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Daily Dirt 04/18/2024 08:57:49

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August 20
Eriez Speedway,
Hammett, PA
Sanction: World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series - $10,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated August 21, 3:04 am)
Perfect in Pennsy: B-Shepp tops Eriez WoO
  1. Brandon Sheppard
  2. Russ King
  3. Eric Wells
  4. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  5. Max Blair
  6. Rick Eckert
  7. Morgan Bagley
  8. Devin Moran
  9. Chub Frank
  10. Steve Kania
  11. Chris Madden
  12. Dave Hess Jr.
  13. Tyler Erb
  14. Shane Clanton
  15. Bob Dorman
  16. Chris Hackett
  17. Bump Hedman
  18. Breyton Santee
  19. Jared Miley
  20. Greg Oakes
  21. Ward Schell
  22. Doug Eck
  23. Andy Boozel
  24. Cody Egner
  25. Pete Alspaugh
presented by
Todd Battin
Brandon Sheppard tunes up before his victory at Eriez Speedway.
What won the race: Completing a sweep of weekend World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series events in Pennsylvania, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., inherited the lead when Jared Miley of Pittsburgh, Pa., spun on lap 48 and outran outside polesitter Russ King of Bristolville, Ohio, on the restart to capture Sunday night's 50-lap A-main at Eriez Speedway. The points leader's 14th WoO triumph of 2017 was worth $10,000.
Key notes: Seven cars topped the previous track record of 15.113 seconds in qualifying. ... It was the third stop of a three-race WoO weekend that kicked of Thursday night at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway and shifted to Port Royal (Pa.) on Saturday.
On the move: Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, started 15th and finished eighth.
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 Eriez: 1. Brandon Sheppard (4,584 points), 2. Chris Madden (4,306), 3. Shane Clanton (4,256), 4. Tyler Erb (4,218), 5. Devin Moran (4,216), 6. Rick Eckert (4,192), 7. Eric Wells (4,104), 8. Chub Frank (4,040), 9. Frank Heckenast Jr. (4,034), 10. Morgan Bagley (3,992).
Car count: 25
Fast qualifier: Brandon Sheppard
Time: 14.940 seconds
Heat race winners: Brandon Sheppard, Chris Madden, Russ King
Next series race: August 26, Merritt Speedway (Lake City, MI) $6,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From series and staff reports

HAMMETT, Pa. (Aug. 20) — A perfect weekend in Pennsylvania has Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., closing in on World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series history.

Sheppard’s victory in Sunday night’s 50-lap feature at Eriez Speedway was his second in as many days in the Keystone State and pushed his 2017 checkered-flag total to 14, putting him within reach of the national tour’s single-season win record of 18 set last year by Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., Sheppard’s predecessor behind the wheel of the Rocket Chassis house car.

“He’s done an incredible job this year,” Rocket house car owner Mark Richards said of Sheppard during Eriez’s victory lane ceremonies. “Whenever Josh decided he was gonna go take that other ride (with Best Performance Motorsports for ’17), we knew (Sheppard) was the guy to fill the seat and he’s lived up to it.”

The 24-year-old sensation had to work hard — and benefit from a dose of good fortune — to score his latest $10,000 triumph, however. After storming to a flag-to-flag win in Saturday night’s 40-lap WoO A-main at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway, Sheppard didn’t move to the front of the pack at Eriez until the race’s final moments.

Sheppard shot from the fifth starting spot to second place behind outside polesitter Russ King of Bristolville, Ohio, on the feature’s opening lap, but he lost the number two spot to sixth-starter Jared Miley of Pittsburgh, Pa., on a lap-19 restart and proceeded to settle into third place for an extended period. The runaway WoO points leader finally regained second on lap 40 with an inside move on King, who led laps 1-35 until he slid high in turn four and ceded the position to Miley.

Then Sheppard turned up the wick in an attempt to deny fellow XR1 Rocket campaigner Miley a career-first WoO triumph. Sheppard used the bottom lane off turn four to surge ahead and lead lap 46, but Miley was back in the top spot on lap 47 as Sheppard found himself pinned behind a lapped car.

Miley, 31, appeared primed to withstand Sheppard’s charge until disaster struck on lap 48. He lost the handle of his family-owned machine as he followed Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, into turn three and spun between the corners, bringing out the race’s fifth and final caution flag and putting Sheppard in the lead.

Sheppard glided away on the ensuing restart, beating King to the finish line by 1.927 seconds to register his 20th career WoO victory.

Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., inched forward from the seventh starting spot to finish third despite losing the brakes on his Longhorn Race Car midway through the feature. It was his eight top-five run of the 2017 WoO campaign but first since a fifth on July 14 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.

Polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., settled for a fourth-place finish in his Black Diamond mount that marked his third top-five WoO outing in August and Max Blair of Centerville, Pa., who won his first-ever WoO feature on June 20 at McKean County Raceway in East Smethport, Pa., advanced from the 12th starting spot to place fifth in his XR1 Rocket.

Sheppard acknowledged that while he once again possessed a stout car, he needed to catch a break to log back-to-back WoO wins for the third time this season.

“The track was just starting to clean up a little bit there, and the more the track was cleaning up, the better our car was getting,” said Sheppard, who has 11 more chances to win the five races that would gain him the tour’s single-season win record. “I was able to drive straight, kind of through the middle-bottom of the track where them guys (Miley and King) were running a little bit higher than I was. I could catch that brown coming off the corner a little bit … I don’t know if them guys weren’t seeing that down there or what the deal was, but we were definitely getting better.

“I was right on Jared when he got into that lapped car, but I don’t know if I would’ve been able to pass him or not,” he added. “Tonight the luck was on our side.”

King, 28, didn’t have sufficient speed in his XR1 Rocket to seriously bid for his first-ever WoO win after losing the lead to Miley, but the tour’s 2009 Rookie of the Year was pleased with his career-best finish on the series.

“I knew if I could get out a little (early in the race) and get clear of Brandon to get my momentum in the middle we were gonna be OK,” King said. “Then I didn’t see him for awhile and I kind of rode around and was all right, but I caught lapped traffic and I kind of went the wrong way a couple times and got my tires hot and I felt myself giving up from there. That’s what separates these guys that do this all the time — they can keep themselves under control and not make mistakes, not get their tires hot and then start struggling.

“We’re getting closer,” he continued. “It’s taken me like 10 years to get to this point, so maybe in another 10 we might win one.”

Prior to the final caution flag for Miley’s spin, the feature was slowed on lap one; lap nine for a turn-four spin by fifth-place Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga.; lap nine for damage to the nose of the car driven by Steve Kania of Erie, Pa.; and lap 19 for a turn-one spin by Bump Hedman of Sugar Grove, Pa.

Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., remained second in the WoO points standings — albeit an enormous 278 points behind Sheppard — after finishing 11th because a flat left-rear tire forced him to relinquish fifth place and pit during the caution period for Kania.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Heckenast, King
Row 2: Bagley, Sheppard
Row 3: Madden, Miley
Row 4: Wells, Clanton
Row 5: Eckert, Erb
Row 6: Frank, M. Blair
Row 7: Oakes, Dorman
Row 8: Moran, Hess
Row 9: Hedman, Eck
Row 10: Boozel, Kania
Row 11: Santee, Alspaugh
Row 12: Egner, Hackett
Row 13: Schell
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