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Daily Dirt 04/23/2024 18:00:11

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February 6
East Bay Raceway Park,
Gibsonton, FL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Wrisco Winternationals) - $7,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac and Todd Turner (last updated February 7, 9:09 am)
Sheppard grabs second win of week at East Bay
Wrisco Winternationals
  1. Brandon Sheppard
  2. Josh Richards
  3. Billy Moyer Jr.
  4. Jimmy Owens
  5. Devin Moran
  6. Boom Briggs
  7. Brandon Overton
  8. Brian Shirley
  9. Billy Moyer
  10. Tyler Erb
  11. Kyle Bronson
  12. G.R. Smith
  13. Hudson O'Neal
  14. Shane Clanton
  15. Earl Pearson Jr.
  16. Jonathan Davenport
  17. Mike Marlar
  18. Shanon Buckingham
  19. Tyler Bruening
  20. Matt Cosner
  21. David Breazeale
  22. Tanner English
  23. Coleby Frye
  24. Mason Zeigler
  25. Chase Junghans
  26. Tim McCreadie
  27. Jesse Stovall
  28. Dennis Erb Jr.
  29. Stormy Scott
  30. Jadon Frame
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Brandon Sheppard in victory lane after his $7,000 victory.
What won the race: Storming to the front from the sixth row, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., led 27 laps Thursday at East Bay Raceway Park for his second Wrisco Winternationals victory of the week. Sheppard, who slid under Boom Briggs to lead the 14th lap, earned $7,000 in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event.
Key notes: One of the longest-running Georgia-Florida Speedweeks tracks, East Bay hosts six straight nights of Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series action for the 44th annual Wrisco Industries Winternationals. ... Hall of Famer Billy Moyer is the all-time winningest East Bay Speedweeks driver with 27 victories. ... By 2024, the third-mile oval is expected to be shuttered and sold to the neighboring Mosaic Co., one of the world’s largest fertilizer-producing firms.
On the move: Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who was relegated to a last-row starting spot because his rear deck height was too high in pre-race inspection, rallied to finish second.
Winner's sponsors: Sheppard’s Rocket Chassis has a Durham Racing Engine and sponsorship from Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis, Ace Metal Works, Gunter’s Honey, Hoosier Racing Tire, Integra Racing Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing Co., Petroff Towing, Slavic Shirts & Decals, Sunoco Race Fuels and Sallack Well Services.
Points chase: After East Bay Thursday: 1. Brandon Sheppard (1,120); 2. Tim McCreadie (1,080); 3. Devin Moran (1,055); 4. Brandon Overton (1,020); 5. Mike Marlar (925); 6. Tyler Erb (910); 7. Jonathan Davenport (905); 8. Josh Richards (890); 9. Jimmy Owens (860); T10. Kyle Bronson (850); T10. Shane Clanton (850).
Current weather: Clear, 77°F
Car count: 58
Fast qualifier: Tim McCreadie
Time: 14.985 seconds
Polesitter: Brandon Overton
Dash winner: Jesse Stovall
Heat race winners: Brandon Overton, Boom Briggs, Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson, Billy Moyer Jr.
Consolation race winners: Jadon Frame, Josh Richards, Chase Junghans
Provisional starters: Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O'Neal, Stormy Scott, Tyler Bruening, Tanner English, Coleby Frye
Next series race: February 7, East Bay Raceway Park (Gibsonton, FL) $12,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
By Kevin Kovac and Todd Turner

GIBSONTON, Fla. — On a blustery night at East Bay Raceway Park, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., blew the 30-car field away for his second Wrisco Winternationals victory of the week in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition.

Quickly racing to the front from his 12th starting spot, Sheppard slid under Boom Briggs to lead the 14th lap and raced to a $7,000 victory, the 17th of his career on the national tour and fifth at East Bay.

“Man, it feels good to be up here again,” the 27-year-old Sheppard said. “Hopefully, I think we maybe learned a little bit about the car tonight, so hopefully we can get our qualifying efforts a little bit better tomorrow so I don’t have to work as hard tomorrow.”

Sheppard took the checkers 1.797 seconds ahead of a charging Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., to become the week’s first two-time winner. He earned $5,000 for a Tuesday victory in the Rocket Chassis house car.

