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Daily Dirt 05/25/2024 00:03:05

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February 11
East Bay Raceway Park,
Gibsonton, FL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Wrisco Winternationals) - $12,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac (last updated February 12, 5:32 am)
Sheppard rallies, grabs third straight at East Bay
Wrisco Winternationals
  1. Brandon Sheppard
  2. Brandon Overton
  3. Ashton Winger
  4. Devin Moran
  5. Tim McCreadie
  6. Chase Junghans
  7. Garrett Alberson
  8. Earl Pearson Jr.
  9. Hudson O'Neal
  10. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  11. Kyle Bronson
  12. Dennis Erb Jr.
  13. Stormy Scott
  14. Tanner English
  15. Daulton Wilson
  16. Tyler Bruening
  17. Ross Robinson
  18. Shane Clanton
  19. Garrett Smith
  20. Spencer Hughes
  21. Cody Overton
  22. Boom Briggs
  23. Jimmy Owens
  24. Josh Rice
  25. Johnny Scott
  26. Max Blair
  27. Tyler Erb
  28. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  29. Mark Whitener
  30. Colten Burdette
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Brandon Sheppard (1) outran Brandon Overton (76) to capture Friday's Winternationals feature.
What won the race: Losing the lead on lap 11 and briefly dropping back to fourth, pole-starting Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., rallied back to the front on lap 24 and became the third three-in-a-row winner in the history of East Bay Raceway Park’s Wrisco Winternationals. Sheppard earned $12,000 in a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Seriesrace featuring five lead changes as he took the checkers 1.142 seconds ahead of Brandon Overton, who has led all four of the week’s features without a victory.
Key notes: Other three-in-a-row winners in Winternationals history: Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., in 2009 and Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., in 2000-01. ... Lap leaders: Sheppard 1-10, 13, 24-50; Chase Junghans 11-12, 14-21; 
Brandon Overton 22-23. ... Devin Moran spun on the 30th lap but rallied back to fourth. ... Seven cautions slowed the action, the most serious on the white-flag lap when Garrett Smith got into the turn-two wall and collected Spencer Hughes, who Brandon Overton couldn't avoid in making hard contact as the yellow waved. ... The Wrisco Winternationals wrap up with Saturday's $15,000-to-win event. ... Watch live streaming all week at MavTV Plus.
On the move: Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., started 23rd and finished seventh.
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 Rocket Preowned Motors.
Points chase: After East Bay Friday: 1. Brandon Sheppard (1,260); 2. Devin Moran (1,220); 3. Tim McCreadie (1,125); T4. Ricky Thornton Jr. (1,055); T4. Tyler Erb (1,055); 6. Hudson O’Neal (1,050); T7. Jimmy Owens (1,040); T7. Ashton Winger (1040); 9. Earl Pearson Jr. (1,030); 10. Dennis Erb Jr. (1,005).
Current weather: Clear, 59°F
Car count: 74
Fast qualifier: Brandon Overton
Time: 14.370 seconds
Polesitter: Brandon Sheppard
Heat race winners: Brandon Sheppard, Chase Junghans, Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger, Garrett Smith
Consolation race winners: Johnny Scott, Mark Whitener, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Provisional starters: Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb, Shane Clanton, Stormy Scott, Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson
Next series race: February 12, East Bay Raceway Park (Gibsonton, FL) $15,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

GIBSONTON, Fla. — Losing the lead on lap 11 and briefly dropping back to fourth, pole-starting Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., rallied back to the front on lap 24 and became the third three-in-a-row winner in the history of East Bay Raceway Park’s Wrisco Winternationals.

Sheppard earned $12,000 in a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race featuring five lead changes as he took the checkers 1.142 seconds ahead of Evans, Ga.'s Brandon Overton, who has led all four of the week’s features without a victory.

"It just worked out for us. It was awesome race," Sheppard said. "I can't thank them guys enough for racing me clean, you know Brandon (Overton), Chase (Junghans) and (Ashton) Winger there, and just all these guys out here do a phenomenal job and they're really tough competition."

Overton was fortunate to finish second after suffering right-side damage in making a last-lap, high-groove charge that saw him caught up in a mess that included two slower cars. He managed to hold off Ashton Winger of Hampton, Ga., while Devin Moran of Dresden Ohio, who spun to draw the first of seven cautions on the 30th lap rallied to finish fourth. Reigning series champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., rounded out the top five.

