matt Sheppard Dominates SDS at Autodrome Granby

GRANBY, QC, CAN – July 25, 2017 – In front of a packed house and clear skies, the Super DIRTcar Series started a successful Quebec swing at Autodrome Granby as Matt Sheppard had a dominant run to get his second win of the season on the tour.

“It feels good,” Sheppard said in the Winner’s Circle. ‘’I always seem to have success when I come up in Quebec. I think these tracks are made for me and it is always fun to race in front of these great fans,’’ added Sheppard in front of the packed Autodrome Granby stands as the always are for the Series’ Quebec swing. 

“I came close last week, but had issues with a tire but happy to be here and hats off to (Pat) Ward for his second-place (finish).”

Challenging Sheppard on a few occasions was Ward, who finished second. 

“I tried but didn’t have enough,” Ward said. “My time will come.” 

Completing the podium was Brett Hearn.

“I was two pounds over limit and ran out of gas at the scale,” Hearn said. ‘’I always have success up here. It’s always great to come back here.”

The original start saw Tim Fuller lead as Brandon Walters stopped in the backstretch. On the restart, Fuller remained in front with David Hebert and Larry Wight in third. Hebert was strong on the high side and grabbed the lead on lap 5. Stewart Friesen slowed and brought out the caution on the following lap.

Hebert and Fuller swapped the lead on a lap 11 restart as the driver of the No.19 was back in front with Hearn in third. Hebert was back in front on lap 20 after he made a great pass on Fuller using the inside lane. Hearn made a similar move to take second from Fuller just as the leaders got into lapped traffic on lap 25.

Hearn had a great restart on lap 29 to take the lead from Hebert as Sheppard ran in third. Hebert started to fade and gave third to Ward on lap 36. Sheppard had a dominant ride as he took the lead on lap 44 from Hearn and quickly pulled away from the field.

Max McLaughlin slowed the field down on lap 51. When the green lights were back on, Sheppard stayed on top as Larry Wight drove to fourth and Peter Britten cracked the top 5. Ward started to challenge Hearn for second and he was able to take the second spot on lap 57.

A few cautions slowed the final portion of the feature as Sheppard had to resist a few charges from Ward in the closing laps with Hearn completing the podium.

Steve Bernard won the Pole Position Raceway Fast Qualifier Award with a time of 18.399 seconds. Heats races were completed quickly with polesitters Steve Bernard, Max McLaughlin, Larry Wight and Jimmy Phelps dominating their sessions. Local runners Yan Bussiere and Kevin Hamel won the Last Chance Qualifiers

For additional news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Weekly Winners 7/18/17 - 7/24/17 July 24, 2017

Weekly Winners 7/18/17 - 7/24/17

Congratulations to:

Peter Britten – Sharon Speedway

Jared Miley – Muskingum County Speedway

Clint Smith – Senoia Raceway

Andy Bryant – Lucas Oil Speedway

Todd Root – Brewerton Speedway

Logan Roberson – Potomac Speedway

Darrel DeFrance – Hamilton County Speedway (pictured)

Billy Decker – Eldora Speedway & Brewerton Speedway

Jake Bubak – Route 66 Motor Speedway

Coleby Frye – Clinton County Motor Speedway

Pete Bicknell – Ransomville Speedway

Kyle Berck – I-80 Speedway

Mason Oberkramer – Camden Speedway

Jack Meeks – Can-Am Motorsports Park

David Payne – Blue Ridge Motorsports Park

Max Blair – Raceway 7

Mat Williamson – Lernerville Speedway

Steve Blackburn – Friendship Motor Speedway

Josh Sunn – Bear Ridge Speedway

Brandon Thirlby – Merritt Speedway

Travis Stemler – Tri-City Motor Speedway

Keith Flach – Lebanon Valley Speedway

Matt Sheppard – Outlaw Speedway

Billy Dunn – Can-Am Motorsports Park

Britten Becomes First Australian Super DIRTcar Series Feature Winner July 20, 2017

Britten Becomes First Australian Super DIRTcar Series Feature Winner

HARTFORD, OH – July 20, 2017 – Peter Britten created a little piece of Super DIRTcar Series history on Thursday night. Britten came from the 20th starting position and then used a slidejob in turns three and four to take the lead from Matt Sheppard following a lap 54 restart. The Brisbane, Queensland, Australia native led the final 46 laps and held off Stewart Friesen on a restart with 12 laps to go to earn the first Super DIRTcar Series win of his career in the Buckeye Ground Pounder 100 at Sharon Speedway. Britten also becomes the first Australian driver to win a Super DIRTcar Series Feature event. 

“I can’t believe it. It’s amazing,” Britten said in Victory Lane. “We had a good car, rolling around and kept picking off cars one by one. I ran the middle and I’m like “man, my car’s pretty friggen good right now”. I just kept picking them off and I got to (Matt Sheppard) and I’m like “this will be the real test”. I was able to clear him and man, I don’t know if they were close to me. It’s unreal, a Super DIRTcar Series win at Sharon.”