Richards, who had to start on the last row for a pre-race technical violation, rallied to second with Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., finishing third in the 40-lap main event. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., and Monday’s winner Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, rounded out the top five.

Front-row starters Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., split time leading early in the race, but neither were in contention at the finish. Overton was third past the midway point but slipped back to seventh while McCreadie faded to ninth by mid-race and headed to the infield where crew members checked under the hood for a fuel pickup issue that forced him to retire in 26th.

Sheppard thanked his Rocket Chassis house car team for helping him make up ground from the second night from the 12th starting spot (he finished third Wednesday).

“It’s all thanks to my guys for not giving up on me,” Sheppard said. “Our qualifying efforts weren’t what they needed to be tonight, for sure, and you know, Mark Richards and Steve Baker (of Rocket Chassis), and my great crew, Dan, Austin and Joel, them guys stuck behind me the whole time. They were confident I could get up through there.

“I’ll tell you what, I think I’m going to have gray hair by the time we leave here. … You just don’t know where to go. I knew at some point the (high-side) cushion was going to be the place to be, but the bottom, it was working for me there at the beginning of the race, and I just, you know, you don’t really know when to move. So I just stuck with it and stuck with it and then I seen 14 (Richards) on the board there, and I knew I had to get my elbows up.”

Richards, who was scheduled to start 20th but had to go to the tail because his rear deck height was too high in pre-race technical inspection, broke into the top 10 at halfway and reached the second spot on a lap-32 restart.

“We’ll certainly take it. Brandon’s been really good and I just can’t thank those guys enough for the help (from) my dad and everybody,” Richards said. “We’ve had a great car in the feature, we just haven’t been able to show it. I think they made a little bit of a bogus call putting us to the tail there, but we’ll have to discuss that later.

“It can’t take away from the night that we had … We’ve just gotta get a little bit better and starter (closer to the front) and I think we’ll be there,” Richards added.

Billy Moyer Jr., who matched his best career Lucas Oil finish (a previous third-place finish at East Bay in 2015), started sixth and moved into the second position early in the second half of the race.

“I didn’t have nothing for (Sheppard). I think that one caution, my right-front (tire) completely went away, and I couldn’t run that bottom like earlier in the race. Then you just gotta go up there and run like an idiot around that top and steer with the back tires, but this Capital Race Car’s awesome. I’m just tickled to death to drive it,” said Moyer, who didn’t have a single top-five on the Lucas Oil Series in 2019. “We didn’t need that one long caution. I think we’ve might’ve had a shot at second, but I didn’t have nothing for Sheppy and them guys.

“I got my daughter and my wife watching, and all the family, my brother’s probably yelling at the TV. So it’s nice to finally get on the screen. After last year, I didn’t know if I’d just forgot how to drive.”

The 40-lapper was slowed seven times, including for a lap-32 red flag when Coleby Frye’s car rolled in turn four against the outside wall. He wasn’t hurt.

Five other cautions appeared, including for a multicar scramble on the 21st lap after Mike Marlar slowed on the backstretch, ending Jesse Stovall’s race and sending others to the pits.

The first caution appeared on the second lap when Jadon Frame hit the infield tire barrier in turn one and stopped with heavy front-end damage. Earl Pearson Jr. spun in turn four on the 10th lap for another yellow and Mason Zeigler spun exiting turn four on lap 18 after tangling with Brian Shirley. Debris caused a lap-20 caution and Marlar drew another yellow on lap 27.

East Bay’s Super Late Model action continues Friday with a $12,000-to-win event. Hot laps are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and racing at 7:10 with MavTV providing live video coverage. Saturday’s $12,000-to-win event is scheduled to wrap up the six-race week.

Notes: High winds hampered the entire night with a severe thunderstorm warning in effect near feature time. … Ninth-running Tyler Erb ducked into the infield hot pit just before a mid-race restart. … Besides Richards (scheduled to start 20th), Chase Junghans (scheduled to start 21st) also had to start on the tail because of a too-high rear deck. … Johnny Scott was slated to get a provisional, but because he had loaded up, Tanner English got the spot just moments before the race started.