Sheppard led the first 10 laps in the low groove before third-starting Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., moved up to twice swap the lead with Sheppard. But after leading laps 14-21, Overton slipped past to lead two circuits and Sheppard went back ahead one lap before the halfway point in the 50-lapper.

"Man, our car was really good in the bottom there at the beginning of the race and I went up to the top one time and that hole up there coming out of (turn) four is so big, and I was hoping (the fast groove) was going staying in the bottom, because it was going to be treacherous having to run up there the whole time," Sheppard said. "But Chase did a really good job and got by me there and and made me in Overton get up on the wheel and and that was a heckuva race. Overton got by me, too, and luckily, the cards fell my way in lapped traffic there and I was able to get back by him before the caution come out."

Sheppard kept Overton in check in the second half of the race, but Overton ventured into the high groove amid traffic at the white flag, making up ground — but finding trouble. Fellow Georgian Garrett Smith got into the turn-two wall and collected Spencer Hughes, giving Overton no time to avoid the spinning car of Hughes.

"I think Spencer had nowhere to go. (Garrett Smith) was stuffed into the fence. That was my only shot. Brandon wasn't moving off that bottom, and he got kind of hung out with some lapped cars," Overton said. "I went to the outside and, hell, once I had clear vision, they were up there parked. It is what it is.

"Congrats to Brandon. You know, he's done a really good job this week. That's tough man, to lead. It's so tricky getting into (turn) one, but I'm just excited I got to race with him tonight. You know you know every other night we started up front and went straight backwards, so we've got something to work with."

The third-finishing Winger started fourth but ran outside the top five until the 30th lap.

"I just I can't really figure out how to go the first five to 10 laps like I need to, and I kind of get mired back there and sixth or seventh," he said. "I just kind of kind of claw my way back and then, like, you drive by some really good cars, and you look up and Brandon Sheppard and Brandon Overton are in front of you still. It's almost breathtaking, honestly. It's cool to be racing with such great guys ...

"We're just gonna keep plugging away man. It's one of them deals where until it comes, man, it just really sucks running second or third, but it's better than like how last night ended up. I had a really good car and I buried us. Hopefully we can end this week on a strong note tomorrow."

Moran was glad to salvage a top-five finish in maneuvering in the high groove after restarting 25th with 20 laps remaining.

"I knew it was gonna be hard to pass (competitors) putting around the bottom and I just wanted to commit myself to the top. I really haven't been able to run the top that great since I've been here, and tonight, I just made myself do it. And the car was good enough that we could maneuver a little bit and get by them guys," said Moran, a two-time Lucas Oil winner in 2022. "We've still got to work out it, obviously. (Sheppard has) got it figured out right now. And there's some stuff I felt like we learned tonight that we need to go a little further with, but all in all, to come from the tail twice to finish fourth. We had to beat the crap out of our car to do it, but the boys have been working really hard. We'll get back there and get it fixed and go again tomorrow."

All but one of the race's seven cautions came between laps 30-37, three on lap 36 alone.

The first yellow dropped on the 30th lap for the fourth-running Moran's spin. He'd made contact with Frank Heckenast Jr., who was slowing on the backstretch to pull into the infield, then also was sideswiped by an onrushing Garrett Smith.

The second slowdown came on lap 34 when Max Blair got into the fence and the third on lap 36 for a slowing Johnny Scott. Another quick yellow appeared on the lap-36 restart when Tyler Bruening went around between turns one and two, the result of bumper tag among several drivers ahead of him.

The third and final lap-36 caution appeared for a slowing Josh Rice, who headed to the pits (Jimmy Owens pulled into the pits simultaneously with serious right-front damage). Another yellow appeared on the 37th lap for eighth-running Daulton Wilson's spin.

The final caution that appeared after the white flag dropped was for the Smith-Hughes incident that damaged Overton's car.

The Wrisco Winternationals wrap up Saturday at East Bay with a 50-lap feature paying $15,000-to-win.