The task seemed daunting at first for Britten, who rolled off from outside the 10th row while Brett Hearn started on the pole with his Larry Wight to his outside. Hearn capitalized on the track position to grab an early advantage, bringing third-starting Billy Whittaker along to second. 

Ninth-starting Friesen made quick work and rolled inside the top-five by lap 10. One lap later, Hearn found his way into lapped traffic. By lap 14, Hearn had company in the form of Friesen, who had gotten by Whittaker, Wight and Tim Fuller to claim second.

Friesen caught Hearn for the lead 20 laps into the 100-lap affair as he found momentum in the outside lane while the No.20 remained on the bottom. Friesen setup the pass for the lead and was outside Hearn on lap 24 when the first caution of the race waved for a spun Frank Cozze on lap 24. 

Under the yellow, Friesen suffered a flat tire that forced him to relinquish the second spot and head to the pits for a new sneaker.

“We got squeezed a little bit on the backstretch,” Friesen said of how the tire was cut down. “This Halmar team, they’re tough. They threw a tire on it and it was still pretty good.”

The ensuing restart gave Erick Rudolph a share of the front row and he used the outside lane position to power past Hearn and grab the point. Matt Sheppard took notice and followed Rudolph up high from fourth to second. By lap 36, Sheppard stole the top spot from Rudolph.

One lap later, the caution waved again at lap 37 for Hearn, who has a flat right-rear tire.  Sheppard held the lead on the restart, but fans were quickly dazzled by Britten who darted from fifth to pass Rudolph for second on lap 47.

When the halfway mark rolled around, Friesen had found his way back into the top-five, despite his earlier woes, while Sheppard still led Britten by over a second. That advantage, however, was eliminated on lap 54 by a caution when Keith Flach and Kevin Bolland collided. The incident landed Flach the Speedy First Aid Hard Luck award.

Sheppard chose the outside for the restart, but Britten powered around the bottom and drove low into turn three before sliding up in front of Sheppard in turn four to take the lead. From that point, Britten was able to built some momentum and click off laps with impressive speed through the slick middle of the track.

The restart on lap 75 was another strong one for Britten as Sheppard immediately settled into the second spot. Sheppard’s goal of a podium finish was wiped away shortly after when the right-rear tire on his no.9s went flat. That forced Sheppard to pit return to the rear of the field. 

The final restart of the race with 12 laps to go put Britten alongside Friesen, who had passed Rudolph for second six laps earlier. Britten was flawless on the return to green and ran a perfect line in the final dash to the finish. Britten’s smooth and patient style allowed him to claim the win. 

“The yellow came out and they were right on my butt again,” Britten said, lamenting the yellow flag. “It’s a little nerve wracking, but I just had to concentrate and keep hitting my marks. I knew I had a good racecar and I knew I was driving well, so at that point I felt like it was my race to lose. They were going to have to do something pretty incredible to try and get around me.” 

Rudolph found another gear late in the race and was able to muscle under Friesen to take second away with three laps to go and grab the runner-up finish. 

“It took maybe a few laps to find what the car wanted, but it liked being on the bottom,” Rudolph explained. “I ran most of the race there. Peter ran a great race. I don’t know if we had a shot at him if there was a late race caution. If we did it was a small chance. We had a really nice car and drove a really nice race. A top-three in this league of competition is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Friesen looked like the car to beat in the first half of the race after he soared to the front of the field before a flat tire derailed his effort. Regardless, he was happy with the run given the circumstances. 

“It was good. We’ll take it,” Friesen said. “I had an awesome battle there at the end. Hats off to Peter and those guys. I’m happy for our team and to leave here with a top-three.”

Billy Decker, who failed to transfer to the race from his heat, but won the Last Chance Qualifier, finished in fourth. He was one spot ahead of 11th starting Pat Ward.

The victory for Britten was particularly special given how he earned it. Britten’s drive from 20th to victory also made him the KSE Hard Charger.

“These races are damn near impossible to win from the front row, so to come from 20th and do it, words can’t even describe it,” Britten said. “That just shows how good our racecar is. I was in the groove tonight and did my job as a driver.” 

“I passed Matt running a different line than what he was running and got by him,” he added about the winning pass. “To be able to drive by basically every good car that there is in Northeast Dirt Modified racing for the first win is pretty incredible.” 

Britten’s win is also a victory for the so-called ‘Little Guy’. The driver of the No.21a owns his own equipment and team this year. He has teamed up with Rich Scagliotta to get his single-car, single engine team to the track for each race. 

“It’s pretty satisfying getting the first win as a very small operation,” Britten concluded. “Rich (Scagliotta) gets my car to the racetrack. We don’t have a major sponsor. We have one car, one motor. We’re going to keep doing our best to make all the races and getting a win here is a motivating factor to get back and keep working.” 

