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Cedar Lake Speedway

Sheppard takes opening night at USA Nationals

August 1, 2013, 6:43 pm
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor
Brandon Sheppard waves the checkers. (chrisburback.com)
Brandon Sheppard waves the checkers. (chrisburback.com)

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (Aug. 1) — Action Thursday at Cedar Lake Speedway for the first of three nights of action at Cedar Lake Speedway's 26th annual USA Nationals. The World of Outlaws Late Model Series event pays $6,000-to-win (preliminary finishes unofficial):

Main event

UMP DIRTcar Summernationals champion Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., led all 40 laps Thursday at Cedar Lake Speedway to capture the opening night of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series-sanctioned USA Nationals. | Slideshow

The polesitting Sheppard, who finished a close second in Summernationals action at Cedar Lake six weeks earlier, took the checkers nearly a straightaway ahead of series points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., for a $6,000 payday and his second WoO victory.

Fast qualifier Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., who lost the second spot to Richards with five laps remaining, was third in a tuneup for the $50,000-to-win event that will be contested Friday and Saturday at the 3/8-mile oval.

USA Nationals tuneup: (1) Brandon Sheppard, (2) Josh Richards, (3) Shannon Babb, (4) Don O’Neal, (5) Eric Wells, (6) Shane Clanton, (7) Darrell Lanigan, (8) Rick Eckert, (9) Morgan Bagley, (10) Jason Feger, (11) A.J. Diemel, (12) Bobby Pierce, (13) Tim Fuller, (14) Devin Moran, (15) Chub Frank, (16) Brian Shirley, (17) Tim McCreadie, (18) Bub McCool, (19) Chris Simpson, (20) Tim Isenberg, (21) Jonathan Davenport, (22) Dale McDowell, (23) Dennis Erb Jr., (24) Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, (25) Kevin Weaver, (26) Gregg Satterlee, (27) Kent Robinson, (28) Brian Birkhofer, (29) Pat Doar. Fast qualifier (among 52 cars): Babb, 13.237 seconds. Heat race winners: Sheppard, Wells, O’Neal, Babb, Richards, Bagley. Consolation winners: Doar, Hollingsworth, Birkhofer. Provisional starters: Eckert, Frank, Weaver, Erb.

Redraw and consolations

In the redraw among heat winners, Brandon Sheppard will start on the pole with Eric Wells starting outside the front row. Don O'Neal and Shannon Babb are on row two while Josh Richards and Morgan Bagley start on the third row. ... Pat Doar, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth and Brian Birkhofer won consolation races to transfer to the 40-lap main event. Provisional starters are Rick Eckert, Chub Frank, Kevin Weaver and Dennis Erb Jr.

Sixth heat

Polesitter Brandon Sheppard dominated the final heat race, pulling away by a straightaway margin by halfway and crusing to the redraw for heat winners. Fourth-starting Gregg Satterlee, who grabbed his first WoO victory Tuesday in Shawano, Wis., was a distant second, but he was far ahead of a tight battle for third. Outside front-row starter Kent Robinson held onto that spot despite several challenges from Billy Moyer and Kevin Weaver in the caution-free prelim.

Finish: Brandon Sheppard, Gregg Satterlee, Kent Robinson, Billy Moyer, Kevin Weaver, Jimmy Mars, Lance Matthees, Ross Camponovo.

Fifth heat

Fourth-starting Morgan Bagley came out on top in a wild first lap, then held off outside front-row starter Tim McCreadie for a victory in the fifth heat. McCreadie was a close second most of the way before dropping back late, securing the second spot with Bobby Pierce in the third and final transfer spot. Polesitter Tim Isenberg led the field into turn three on the first lap, but McCreadie went around on the high side while Bagley went underneath. Contact with McCreadie nearly caused Isenberg to lose control in turn two and he lost several spot. Two-time USA Nationals winner Brian Birkhofer was fourth in the caution-free prelim.

Finish: Morgan Bagley, Tim McCreadie, Bobby Pierce, Brian Birkhofer, Tim Isenberg, Scott James, Chub Frank, Charlie McKenna, Chad Williamson.

Fourth heat

Shannon Babb fought off Jonathan Davenport and became the fourth straight polesitter to win a heat race. Penalized once for jumping the start, Davenport was restored to his outside front-row spot when another driver jumped the next start, and he made the most of it in leading early, but Babb slipped by mid-race after a tight battle. Devin Moran — the other driver penalized — got a third-place finish to transfer to the feature in his first-ever Cedar Lake visit. Dennis Erb Jr. retired from the race slowed only by the two failed starts. Davenport's car showed smoke midway through the race, but it wasn't clear if his powerplant suffered any damage.

Finish: Shannon Babb, Jonathan Davenport, Devin Moran, Jake Redetzke, Rick Eckert, Jeff Provinzino, Brady Smith, Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr.

Third heat

Plesitter Don O'Neal emerged from a first-lap, three-wide battle with Chris Simpson and Jason Feger on the backstretch and stretched away for a 10-lap victory. Simpson hung with O'Neal early before settling for second while Feger had his hands full with Ronny Lee Hollingsworth most of the way. Feger got the third and final transfer spot, widening his margin in the final laps. Andrew McKay pulled off midway through the prelim.

Finish: Don O'Neal, Chris Simpson, Jason Feger, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Tim Fuller, Ricky Weiss, Clay Fisher, Andrew McKay.

