MANSFIELD, Ohio (Aug. 24) — Just a couple of months removed from his Dream XXV victory, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., earned another six-figure payday, steering his Rocket Chassis house car to a $101,626 victory in Mansfield Motor Speedway’s second annual Dirt Million.
Charging around the high side, the second-starting Sheppard overtook polesitter Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., on lap 30 of 100, leading the remaining distance and outrunning fifth-starting Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., for his 22nd victory of the 2019 season.
“It’s just amazing,” Sheppard said in victory lane. “My guys, they work so hard on this thing and I put a lot of pressure on myself because I know this thing’s capable of getting in victory lane every night as long as I can do my part. Phenomenal night.”
Indeed, it was a stellar night for Sheppard. While it was Davenport charging to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, Sheppard was able to maneuver his car around the top side of the racetrack, pulling ahead of the early race leader and second-running Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., out of turn four to lead the 30th circuit.
“I knew I didn’t want to lead early in that race there,” Sheppard said. “Them guys passed me there on the bottom and I was kind of running the top a little bit more than what I wanted to there early. But then a couple of them restarts, I knew I had a good car on the top and I could pretty much run right where I wanted to on the racetrack.”
Continuing to show the way at the halfway mark, Sheppard held off Junghans and Marlar in lapped traffic and survived a string of late-race cautions, including a last-lap dash to the finish. He tallied his 13th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
“Obviously when you’re leading the race there, you can’t see what them guys are doing behind you,” Sheppard said. “I didn’t know really where to restart the race at. I knew I needed to take off as early as I could but I didn’t know if I needed to come all the way down from the top or start off in the rubber in the bottom. When you’ve got as tough of competition as I had behind me tonight, you’ve got to hit your marks.”
Restarting in the outside lane after a lap-74 caution, Marlar powered ahead of Junghans to come away with a runner-up finish. After running as high as second and challenging Davenport for the lead in the early running, Junghans ran third, with ninth-starting Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., finishing fourth. Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, advanced from the 11th starting spot to round out the top five.
Starting inside the third row, Marlar battled side-by-side with Owens through the early running, moving to third following a lap-43 restart. Overtaking Junghans late-race, Marlar attempted to take his No. 157 to the top groove, only to move back down to the bottom of the racetrack a couple of laps later. With his second-place finish, he earns a career-high $50,813 payday.
“The whole race I was just trying to make sure I had some tires at the end,” Marlar said. “I was hoping maybe when Brandon caught the lapped traffic there I would be able to rail the high side and I was trying to keep them cool for that. So we come up on one of the cars there and Brandon was able to slide in under him and clear and I needed him to hold him up just a little so I could run the outside. But he’s an awesome driver and he don’t make any mistakes.”
After posting a pair of runner-up finishes in preliminary action, a third-place run in Saturday’s finale was bittersweet for Junghans. While he too earned a career-high $33,875 payday, he felt as though he had the car to win the race. If he could change how he ran the first half of the race, he said he would.
“I probably would have tried to get up there and get around J.D., and then it might have been a different story,” Junghans said. “Our cars been good all weekend. It’s kind of disappointing running third because I feel like we should have one. But we’ve just got to keep a good notebook and hopefully clean-sweep next year.”
Second annual Dirt Million
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $101,626
2. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Rocket, $50,813
3. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., Rocket, $33,875
4. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $16,938
5. Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, Bloomquist, $13,550
6. Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., Club 29, $9,485
7. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $8,808
8. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, Rocket, $7,791
9. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Longhorn, $7,453
10. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Bloomquist, $7,114
11. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $6,775
12. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Rocket, $6,436
13. Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $6,098
14. Michael Norris (5), Sarver, Pa., Rocket, $5,759
15. Brandon Overton (2), Evans, Ga., Rocket, $5,420
16. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., Black Diamond, $5,081
17. Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., Rocket, $4,743
18. Matt Irey (36), Ashland, Ohio, Black Diamond, $4,404
19. Max Blair (111), Centerville, Pa., Rocket, $4,065
20. Rick Eckert (0), York, Pa., Rocket, $3,726
21. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $3,388
22. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., Rocket, $3,218
23. Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., Longhorn, $3,049
24. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., Pierce, $2,879
25. Doug Drown (12), Wooster, Ohio, Black Diamond, $2,710
26. Ryan Scott (0R), Pittsfield, Pa., Rocket, $2,710
27. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., Rocket, $2,710
28. Devin Moran (1m), Dresden, Ohio, Rocket, $2,710
29. Ryan Markham (5M), Ashland, Ohio, Swartz, $2,710
30. Justin Chance (92), Lexington, Ohio, Pierce, $2,710
Lap leaders: Davenport 1-29; Sheppard 30-100
Fast qualifier (among 56 cars): Sheppard, 16.645 seconds
Preliminary feature winners: Davenport, Bloomquist, Marlar, Sheppard
Dash winner: Davenport
Heat race winners: Richards, Weiss, Owens, McCreadie, T. Erb, Pearson
Consolation winners: Overton, Drown, Clanton
Non-qualifiers' race winner: Babb
Provisional starters: Pierce, Irey, Markham, Chance, Scott
Lap 100: Sheppard wins the Dirt Million.
