GIBSONTON, Fla. — Pole-starting Brandon Sheppard made the wrong move in losing the lead to Brandon Overton on the eighth lap of Wednesday's Wrisco Winternationals main event. The 29-year-old New Berlin, Ill., driver made all the right moves the rest of the way at East Bay Raceway Park.
Regaining the point from Overton on the 13th lap, Sheppard kept the 26-car field in check the rest of the 40-lapper in becoming the third two-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series winner of the season.
"(Overton) passed me in lapped traffic there, and when you're leading you don't know whether you need to pull out (to the high groove) and try to pass him guys or what to do," Sheppard said, "so luckily he was missing the bottom there a little bit getting into (turn) one, and that let us be able to get underneath him in one and two. After that I knew I needed to hit my marks and the cautions fell when they needed to fall."
Fifth-starting Ashton Winger of Hampton, Ga., drove under Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, on the last restart to grab the second spot while home-track driver Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., rallied from an early pit stop in the top groove to finish fourth. Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., rounded out the top five.
Evans, Ga.'s Overton, a two-time Lucas Oil winner who led laps 8-12, fell from contention after a lap-30 restart and retired in the final laps. His car suffered left-front damage in a turn-two tangle with Ricky Thornton Jr. just after the yellow flag dropped with 11 laps remaining.
Monday's winner Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., wasn't a factor in finishing 13th while series points leader Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio — another two-time series winner — was 10th for his worst finish of the season.
Erb took a few cracks at Sheppard, but the Rocket Chassis house car driver held on for his seventh career Winternationals victory.
"Man, the restarts are really stressful here," he said. "You don't know where to take off at. I took off way too early that one time, but I thought that was gonna you know keep me from getting passed on one of them restarts."
Winger posted his best career Speedweeks finish and congratulated Sheppard for his solid performance.
"It feels like you lose about 10 of them before you get a chance to win one," Winger said."I guess if you're gonna run second to anybody, it should be a Brandon. Congrats to them guys. I know they've been working hard, and their cars really good and they got really good program there. We're just a little off. I can't fire off I feel like as good as I need to. Man, them restarts are hectic."
Erb, who held the second spot from laps 16-20 and again from 24-36, wasn't happy with the track's drier-than-usual conditions.
"Just happy to get to second there and then just had to try something on the restart," Erb said. "Went to the top and let Winger get by us. But we'll take it and move on to tomorrow and hopefully the grader and the water truck's got plenty of water, because this isn't the East Bay people want to see."
Bronson, who started 16th, was mired in 17th when he pitted on the first caution. But he got rolling in the high groove to charge into contention.
"We wasn't that good at the beginning of the race, but we come in and made a few changes there and our car got pretty good there, you know. I'm just going to give all the credit the guys and stuff," Bronson said. "After that ... most of the time I had a clear shot (in the high groove.) I could hear my fans up there — you know, that's my hometown crowd — yelling at me, screaming at me for running 15th all week.
"So, you know, we've got to get up on the wheel and give these guys a win before the end of the week. So I'm looking forward to it. We went back to what we know and it was pretty good. We're just going to tweak on that and hopefully I'll be back in victory lane tomorrow."
The 40-lapper was slowed by six cautions, the first two coming back-to-back on the ninth and 10 laps. The initial caution flag dropped when series points leader Devin Moran spun near the turn-three entrance, while another quick yellow appeared Spencer Hughes stopped in turn two.
The third caution appeared on lap 21 for a slowing Freddie Carpenter and the fourth slowdown came out on lap 30 for debris just before Overton and Thornton tangled in turn two, causing left-front damage on Overton's machine.
The fifth and final yellow dropped on lap 37 for the slowing Overton.
Action resumes Thursday with another $7,000-to-win event with favorable weather forecasts the rest of the week after Tuesday's rainout, which won't be made up.
Notes: Sheppard has 18 career Georgia-Florida Speedweeks victories. ... Seventeen of 26 starters completed 40 laps. ... First-year East Bay attendee Clinton Hersh finished second in the first consy to transfer to his first career East Bay main event, but he was the first retiree.
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Devin Moran
Row 2: Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 3: Ashton Winger, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Ricky Thornton Jr., Stormy Scott
Row 5: Ross Robinson, Hudson O'Neal
Row 6: Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley
Row 7: Tyler Bruening, Tanner English
Row 8: Dennis Erb Jr., Kyle Bronson
Row 9: Cody Overton, Josh Putnam
Row 10: Chase Junghans, Mark Whitener
Row 11: Spencer Hughes, Clinton Hersh
Row 12: Freddie Carpenter, Shane Clanton
Row 13: Daulton Wilson, Garrett Alberson
Consolation race results
(10 laps; top two transfer)
First consolation: Chase Junghans, Clinton Hersh, Pierce McCarter, Brenden Smith, Garrett Smith, Billy Boyd Sr., Ryan King, Mason Oberkramer, Johnny Scott, Jason Riggs, Larry Greer, John Henderson, Jason Hiett, Jadon Frame, Michael Lake, Colton Flinner. Scratched: Blake Spencer, Matt Cosner.
Second consolation: Mark Whitener, Freddie Carpenter, Max Blair, Garrett Alberson, Tim Dohm, Dale Hollidge, Kyle Lear, Jake O'Neil, Will Roland, Colten Burdette, Daulton Wilson, Trevor Collins, Joe Denby, Logan Zarin, Adam Boyd, Chris Nash.
