WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Shirley Meets Sheppard, Hoffman Eyes Eight in Hell Tour Week Three

Brian Shirley (3s) racing with Brandon Sheppard (B5) last year at Macon Speedway (Jim DenHamer Photo)

Late Models race five times, Modifieds scheduled for three in second Wed-Sun stretch

After a rainy second week of competition, the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Models and Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals are ready to take on a busy Independence Day weekend in three different states.

Week #3 Schedule
Wednesday, June 30 | Beaver Dam Raceway | Beaver Dam, WI (Late Models only)
Thursday, July 1 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, IA (Late Models only)
Friday, July 2 | The Dirt Oval at Route 66 | Joliet, IL
Saturday, July 3 | Fayette County Speedway | Brownstown, IL
Sunday, July 4 | Lincoln Speedway | Lincoln, IL

If you can’t join us at the track, catch all of the action from every Summer Nationals and Summit Modified event this season with a FAST PASS subscription to DIRTVision presented by Drydene.

Here are the drivers to watch for and storylines to follow in Week #3…

BACK ON TRACK – After an up-and-down first week, Brian Shirley rebounded in Week #2 and is now back in the hunt for his fifth career Hell Tour title.

Shirley in Victory Lane at Sycamore (Mike Ruefer Photo)

Shirley, of Chatham, IL, won both races contested last week and led every Feature lap in each – Wednesday at LaSalle Speedway and Friday at Sycamore Speedway. The win Wednesday night marked his third consecutive Summer Nationals victory at LaSalle, helping to light a flame underneath the Bob Cullen Racing team which they turned into another Feature win two nights later.

The defending tour champion now sits third in overall points, 45 back of leader Bobby Pierce. This week, the tour visits two of Shirley’s best tracks since 2018 – Fayette County Speedway, where he won last year and in 2018, and Lincoln Speedway, where he took the checkers in 2018 and 2019.

B-SHEPP IS BACK – 2013 Summer Nationals champion Brandon Sheppard recently announced his family-owned team’s intentions to join up with the tour this Wednesday night at Beaver Dam Raceway, which will mark his first appearance of the season.

Sheppard, of New Berlin, IL, is headed back from a successful outing with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series tour at Lernerville Speedway, aboard the Rocket1 Racing ride for team owner Mark Richards, with a win and three top-five finishes in the three-day weekend.

B-Shepp will roll out the Rocket Chassis #B5 for its third weekend of the season – a car that’s seen Victory Lane in DIRTcar-sanctioned action twice already in 2021. With it, he’s scheduled to tackle two tracks he won with the Hell Tour in his weeklong appearance last year – Fayette County Speedway on Saturday and Lincoln Speedway on Sunday.

Sheppard won four Summer Nationals races in six starts last year (Josh James Artwork)

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY – An abundance of wet weather plagued the tours in Week #2, with three of the five scheduled shows being lost to storm systems moving through the Midwest. However, some of those shows have been rescheduled.

Spoon River Speedway has been rescheduled for July 7, filling-in a date that was originally meant for Belle-Clair Speedway, which will not be opening this year. The $10,000-to-win show at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, rained out on Saturday night, will now be run on August 14 – the Saturday of this year’s dedicated make-up week. This means the weekly points championship for Week #2 will be settled at the conclusion of the Feature at I-55, awarding $2,000 to the driver with the most points from those races.

HOT STREAK – He’s got seven wins in-a-row. This weekend, Nick Hoffman goes for eight.

The defending DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals champion has won the first seven races of the tour and led every Feature lap in each of them. It’s been utter domination thus far, and it could continue Friday night when the Modifieds are back in action at The Dirt Oval at Route 66, where he will go for his eighth consecutive victory.

However, a new winner will likely emerge on Saturday night at Fayette County Speedway, as Hoffman recently announced his plans to head to Lawrenceburg Speedway that night for a DIRTcar UMP Modified special. Summit Modified drivers are not required to compete in every event on the schedule in order to win the championship – only each driver’s 12 best finishes count toward overall points.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN – The traveling schedule picks up again this week with five races in five nights in three different states. Provided every show is run as scheduled, teams will spend 12.5 hours on the road traveling to each racetrack for a total of 673 miles logged.