Notes: Sheppard's three-in-a-row feat at East Bay came over a 48-hour stretch while Richards won three in a row in 2009 over barely 24 hours (two of his victories came in a day-night doubleheader). Don O'Neal was the first Winternationals driver to win three in a row and it too him 360 days as his first came in the 2000 finale and he captured the first two 2001 events. ... Seventeen of 30 starters completed 50 laps. ... An apparent medical emergency in the grandstands briefly delayed the beginning of the main event. ... The most serious incident in prelims came in the second heat when Josh Putnam spun and collected and onrushing Chad McClellan; neither driver was injured. Shane Clanton also got a piece of Putnam's car and retired from the heat. ... Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., rallied from his sixth starting spot to win the third and final consolation. ... Brian Shirley was running second in that final consy when he got into the turn-two wall, costing him a transfer spot to the feature. ... Tyler Erb was the apparent runner-up in that third consy but failed to report to the scales after the race and gave up the transfer spot to Tanner English; Erb took a provisional starting spot.

Feature lineup

(50 laps)

Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Branton Overton
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Ashton Winger
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Garrett Smith
Row 4: Devin Moran, Tim McCreadie
Row 5: Kyle Bronson, Daulton Wilson
Row 6: Cody Overton, Hudson O'Neal
Row 7: Max Blair, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 8: Boom Briggs, Tyler Bruening
Row 9: Dennis Erb Jr., Josh Rice
Row 10: Johnny Scott, Mark Whitener
Row 11: Frank Heckenast Jr., Colten Burdette
Row 12: Garrett Alberson, Tanner English
Row 13: Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb
Row 14: Shane Clanton, Stormy Scott
Row 15: Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson

Consolation race results

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation: Johnny Scott, Colten Burdette, Jimmy Owens, Dan Stone, Trevor Collins, Kody Evans, Ryan King, Matt Cosner, Kyle Lear, Kenny Monahan, Deshawn Gingerichs, Joe Denby, Bryant Dickinson, Pierce McCarter, Jadon Frame, Shane Clanton. Scratched: Jason Riggs, Josh Putnam, Chad McClellan.

Second consolation: Mark Whitener, Garrett Alberson, Josh Richards, Drake Troutman, Blake Spencer, Stormy Scott, John Henderson, Todd Brennan, Kyle Hardy, Jeff Mathews, Logan Zarin, Dale Hollidge, Chase Osterhoff, Will Roland, Michael Lake, Brenden Smith, Clinton Hersh. Scratched: Jason Hiett, Chris Nash.

Third consolation: Frank Heckenast Jr., Tanner English, Spencer Hughes, Colton Flinner, Blair Nothdurft, Mason Oberkramer, Ross Robinson, Brian Nuttall Jr., Bob Gardner, Adam Boyd, Brennon Willard, Jason Miller, Brian Shirley, Jake O'Neil. Disqualified: Tyler Erb (crossed line second but failed to report to scales). Scratched: Tim Dohm, Kerry King, Freddie Carpenter.

Heat race results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat: Brandon Sheppard, Devin Moran, Max Blair, Colten Burdette, Dan Stone, Matt Cosner, Trevor Collins, Jadon Frame, Kyle Lear, Joe Denby, Ryan King. Pierce McCarter. Scratched: Bryant Dickinson.

Second heat: Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson, Boom Briggs, Jimmy Owens, Johnny Scott, Kody Evans, Jason Riggs, Deshawn Gingerich, Kenny Monahan, Josh Putnam, Shane Clanton, Chad McClellan.

Third heat: Earl Pearson Jr., Cody Overton, Dennis Erb Jr., Jeff Mathews, Drake Troutman, Blake Spenccer, Todd Brennan, John Henderson, Chase Osterhoff, Jason Hiett, Michael Lake. Scratched: Will Roland.

Fourth heat: Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie, Ricky Thornton Jr., Mark Whitener, Garrett Alberson, Josh Richards, Stormy Scott, Kyle Hardy, Dale Hollidge, Logan Zarin, Clinton Hersh, Brenden Smith, Chris Nash.

Fifth heat: Ashton Winger, Daulton Wilson, Tyler Bruening, Brian Shirley, Tyler Erb, Spencer Hughes, Tanner English, Blair Nothdurft, Brennon Willard, Tim Dohm, Jason Miller, Freddie Carpenter.

Sixth heat: Garrett Smith, Hudson O'Neal, Josh Rice, Colton Flinner, Jake O'Neil, Frank Heckenast Jr., Bob Gardner, Brian Nuttall Jr., Mason Oberkramer, Kerry King, Adam Boyd. Scratched: Ross Robinson.