Lap 99: Rick Eckert spins in turns three and four to draw a caution, setting up a one-lap dash to the finish.
Lap 98: Shane Clanton slows in the top of turn four with a flat tire to draw a caution.
Lap 85: With 15 laps remaining, Sheppard continues to lead Marlar, Junghans, Owens and Ricky Weiss.
Lap 74: A yellow flag waves for debris on the backstretch. Sheppard leads Junghans, Marlar, Davenport and Owens.
Lap 66: Junghans and Marlar have closed back in on Sheppard in lapped traffic.
Lap 50: Sheppard continues to lead Junghans, Marlar, Davenport, Owens.
Lap 43: Pierce slows to draw a caution. Sheppard leads Davenport, Junghans, Jimmy Owens and Marlar.
Lap 30: Charging around the high side, Sheppard overtakes Junghans and Davenport and assumes the point.
Lap 17: Shannon Babb, Devin Moran, Brian Shirley, Ryan Markham and Ryan Scott tangle in turn two to draw a caution.
Lap 16: The first yellow flag waves for debris on the racing surface. Davenport leads Junghans, Sheppard, Scott Bloomquist and Mike Marlar.
Lap 13: As the frontrunners reach the rear of the field, Brandon Sheppard and Chase Junghans have closed in on Davenport.
Lap one: The green flag waves at 10:34 p.m. Jonathan Davenport leads the opening lap.
10:28 p.m.: Introductions are complete, drivers are strapped in and feature cars have rolled out for pace laps.
10:20 p.m.: It was announced before driver introductions that Bobby Pierce had elected to go to a backup car and will start 30th instead of 25th.
10:03 p.m.: Feature cars have made their way to the frontstretch and driver introductions will get under way shortly.
Dirt Million lineup
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Scott Bloomquist
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Michael Norris
Row 4: Earl Pearson Jr., Tim McCreadie
Row 5: Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb
Row 6: Ricky Weiss, Josh Richards
Row 7: Darrell Lanigan, Jared Landers
Row 8: Rick Eckert, Hudson O’Neal
Row 9: Dennis Erb Jr., Steve Casebolt
Row 10: Brandon Overton, Doug Drown
Row 11: Shane Clanton, Max Blair
Row 12: Brian Shirley, Devin Moran
Row 13: Bobby Pierce, Matt Irey
Row 14: Ryan Markham, Justin Chance
Row 15: Ryan Scott, Shannon Babb
Finish (winner transfers to feature): Shannon Babb, Gregg Satterlee, Dale McDowell, Shanon Buckingham, Boom Briggs, Kent Robinson, Billy Moyer, Johnny Scott, Robby Hensley, Dan Angelicchio, Ryan Missler, Brett Bee, Greg Oakes, Kyle Bronson, Gordy Gundaker, Stormy Scott.
Non-qualifiers’ race lineup
(20 laps; winner transfers to feature)
Row 1: Shannon Babb, Boom Briggs
Row 2: Gordy Gundaker, Gregg Satterlee
Row 3: Shanon Buckingham, Billy Moyer
Row 4: Johnny Scott, Kent Robinson
Row 5: Stormy Scott, Dale McDowell
Row 6: Greg Oakes, Dan Angelicchio
Row 7: Kyle Bronson, Robby Hensley
Row 8: Mike Benedum, Ryan Missler
Row 9: Eddie Carrier Jr., Billy Moyer Jr.
Outside polesitter Shane Clanton charged out to an early lead, with Gordy Gundaker battling Devin Moran for second in the opening laps. Moran nearly slipped over the berm in turn two on the fourth lap, allowing Gundaker to close in and race door-to-door. Clanton stretched his lead late-race, while Moran continued to hold off Gundaker’s challenges. Clanton won the consoaltion, with Moran outdueling Gundaker to finish second and transfer to the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Shane Clanton, Devin Moran, Gordy Gundaker, Billy Moyer, Stormy Scott, Dan Angelicchio, Robby Hensley, Ryan Markham, Ryan Missler, Steve Sabo. Scratched: Chris Ferguson, David Scott.
Outside polesitter Doug Drown edged ahead of fellow front-row starter Bobby Pierce out of turn four to take an early lead, as Brian Shirley began closing in on second-running Pierce in the opening laps. Rolling around the high side, Shirley overtook Pierce for second on lap five, with the No. 32 retiring to the infield pit area. Holding a comfortable lead, Drown won the consolation, with Shirley taking the second and final transfer spot.
