photo by Jimmy Dearing
Sheppard Holds Off Moran for I-55 Victory
PEVELY, MO — June 30, 2018 — Looking to make it two in a row, Friday winner Devin Moran of Dresden, OH, threw everything he had at race leader Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, IL, on the final lap of Saturday’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series-DIRTcar Summer Nationals co-sanctioned event at Federated Raceway at I-55.
But Moran’s charge came up short, with Sheppard taking the win at the 1/3-mile Pevely, MO, oval for the second straight season.
Charging around the high side to overtake fourth-starting Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., on lap 38 of 50, Sheppard fought back a last-lap, turn-four slider from Moran, edging ahead at the line to earn a $10,000 payday in his sixth World of Outlaws victory of the season.
“Shirley was leading there and I just barely got around him on the top,” Sheppard said after the race. “It was pretty hairy up there. I slid a lot getting in the corner. It was really slick getting in and we’re kind of on the wrong tires, so I was slipping a lot more than I wanted on entry. But that bottom was getting pretty treacherous and I had a little too much dig to be able to get down there.
“I had to move back up to the top. Devin’s been really good. I seen hm get second there and I knew he was going to be wherever I wasn’t. My worst part of the track was coming off of (turn) two, so I knew if he hit that bottom right on the last lap and then sent it in there that it was going to be close. I’m glad he left me a lane because if he didn’t, we probably both would be headed to Rocket to get some clips, because I wasn’t going to lift.”
Starting fifth, Sheppard raced three-wide with Shirley and outside polesitter Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL, in the early running. Closing the gap between himself and Shirley as the frontrunners worked their way through lapped traffic, Sheppard assumed the point with 12 circuits remaining, capturing his 30th career WoO victory and his 17th win on the Summer Nationals tour.
“It’s just one of them years that’s been up and down,” Sheppard said. “It’s been a really good year for us. It’s just we’ve had a lot of bad luck and a lot of downs too. We’re third in (WoO) points and we’ve got the most wins. It’s just I’ve had a lot of bad luck to come with it too. We’ve had a really fast car. Hopefully we can get our consistency back and stop having some bad luck.”
Moran settled for a second-place finish, with Shirley running third. Charging late-race, seventh-starting Rick Eckert of York, PA, finished fourth, with Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN, advancing from the 10th starting spot to round out the top five.
“Honestly, I didn’t slide all the way up because I didn’t think I had the room,” Moran said of his last-lap challenge for the lead. “I was pretty far back and I dove all the way to the bottom to hit the traction. I was just kind of death-sliding up there and I thought there was no way I had him cleared. I wish I would have moved all the way to the fence. But I didn’t and we had a close second.”
Racing side-by-side with Babb for a handful of laps, Shirley grabbed the race lead on lap 14, maintaining a comfortable distance over second-running Sheppard as the pair worked through lapped traffic at the halfway mark. But he was unable to hold off Sheppard’s top-side charge, finishing third at the checkered flag.
“A caution can breed a change of events,” Shirley said. “Sheppy was just good enough to roll that outside on me. We were kind of married to that bottom because we passed everybody on the bottom. It was hard to come off the bottom until somebody passed us. Then on that restart there, the last one to go, it was just kind of back-and-forth with Moran. All in all it’s woulda, coulda, shoulda. We ran third.”
Feature Finish: Brandon Sheppard, Devin Moran, Brian Shirley, Rick Eckert, Mike Marlar, Frank Heckenast Jr, Gordy Gundaker, Chris Madden, Tyler Erb, Nick Hoffman, Shane Clanton, Kent Robinson, Rusty Schlenk, Tim Manville, Brent Larson, David Breazeale, Chris Ferguson, Shannon Babb, Chase Junghans, Moran Bagley, Ken Rumble, Paul Stubber, Jeff Herzog, Jason Feger, Rusty Griffaw
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals heads back to Illinois to kick off July with the 3rd event of Challenge Week presented by Algaier Shocks and Midwest Speed Expo. The Summer Nationals will be in action at Lincoln Speedway (IL). See the complete schedule at the helltour.com/schedule. Follow @SummerNationals on Twitter or Facebook for updates during and between race seasons. The DIRTcar Late Models will be joined by the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds as the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals runs parallel to the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. Information on the Modifieds can be found at modifiednationals.com.