Sheppard Takes Opening Night at Wrisco Industries Winternationals
Story By: JEREMEY SHIELDS / LUCAS LATE MODEL SERIES MEDIA
Photos By: PAUL ARCH / RACERSGUIDE.COM
TAMPA, FL -February 14, 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.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Monday, February 13th, 2017
Wrisco Industries Winternationals – presented by E3 Spark Plugs
East Bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL
Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Brian Shirley / 15.111 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Austin Hubbard / 14.794 seconds
Eibach Springs Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Brian Shirley, Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Ricky Weiss, Steve Francis, Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal, Stephen Breeding, Kenny PettyJohn, Todd Frank, Bob Gardner
FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Kyle Bronson, Earl Pearson, Jr., Austin Rettig, Dennis Erb, Jr., Tim Dohm , Frank Heckenast, Jr., Boom Briggs, Brent Larson, Gordy Gundaker, Mason Zeigler, Brian Ligon
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Doug Drown, Austin Hubbard, Gregg Satterlee, Jared Miley, Davey Johnson, Corey Conley , David Breazeale, GR Smith, Tyler Carpenter, Craig Wolford, Chad Hollenbeck
QA1 Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Brandon Sheppard, Billy Moyer, Jr., Michael Lake, Josh Richards, Nick Davis, Greg Oakes, Pancho Lawler, Timothy Culp, Jimmy Owens, John Gardner, Dustin Linville
Penske Racing Shocks B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Tim Dohm , Hudson O’Neal, Tim McCreadie, Steve Francis, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Kenny PettyJohn, Boom Briggs, Gordy Gundaker, Brent Larson, Mason Zeigler, Stephen Breeding, Bob Gardner, Todd Frank, Brian Ligon
Fast Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Nick Davis, Tyler Carpenter, Corey Conley , Greg Oakes, Timothy Culp, Pancho Lawler, Chad Hollenbeck, Craig Wolford, David Breazeale, GR Smith, Davey Johnson, Jimmy Owens-DNS, John Gardner-DNS, Dustin Linville-DNS
Lap Leaders: Brian Shirley (Laps 1 – 4); Brandon Sheppard (Laps 5 – 25)
Cautions: Tyler Carpenter (Lap 7); Jared Miley (Lap 19); Steve Francis (Lap 20)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Wrisco Winternationals Provisional: Greg Oakes
Strawberry Dash Provisional: Brent Larson
Wrisco Feature Winner: Brandon Sheppard
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Hudson O’Neal (Started: 19th; Finished: 9th; Advanced 10 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: n/a
Allstar Performance Power Move of the Race: Tim McCreadie
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Brandon Sheppard
Hot Rod Processing Rookie of the Race: n/a
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Durham Racing Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Taylon Center (Earl Pearson Jr.)
Fastest Lap of the Race: Brandon Sheppard (Lap #22 – 15.7457 seconds)
Safecraft Most Laps Led: Brandon Sheppard (26 Laps)
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Brian Shirley
Time of Race: 15 minutes 8 seconds
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About Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Founded in 2005, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is the nation’s premier dirt late model sanctioning organization. In 2016, the LOLMDS will sanction 53 events in 19 states. The series is owned by the parent company Lucas Oil Products Inc. and receives national exposure through a TV package filmed, produced and edited by Lucas Oil Production Studios. LOLMDS events will be broadcast on four TV Networks including CBS, NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network and the MAVTV Motorsports Network. For more information about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series visit the official website at: www.LucasDirt.com.