Third consolation: Spencer Hughes, Shane Clanton, Frank Heckenast Jr., Bob Gardner, Blair Nothdurft, Kody Evans, Josh Rice, Jason Miller, Todd Brennan, Dan Stone, Jimmy Sharpe Jr., Chad McClellan, Bryant Dickinson, Drake Troutman, Kenny Monahan, Brennon Willard, Deshawn Gingerich.
Heat race results
(Eight laps; top three transfer)
First heat: Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Tyler Bruening, Chase Junghans, Jadon Frame, Jason Riggs, Colton Flinner, Jason Hiett, Pierce McCarter, Michael Lake, Larry Greer, Billy Boyd Sr.
Second heat: Brandon Overton, Ross Robinson, Dennis Erb Jr., Garrett Smith, Johnny Scott, Clinton Hersh, Ryan King, Blake Spencer, Matt Cosner, John Henderson, Brenden Smith, Mason Overkramer.
Third heat: Ashton Winger, Tyler Erb, Cody Overton, Freddie Carpenter, Daulton Wilson, Dale Hollidge, Jake O'Neil, Will Roland, Logan Zarin, Adam Boyd, Joe Denby.
Fourth heat: Devin Moran, Stormy Scott, Tanner English, Max Blair, Mark Whitener, Garrett Alberson, Tim Dohm, Kyle Hardy, Colten Burdette, Trevor Collins, Chris Nash, Kyle Lear.
Fifth heat: Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O'Neal, Kyle Bronson, Shane Clanton, Jason Miller, Frank Heckenast Jr., Blair Northdurft, Todd Brennan, Jimmy Sharpe Jr., Chad McClelland, Deshawn Gingerich, Bryant Dickinson.
Sixth heat: Tim McCreadie, Brian Shirley, Josh Putnam, Spencer Hughes, Josh Rice, Drake Troutman, Bob Gardner, Kody Evans, Kenny Monahan, Dan Stone, Brennon Willard.
- Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 14.980
- Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.132
- Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.173
- Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.232
- Ross Robinson (7R), Georgetown, Del., 15.293
- Ashton Winger (89), Hampton, Ga., 15.313
- Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.335
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.365
- Cody Overton (97), Evans, Ga., 15.456
- Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.538
- Johnny Scott (1ST), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.595
- Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va., 15.640
- Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 15.666
- Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga., 15.678
- Dale Hollidge (0), Mechanicsville, Md., 15.757
- Pierce McCarter (71M), Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 15.793
- Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 15.806
- Will Roland (22R), Jasper, Ga., 15.817
- Jadon Frame (J27), Winchester, Tenn., 15.832
- Clinton Hersh (16H), Somerset, Pa., 15.833
- Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 15.838
- Jason Hiett (19M), Oxford, Ala., 15.845
- Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.867
- Logan Zarin (1z), Moon Township, Pa., 15.872
- Jason Riggs (81), College Grove, Tenn., 15.874
- Matt Cosner (66C), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.957
- Jake O’Neil (0), Tucson, Ariz., 16.022
- Larry Greer (9G), Bowling Green, Ky., 16.085
- Brenden Smith (17SS), Dade City, Fla., 16.156
- Adam Boyd (6b), Riverview, Fla., 16.182
- John Henderson (2x), North Augusta, S.C., 16.202
- Michael Lake (27), Uniontown, Pa., 16.202
- Joe Denby (27D), Winchester, Tenn., 16.333
- Billy Boyd Sr. (3B), Riverview, Fla., 17.014
- Mason Oberkramer (93), Brosley, Mo., no time
- Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.282
- Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.540
- Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 15.600
- Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 15.621
- Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.623
- Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 15.634
- Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.706
- Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.733
- Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.735
- Kyle Hardy (99), Stephens City, Va., 15.759
- Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.768
- Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 15.789
- Max Blair (111V), Centerville, Pa., 15.805
- Todd Brennan (20B), Zanesville, Ohio, 15.868
- Josh Putnam (212), Florence, Ala., 15.870
- Kyle Lear (151), Severna Park, Md., 15.877
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.891
- Dan Stone (2d), Thompson, Pa., 15.896
- Tim Dohm (6), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.919
- Jason Miller (94), Winchester, Va., 15.942
- Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio, 15.979
- Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.083
- Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 16.098
- Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 16.104
- Colten Burdette (44), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.109
- Chad McClellan (119), Stoystown, Pa., 16.124
- Drake Troutman (7D), Hyndman, Pa., 16.269
- Trevor Collins (11AC), Seaford, Del., 16.274
- Deshawn Gingerich (0g), Dover, Pa., 16.275
- Brennon Willard (3W), Lebanon, Mo., 16.316
- Mark Whitener (58), Middleburg, Fla., 16.416
- Jimmy Sharpe Jr. (26JR), Vidalia, Ga., 16.555
- Ken Monahan (311), Lakeland, Fla., 16.638
- Chris Nash (354), Portage, Mich., 17.618
- Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., 17.657
(All times Eastern)
1:30 p.m. - Pits cleared
2 p.m. - Pits reopen
5:30 p.m. - Hot laps
- Time trials
7 p.m. - Invocation and national anthem
- Heat races (8 laps)
- Consolation races (10 laps)
- Feature (40 laps)