Finish (top two transfer): Doug Drown, Brian Shirley, Boom Briggs, Shanon Buckingham, Kent Robinson, Greg Oakes, Matt Irey, Justin Chance, Ryan Scott, Billy Moyer Jr., Bobby Pierce. Scratched: Mason Zeigler.
Front-row starters Max Blair and Brandon Overton raced side-by-side down the backstretch, with Overton edging ahead out of turn two to lead the opening lap. Overton held nearly a half straightaway lead at the halfway mark, with the top two cars pulling away from the rest of the field. Unchallenged, Overton won the consolation, with Blair running second to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Brandon Overton, Max Blair, Shannon Babb, Gregg Satterlee, Johnny Scott, Dale McDowell, Kyle Bronson, Mike Benedum, Eddie Carrier Jr., Brett Bee. Scratched: Jason Miller, Donald McIntosh, Zack Dohm, Dave Hess Jr.
(12 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Max Blair, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Shannon Babb, Dale McDowell
Row 3: Gregg Satterlee, Kyle Bronson
Row 4: Mike Benedum, Johnny Scott
Row 5: Eddie Carrier Jr., Brett Bee
Row 6: Jason Miller, Donald McIntosh
Row 7: Zack Dohm, Dave Hess Jr.
Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Doug Drown
Row 2: Shanon Buckingham, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Boom Briggs, Kent Robinson
Row 4: Mason Zeigler, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 5: Greg Oakes, Matt Irey
Row 6: Justin Chance, Ryan Scott
Row 1: Devin Moran, Shane Clanton
Row 2: Gordy Gundaker, Billy Moyer
Row 3: Stormy Scott, Dan Angelicchio
Row 4: Robby Hensley, Ryan Markham
Row 5: Chris Ferguson, Ryan Missler
Row 6: Steve Sabo, David Scott
Dirt Million Dash
Finish: Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Chase Junghans, Scott Bloomquist, Mike Marlar, Michael Norris.
Polesitter Earl Pearson Jr. shot to an early lead, with Shane Clanton challenging second-starting Steve Casebolt through the opening laps. Rolling the high side, Casebolt began reeling in Pearson late-race but was never able to challenge for the lead. Pearson won the heat with Casebolt taking the second and final transfer spot.
Finish (top two transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Casebolt, Shane Clanton, Billy Moyer, Dan Angelicchio, Ryan Markham, Ryan Missler. Scratched: David Scott.
Polesitter Tyler Erb shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, with Devin Moran and Dennis Erb Jr. battling side-by-side for second in the opening laps. Moran overtook Erb Jr. for second on the second lap, with Erb Jr. shooting back ahead down the backstretch to regain the position on lap eight. Pulling away late-race, Erb won the heat, with Erb Jr. running second to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Tyler Erb, Dennis Erb Jr., Devin Moran, Gordy Gundaker, Stormy Scott, Robby Hensley, Chris Ferguson, Steve Sabo.
Slipping under fellow front-row starter Hudson O’Neal out of turn two, outside polesitter Tim McCreadie took an early lead. McCreadie continued to show the way out front at the halfway mark, with cars racing single-file behind the leader. Charging around the top side, O’Neal began closing in on McCreadie in the final laps, but it was McCreadie taking the checkered flag.
Finish (top two transfer): Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal, Doug Drown, Brian Shirley, Kent Robinson, Billy Moyer Jr., Matt Irey, Ryan Scott.
Powering ahead in turns one and two, Jimmy Owens led the opening lap, with Rick Eckert and Bobby pierce racing door-to-door for second. Owens started to stretch his lead at the halfway point, with Eckert pulling away from Pierce to run a comfortable second. Owens won the heat, with Eckert taking the second and final transfer spot.
Finish (top two transfer): Jimmy Owens, Rick Eckert, Bobby Pierce, Shanon Buckingham, Boom Briggs, Mason Zeigler, Greg Oakes, Justin Chance.
Polesitter Ricky Weiss took an early lead, as fellow front-row starter Brandon Overton slipped back to fourth in the opening laps. Overton began working his way back to the front at the halfway mark, reeling in second-running Jared Landers after overtaking Dale McDowell for third. Overton nosed ahead of Landers at the line to take second on lap eight, with Landers retaking the position at the white flag. Leading all 10 laps, Weiss won the heat, with Landers finishing second to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top two transfer): Ricky Weiss, Jared Landers, Brandon Overton, Dale McDowell, Kyle Bronson, Johnny Scott, Brett Bee. Scratched: Donald McIntosh, Dave Hess Jr.