Preliminary results and notes:

Main event lineup

Row 1: Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Boom Briggs, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Mike Marlar, Mason Zeigler
Row 5: Dennis Erb Jr., Tyler Erb
Row 6: Brian Shirley, Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Shanon Buckingham, Shane Clanton
Row 8: Devin Moran, Billy Moyer Sr.
Row 9: David Breazeale, G.R. Smith
Row 10: Jadon Frame, Josh Richards
Row 11: Chase Junghans, Jonathan Davenport
Row 12: Hudson O'Neal, Matt Cosner
Row 13: Jesse Stovall, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 14: Stormy Scott, Tyler Bruening
Row 15: Tanner English, Coleby Frye

Pre-feature notes

Brandon Overton will start the 40-lap feature from the pole position as he attempts to shed his developing status of the bridesmaid of Speedweeks 2020. The Georgia driver, who won a Winternationals feature in 2018, has finished second in three of the four Lucas Oil Series events contested so far during Speedweeks. … Overton seized command for good in the first heat after trading sliders with Jason Rauen, whose night came to a abrupt end on the first lap of the prelim when he slid high into the slime in turn two and clipped the outside wall with his car’s right-rear corner. With the damage restricted primarily to the rear deck, Rauen said the machine will be ready for action on Friday, albeit with Brian Birkhofer taking over the driving chores for the remainder of the week. Rauen quipped that he “did all the hard work” getting the car tuned up for Birkhofer. … Billy Moyer Jr.’s triumph in the sixth heat was a reward for the many hours of hard work put in by him and and his crew to repair the damage his 3-race-old Capital Race Car sustained in a Wednesday feature accident. … Kyle Bronson rebounded well from his vicious Wednesday feature wreck with Jonathan Davenport, winning the fifth heat in his backup car. He said after the victory that he was hoping to win the feature and then “take a nap” because he slept only a few hours overnight with his time occupied by switching over his Crate Late Model to serve as his second Super Late Model for the remainder of Speedweeks. … Boom Briggs continued his strong qualifying efforts, winning a heat for the second consecutive night. His winning prelim effort came after he was early retiree from Wednesday’s feature due to a broken motor; his crew spent most of Thursday morning and afternoon changing powerplants. … Hudson O’Neal was forced out of his heat after he bumped together with Brian Shirley in turn four and then slowed with a broken J-bar. The MasterSbilt house car team repaired the machine in time for O’Neal to start his consolation race but he failed to transfer, forcing him to rely on a provisional to start the headliner.

Consolation race results

(10 laps; winner transfers)

First consolation: Jadon Frame, Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Freddie Carpenter, Charles Powell, Austin Burns, Blair Nothdurft, Jason Riggs, Tanner English, Joey Moriarty. Scratched: Clay Harris, Trever Feathers, Jason Rauen.

Second consolation: Josh Richards, Jesse Stovall, Rick Eckert, Pearson Lee Williams, Blake Spencer, Joel Callahan, Dan Stone, Jason Miller, Allen Murray, Justin Rattliff, Hudson O'Neal, Donald McIntosh. Scratched: Johnny Scott.

Third consolation: Chase Junghans, Matt Cosner, David Seibers, Kyle Lear, Brent Larson, Coleby Frye, Tyler Bruening, Jeff Mathews, Stacy Boles. Scratched: Stormy Scott, Logan Roberson, Colton Flinner, Joe Denby.

Berry Barn Strawberry Dash (two transfer): Jesse Stovall, Earl Pearson Jr., David Seibers, Rick Eckert, Pearson Lee Williams, Kyle Lear, Coleby Frye, Austin Burns, Brent Larson, Blake Spencer, Freddie Carpenter. Scratched: Charles Powell.

Heat race recap

When outside front-row starter Jason Rauen threw an elbow at first heat polesitter Brandon Overton in turn four on the first lap, Overton went right back under him to regain the lead as Rauen got too high and slid into the turn-two wall. Rauen retired while Overton grabbed the victory. … Second-heat winner Boom Briggs took a prelim for the second straight night. … In the third heat, Hudson O’Neal apparently lost power after making contact with Brian Shirley in turn two while trying to take the second spot. … Fast-timer Tim McCreadie led the final three laps of the fourth heat after a side-by-side battle with Mason Zeigler, who settled for second. … Kyle Bronson, who destroyed a car Wednesday, raced to a fifth heat victory in a backup car. … Billy Moyer Jr. overcame a first-lap slipup in turn two and cruised to victory in the final heat.