Second heat

Polesitter and WoO points leader Josh Richards cruised to victory while fifth-starting A.J. Diemel came alive on an early restart for a solid second-place finish. The third spot was in doubt early, but sixth-starting Darrell Lanigan picked up a few spots for the position and secured the final transfer spot ahead of Pat Doar and outside front-row starter Dillon Wood. An early caution appeared when fourth-starting Bub McCool slowed on the second lap; his car refired long enough for him to pull to the pits.

Finish: Josh Richards, A.J. Diemel, Darrell Lanigan, Pat Doar, Dillon Wood, Timothy Culp, John Winge, Bub McCool. Scratched: Clint Smith.

First heat

While the battle for second was nearly four-wide on the backstretch of the first lap, polesitter Eric Wells built a big early lead and cruised to a 10-lap victory. Shane Clanton fought off a challenge from fifth-starting Jared Hawkins to secure the second spot, but Dale McDowell stole the position at midway. Clanton got the final transfer spot in third while while Hawkins slipped to fourth at the finish. Outside front-row starter Brian Shirley got too high in turn two on the first lap and never recovered, finishing fifth. Jordan Yaggy, who finished back in the pack, was pushed off the track after the race, which followed more than a half-hour of track prep after a hole developed in turn three during time trials.

Finish: Eric Wells, Dale McDowell, Shane Clanton, Jared Hawkins, Brian Shirley, Dan Stone, Nick Anvelink, Jordan Yaggy. Brett Swedberg.

Qualifying

Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., topped 52 qualifiers Thursday at Cedar Lake Speedway for the first of three nights of action at the 26th annual USA Nationals. Babb tripped the clock at 13.237 seconds at the 3/8-mile oval for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series program paying $6,000-to-win.

Besides Babb, the night’s heat race polesitters: Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky.; Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va.; Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.; Tim Isenberg of Marshfield, Wis.; and Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill.

The six heat races transfer three drivers apiece to the main event. Three consolation races will transfer two drivers each along with two World of Outlaws provisionals and two provisionals from June’s rained-out UMP DIRTcar Summernationals event at Cedar Lake for a 28-car starting field.

Pre-race notes

World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., is back at Cedar Lake for the first time since winning 2011’s USA Nationals. ... Among the entries are a dozen drivers who received $1,200 in tow money via the track’s Fans Fund program where fans make donations and vote for their favorite drivers. Clay Fisher of De Witt, Ark., and Ross Camponovo of Clarksville, Miss., were top vote-getters in each division. ... Brian Birkhofer is back in action for the first time since breaking a bone in his right hand in a racing accident; he’s wearing a hard cast that stretches from his forearm to his fingers. ... Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., is among drivers in the pits who didn’t unload for the night’s action. ... NASCAR Midwest Modifieds are also in action.

Time trials (unofficial)

First group
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 13.491
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 13.668
Don O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 13.708
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 13.709
Dillon Wood (1w), New Smyrna Beach, Fla., 13.713
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 13.786
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 13.824
Pat Doar (11), New Richmond, Wis., 13.856
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 13.916
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 13.921
Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 13.955
Jared Hawkins (37), Fairmont, W.Va., 14.011
A.J. Diemel (58), Navarino, Wis., 14.022
Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y., 14.109
Ronny Lee Hollingsworth (18), Northport, Ala., 14.123
Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 14.237
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 14.245
Clay Fisher (99), De Witt, Ark., 14.266
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 14.334
Timothy Culp (c8), West Monroe, La., 14.615
Ricky Weiss (7), Winnipeg, Manitoba, 14.653
Nick Anvelink (15), Navarino, Wis., 14.822
John Winge (17), Souix Falls, S.D., 14.849
Andrew McKay (71), Edina, Minn., 14.890
Brett Swederg (3), Shawano, Wis., 15.083
Clint Smith (44), Senoia, Ga., disqualified (light)
Second group
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 13.237
Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis., 13.643
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 13.667
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 13.717
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 13.75
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 13.872
Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa., 13.930
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 13.975
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 13.975
Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, 14.047
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 14.068
Gregg Satterlee (22), Rochester Mills, Pa., 14.114
Jake Redetzke (27), Eau Claire, Wis., 14.117
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 14.139
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.147
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.228
Scott James (1G), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 14.273
Lance Matthees (90), Winona, Minn., 14.305
Jeff Provinzino (28), Hibbing, Minn., 14.391
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 14.418
Kevin Weaver (B12), Gibson City, Ill., 14.419
Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis., 14.462
Charlie McKenna (22m), Storm Lake, Iowa, 14.689
Ross Camponovo (18), Clarksdale, Miss., 14.722
Kyle Bronson (40B), Tampa, Fla., 15.022
Chad Williamson (57), Watertown, S.D., 16.703

Friday’s order of events

• World of Outlaws Late Model Series hot laps
• Modifed hot laps
• World of Outlaws Late Model Series time trials
Opening ceremonies
• World of Outlaws Late Model Series heats (10 laps)
• Modified heats
• World of Outlaws Late Model Series redraw
• World of Outlaws Late Model Series consolation (12 laps)
• Modified feature
• World of Outlaws Late Model Series feature (40 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Sheppard, Wells
Row 2: O'Neal, Babb
Row 3: Richards, Bagley
Row 4: McDowell, Diemel
Row 5: Simpson, Davenport
Row 6: McCreadie, Satterlee
Row 7: Clanton, Lanigan
Row 8: Feger, De. Moran
Row 9: Pierce, Robinson
Row 10: Doar, Hollingsworth
Row 11: Birkhofer, Shirley
Row 12: Fuller, Isenberg
Row 13: Eckert, Frank
Row 14: Weaver, Erb
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