Polesitter Josh Richards charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, holding a comfortable lead through the early distance. Richards stretched his lead to a half straightaway at the halfway mark, as Max Blair began reeling in third-running Shannon Babb. Unchallenged, Richards won the heat, with Lanigan running third. Blair nosed ahead of Babb at the checkered flag to finish third.
Finish (top two transfer): Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan, Max Blair, Shannon Babb, Gregg Satterlee, Mike Benedum, Eddie Carrier Jr., Jason Miller. Scratched: Zack Dohm.
Mansfield Motor Speedway’s Dirt Million weekend concludes this evening under ideal weather conditions. Partly sunny skies have prevailed throughout the day with temperatures, which reached the mid-70s, expected to dip into the 50s to gives attendees a little taste of autumn. … The only scratch among drivers who competed on Friday is Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga. … Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., experienced trouble after transferring in a Friday-night heat — his Richard Haven-owned car was towed back to the pits due to a broken shifter linkage — but he came back to finish eighth in the second 30-lap Duel. He starts third in a Saturday heat as he attempts to crack the Dirt Million starting field one year after failing to qualify for the inaugural event because he slammed hard into the inside wall on the backstretch during a heat race. … Chris Ferguson of Mt. Holly, N.C., who starts fifth in Saturday’s Heat 5, failed to make a feature on Friday night due to a broken rearend in his B-main. … Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., who is entered in the weekend’s action as a Dunn Benson Motorsports teammate to Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, has some work to do in his bid to make the 100-lapper after he absorbed a Friday DNQ following a broken lift bar and driveshaft early in his heat. … The lone driver among the six already locked into the Dirt Million headliner who didn’t start year’s inaugural event is Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa., who is making what it expected to be his last appearance in the Clint Bowyer Racing No. 5 as the fill-in driver for the sidelined Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. … During Saturday’s drivers’ meeting, Lucas Oil Series director Rick Schwallie asked the assemblage to give Mansfield promoter Cody Sommer a round of applause “for all he’s done here” in orchestrating an event that offers in the neighborhood of a half-million dollars in prize money. … This year’s Saturday-night program includes a non-qualifiers’ race that sends its winner to the 100-lapper and offers a $2,000 consolation prize to the second-place finisher and $200 for last place. … Schwallie also told the drivers that the pace laps for the feature will include a missing-man formation in honor of former World 100 winner Randy Boggs, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 67.
Dirt Million Dash
(six laps; determines first three rows of feature lineup)
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Mike Marlar, Chase Junghans
Row 3: Scott Bloomquist, Michael Norris
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top two transfer)
Row 1: Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Shannon Babb, Max Blair
Row 3: Mike Benedum, Gregg Satterlee
Row 4: Eddie Carrier Jr., Jason Miller
Row 5: Zack Dohm
Row 1: Ricky Weiss, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Jared Landers, Dale McDowell
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Johnny Scott
Row 4: Donald McIntosh, Brett Bee
Row 5: Dave Hess Jr.
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Rick Eckert
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Shanon Buckingham
Row 3: Mason Zeigler, Boom Briggs
Row 4: Greg Oakes, Justin Chance
Row 1: Hudson O’Neal, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Kent Robinson, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Doug Drown, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Matt Irey, Ryan Scott
Row 1: Tyler Erb, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Devin Moran, Gordy Gundaker
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Stormy Scott
Row 4: Robby Hensley, Steve Sabo
Row 1: Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Casebolt
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Billy Moyer
Row 3: David Scott, Dan Angelicchio
Row 4: Ryan Missler, Ryan Markham
Mansfield Motor Speedway’s second annual Dirt Million wraps up with Saturday’s 100-lap finale. As of Saturday morning, the feature’s total purse boasted $314,065 but the official total will not be announced until shortly before main event cars are set to take the track.
As preliminary feature winners, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., have all earned a starting spot in Saturday’s feature. As high-point earners over two nights of preliminary action, Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., and Michael Norris of Sarver, Pa., are also locked in to the weekend finale.
Saturday’s program will include six heat races (top two transfer), three consolations (top two transfer) and the six-lap Dirt Million Dash, which will set the first three rows of the feature lineup. Heat race winners will redraw for their starting spot. The top five drivers in Dirt Million Driver Rewards points will earn a provisional for the 100-lapper. Drivers finishing third through eighth in each consolation will transfer to the $2,000-to-win non-qualifiers’ race.
5 p.m. Drivers meeting
6 p.m.: Hot laps
7 p.m.: Opening ceremonies
- Heat races (10 laps)
- Dirt Million Dash (six laps)
- Consolations (12 laps)
- Non-qualifiers’ race (20 laps)
Track prep/pre-race ceremonies
- Dirt Million driver introductions
- Dirt Million feature (100 laps)