Heat race results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat: Brandon Overton, Mike Marlar, Shanon Buckingham, Jadon Frame, Charles Powell, Joey Moriarty, Blair Nothdurft, Clay Harris, Treer Feathers, Jason Rauen.

Second heat: Boom Briggs, Dennis Erb Jr., Devin Moran, Tanner English, Jonathan Davenport, Freddie Carpenter, Earl Pearson Jr., Jason Riggs, Austin Burns.

Third heat: Jimmy Owens, Brian Shirley, David Breazeale, Josh Richards, Jesse Stovall, Pearson Lee Williams, Rick Eckert, Dan Stone, Hudson O'Neal.

Fourth heat: Tim McCreadie, Mason Zeigler, Shane Clanton, Donald McIntosh, Blake Spencer, Johnny Scott, Allen Murray, Justin Rattliff, Jason Miller. Scratched: Joel Callahan.

Fifth heat: Kyle Bronson, Tyler Erb, Billy Moyer, Brent Larson, Stacy Boles, Coleby Frye, Kyle Lear, Stormy Scott, Colton Flinner. Scratched: Joe Denby.

Sixth heat: Billy Moyer, Brandon Sheppard, G.R. Smith, Matt Cosner, David Seibers, Chase Junghans, Tyler Bruening, Logan Roberson, Jeff Mathews.

Time trials (unofficial)

Driver (car no.), hometown
Group A

  1. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.126
  2. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.147
  3. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.370
  4. Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, 15.425
  5. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.463
  6. Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 15.496
  7. Charles Powell (94), Brookville, Pa., 15.497
  8. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.588
  9. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.606
  10. Jadon Frame (J8), Decherd, Tenn., 15.673
  11. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.687
  12. Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.710
  13. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.746
  14. Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va., 15.754
  15. David Breazeale (10), Four Corners, Miss., 15.791
  16. Trever Feathers (20), Winchester, Va., 15.803
  17. Tanner English (81e), Benton, Ky., 15.840
  18. Jason Riggs (81r), Harrisburg, Ill., 16.069
  19. Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., 16.087
  20. Jesse Stovall (00), Billings, Mo., 16.108
  21. Pearson Lee Williams (2), Dublin, Ga., 16.133
  22. Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 16.135
  23. Austin Burns (22), Morgantown, Ind., 16.137
  24. Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.195
  25. Rick Eckert (0), York, Pa., 16.307
  26. Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz., 16.453
  27. Dan Stone (2), Thompson, Pa., 16.636
  28. Clay Harris (6), Jupiter, Fla., 17.132
  29. Kerry King (KB0), Delmar, Del., no time

Group B

  1. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.985
  2. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.109
  3. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.195
  4. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 15.296
  5. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.318
  6. Matt Cosner (66c), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.319
  7. Jason Miller (94), Winchester, Va., 15.350
  8. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.401
  9. G.R. Smith (89), Cornelius, N.C., 15.447
  10. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.471
  11. Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 15.491
  12. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.492
  13. Blake Spencer (6), St. Augustine, Fla., 15.521
  14. Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 15.522
  15. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.559
  16. Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.578
  17. Stacy Boles (11B), Clinton, Tenn., 15.614
  18. David Seibers (18), Chapel Hill, Tenn., 15.638
  19. Allen Murray (2), San Antonio, Texas, 15.681
  20. Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.695
  21. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.697
  22. Joel Callahan (40), Dubuque, Iowa, 15.699
  23. Kyle Lear (000), Severna Park, Md., 15.701
  24. Logan Roberson (17), Waynesboro, Va., 15.708
  25. Coleby Frye (F1), Dover, Pa., 15.834
  26. Jeff Mathews (33), Brandon, Fla., 15.911
  27. Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.914
  28. Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 15.950
  29. Joe Denby (27), Tullahoma, Tenn., 16.127