Fuller, Friesen, Ward and Sheppard were qualifying heat race winners on the night while Fuller was also the Pole Position Raceway Fast Qualifier. Decker and Mike Maresca won the pair of Last Chance Qualifiers.

For additional news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Weekly Winners 7/11/17 - 7/17/17 July 17, 2017

Weekly Winners 7/11/17 - 7/17/17

Congratulations to:

Donovan Smith - Buena Vista Raceway & Boone Speedway

Buddy Shepherd – Madera Speedway

Zack VanderBeek – Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway, 141 Speedway & Luxemburg Speedway

Nathan Ballard - Benton County Speedway

Josh Richards – Lucas Oil Speedway & Tri-City Speedway

Charlie Olson – Sycamore Speedway

Jason Covert – Winchester Speedway

Brandon Sheppard – Hibbing Raceway

Clint Hatlestad - Princeton Speedway & Arlington Raceway

Calvin Lange - Sports Park Raceway

Jared Miley – Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway

Jared Umbenhauer – Grandview Speedway

Derek Green - Kossuth County Speedway & Hamilton County Speedway

Matt Sheppard – Utica-Rome Speedway

Michael Norris – Lernerville Speedway

Russ King – Expo Speedway

Jake Masters - Clay County Fair Speedway

Brett Kressley – Bridgeport Speedway

Shane Monson - Hancock County Speedway

James Dennis – Ohio Valley Speedway

Shawn Walsh - Legit Speedway Park

Rick Diaz – Merced Speedway

Tim Eaton - US 36 Raceway

Andy Bryant - Lakeside Speedway (pictured)

Aaron Reutzel – Black Hills Speedway

Jason Minnehan - Hamilton County Speedway

Greg Oakes – Stateline Speedway

Daniel Smith - Buena Vista Raceway & Hamilton County Speedway

Doug Manmiller – Grandview Speedway

Eddie King Jr. – Wartburg Speedway

Tim Fuller – Mohawk International Raceway

Jenae Gustin - Marshalltown Speedway

Max Blair – Freedom Motorsports Park & Eriez Speedway

Mat Williamson – Lernerville Speedway

 

Richards Takes Second Straight Lucas Oil Victory July 15, 2017

Richards Takes Second Straight Lucas Oil Victory

WHEATLAND, MO (July 15, 2017) – Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader, Josh Richards extended his lead over his competitors as he won the CMH Diamond Nationals on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. For the 29-year-old driver in his first season of following the tour, it was his seventh series win of the year and his first ever at the Wheatland, MO facility.

Jimmy Owens looked to be on his way to another victory at the track, but Richards, tracked him down and took the lead with 8 laps to-go. Owens then got too high in turn four while trying to get back around Richards and his car stalled with three laps remaining in the race. Richards then went unchallenged for the win.

“We weren’t very fast in hot laps or qualifying. We basically went with the same set-up as last night, and then we made some adjustments. We weren’t that great at the beginning, but the longer the race went, the tires on the car felt good; I hate it for Jimmy though. I saw that he tried to get back by me on the outside and he got up close to the wall and the car must have stalled or something.”

The race went the first 57 laps caution-free until Owens brought out the only caution of the race. The long green-flag conditions helped Richards out he said. “Jimmy was pretty good early, and he was so far out there, but he eventually came back to us. We just have to focus on being fast, the last two nights helped a lot. It can turnaround in a heartbeat.”

The Eric and Kelly Brock-owned Best Performance Motorsports Rocket is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by Bulk Material Lift.com, Peoples National Bank, Corey Frazier-State Farm Insurance, Valvoline, Keyser, Riggs Motorsports, Integra, Sunoco, and Alexander Lawn and Garden.

Hudson O’Neal started on the outside of row number one and trailed Owens for the first 37 laps of the race until Richards went by him. At one-point Hudson O’Neal had pulled to within two car lengths of Owens in traffic, but Owens pulled out to a straightaway lead after that.

Don O’Neal made a late-race charge, passing his son to move into third-place. After the caution for Owens, O’Neal fought off challenges from his son and his Clint Bowyer Racing-teammate, Darrell Lanigan, who came home in third.

“We still have some work to do to catch the number 1 car, but we are getting there,” said the 2014 LOLMDS National Champion, Don O’Neal. “We have a third last night and a second tonight, so we are getting close to having this Peak Antifreeze and Coolant and Cometic Gasket car back to Victory Lane.

“We keep coming up short, but we have got to keep digging. We were good out in the open and with traffic. This was a new car last night and we are happy to keep getting these podium finishes. If we keep running like this, the wins will come.”

Lanigan commented on his podium finish as well. “Tonight was a good night for the Clint Bowyer team. On that final restart, I thought I could roll the top and go by those guys ahead of me, but it just didn’t work out as I had planned.”

Completing the top ten were Tim McCreadie, Dennis Erb Jr., Jake O’Neil, Earl Pearson Jr. and Steve Francis.

For additional news visit www.lucasdirt.com

Photo courtesy of Heath Lawson