Thursday’s pre-qualifying notes

Weather conditions for Night 4 of the Wrisco Winternationals are decidedly different than the past three evenings. While Thursday’s high temperature topped 80s degrees, winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts even higher, have whipped the area all day and a front carrying heavy rain and possible severe thunderstorms is approaching Florida’s Gulf Coast. … Forecasts call for the rain to begin arriving later this evening, so Lucas Oil Series officials plan to shift to hurry-up mode in an effort to beat Mother Nature. Series director Rick Schwallie said during the drivers’ meeting that the distance of heats will be reduced to eight laps (from 10) and consolation races to 10 circuits (from 12) to push the show along and the Berry Barn Strawberry Dash could potentially be scrapped to save time. … Because of safety concerns, high winds have prompted the Lucas Oil Racing TV team to leave the camera lifts and in turns one and three and tower cameras unmanned for this evening’s live broadcast. … Another byproduct of the whipping winds: sand is blowing across the pit area, leaving everyone struggling to keep it out of their eyes and mouths. Josh Richards’s crewmen were among those who donned goggles while working in the pits. “It’s like we’re in a desert right now,” Richards team member Cody Duncan said. … Thursday’s entry list dipped below 60 for the first time this week, settling in at 58 cars. Only Greg Oakes of Franklinville, N.Y., has departed the track, however. … Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., is sitting out Thursday’s action after coming down with a sickness that has apparently made its rounds of team members in the hauler. … After turning heads with a strong qualifying effort that put him into his first-ever Lucas Oil Series feature on Wednesday, Ken Monahan of Lakeland, Fla., isn’t competing this evening because he’s feeling under the weather. Others sitting out: Vic Hill, Todd Brennan, Chris Garnes, John Tweed and Allen Weisser. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., said he has some slight soreness in his shoulders and lower back following his hard Wednesday-night wreck with Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla. The defending Lucas Oil Series champion is driving his backup car tonight; a new car that was sitting assembled at the Longhorn shop in Trinity, N.C., is expected to arrive at East Bay around 7 o’clock tonight to replace his heavily damaged machine. … Bronson reported no significant soreness in his body from the crash, though the 29-year-old and his crew are a bit tired after working until nearly 4 a.m. at his nearby shop to switch his Crate Late Model over to serve as his backup Super Late Model mount for the remainder of Speedweeks. … Joey Cudmore of FireAde Motorsports demonstrated fire extinguishing products at the drivers’ meeting. … Jason Miller of Winchester, Va., said Thursday would be his final night of action because he has to head north to coach his daughter’s basketball game. Acknowledging the threat of rain that Thursday’s program is running under, Miller joked to Lucas Oil Series technical director Steve Francis that “it’ll be just my luck that I finally make it into the feature tonight and then it’ll rain so they’ll push the thing to tomorrow when I can’t be here.”

Thursday's prerace setup

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series head into the fourth round the Wrisco Winternationals without a repeat winner with another $7,000-to-win event on tap at the third-mile oval near Tampa.

Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., on Wednesday added his name to the week’s list of winners along with Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, and Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill. McCreadie’s second series victory of the season — he won Saturday’s opener at Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, Ga. — matches his series victory total from 2018-19 on the national tour.

McCreadie, Moran and Sheppard are on task to prevent 2020 from being the first six-winner Speedweeks since 2014, the last year there wasn’t a repeat winner among the six scheduled races.

Meanwhile, reigning series champ Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., and Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., will have to rebound from frontstretch calamity with five laps remaining in Wednesday’s main event when the leading Davenport’s nosepiece folded under and he collected Bronson at the flagstand in a violent wreck.

Thursday’s action includes hot laps, time trials, six heat races (top three transfer), three consolation races (winner transfers) and 40-lap main event for what’s expected to be a 30-car field. With rain expected to move in later in the evening, officials cut a couple of laps out of heat and consolation races and plan to run a hurry-up program.

Thursday's schedule

2 p.m. - Pit gates reopen
5 p.m. - Grandstands open
5 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
5:30 p.m. - On-track action
Hot laps
Time trials
7 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
7:10 p.m. - Racing begins
- Heat races (8 laps)
- Consolation races (10 laps)
- Berry Barn Strawberry Dash (8 laps)
- Main event (40 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Overton, McCreadie
Row 2: Briggs, Bronson
Row 3: Owens, Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Marlar, Zeigler
Row 5: D. Erb, T. Erb
Row 6: Shirley, Sheppard
Row 7: Buckingham, Clanton
Row 8: Moran, Moyer Sr.
Row 9: Breazeale, Smith
Row 10: Frame, Richards
Row 11: Junghans, Davenport
Row 12: O'Neal, Cosner
Row 13: Stovall, Pearson
Row 14: S. Scott, Bruening
Row 15: English, Frye

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