Pre-race notes

The Tampa-area weather just keeps getting better with Friday bringing brilliant sunny skies and a high temperature pushing 80. … Friday’s program has 74 entries. … Making his first start of the week is Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who didn’t join his car owner and teammate Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., in Thursday’s action because he was still reeling from the overnight fire that destroyed his camper in a Wal-Mart parking lot about 30 minutes north of the track. … Richards’s father, Mark, remarked that watching his Rocket Chassis house car driver Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., race the outside lane to victory in Thursday’s 40-lap feature reminded him of the track’s glory days. “It was a little like old East Bay,” Mark said. “Not quite there yet, but it had that characteristic to it where you could run the bottom or the top.” … With Illinois drivers Sheppard and Dennis Erb Jr. capturing the first three A-mains of the week, the possibility of Winternationals history being made remains in play. Never since the event grew to six events in 2000 has the list of winners been represented by fewer than three states. … Only one time in Winternationals history with at least four races were there just two states represented among winners: 1993, when the victors were from Florida (Keith Nosbisch twice and Ken Nosbisch once) and Kentucky (Steve Francis won twin All-Star Circuit of Champions features over two nights).

Time trials

First group   

  1. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 14.585
  2. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.618
  3. Cody Overton (97), Evans, Ga., 14.733
  4. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 14.772
  5. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 14.784
  6. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.844
  7. Colten Burdette (44), Parkersburg, W.Va., 14.905
  8. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 14.918
  9. Jeff Mathews (33), Brandon, Fla., 14.937
  10. Max Blair (111V), Centerville, Pa., 14.942
  11. Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio, 14.970
  12. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.988
  13. Dan Stone (2d), Thompson, Pa., 14.999
  14. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.016
  15. Drake Troutman (7D), Hyndman, Pa., 15.065
  16. Matt Cosner (66C), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.088
  17. Johnny Scott (1ST), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.092
  18. Todd Brennan (20B), Zanesville, Ohio, 15.115
  19. Trevor Collins (11AC), Seaford, Del., 15.138
  20. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.167
  21. Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 15.182
  22. Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.215
  23. Josh Putnam (212), Florence, Ala., 15.270
  24. Jason Hiett (19M), Oxford, Ala., 15.309
  25. Pierce McCarter (71M), Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 15.352
  26. Chad McClellan (119), Stoystown, Pa., 15.353
  27. John Henderson (2x), North Augusta, S.C., 15.359
  28. Jadon Frame (J27), Winchester, Tenn., 15.431
  29. Jason Riggs (81), College Grove, Tenn., 15.505
  30. Michael Lake (27), Uniontown, Pa., 15.536
  31. Kyle Lear (151), Severna Park, Md., 15.544
  32. DeShawn Gingerich (0g), Dover, Pa.,  15.655
  33. Chase Osterhoff (130), Kankakee, Ill., 15.671
  34. Joe Denby (27D), Winchester, Tenn., 15.677
  35. Kenny Monahan (311), Lakeland, Fla., 15.747
  36. Will Roland (22R), Jasper, Ga., no time
  37. Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., no time

Second group   

  1. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 14.370
  2. Ashton Winger (89), Hampton, Ga., 14.549
  3. Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga., 14.555
  4. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.577
  5. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 14.660
  6. Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 14.691
  7. Mark Whitener (58), Middleburg, Fla., 14.713
  8. Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 14.746
  9. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 14.748
  10. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 14.763
  11. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 14.771
  12. Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 14.875
  13. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 14.902
  14. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 14.926
  15. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.008
  16. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.019
  17. Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 15.027
  18. Mason Oberkramer (93), Brosley, Mo., 15.080
  19. Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.099
  20. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.120
  21. Jake O’Neil (0), Tucson, Ariz., 15.125
  22. Kyle Hardy (99), Stephens City, Va., 15.160
  23. Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 15.169
  24. Ross Robinson (7R), Georgetown, Del., 15.170
  25. Dale Hollidge (0), Mechanicsville, Md., 15.174
  26. Jason Miller (94), Winchester, Va., 15.225
  27. Brian Nuttall Jr. (16), Claxton, Ga., 15.268
  28. Brenden Smith (17SS), Dade City, Fla., 15.273
  29. Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va., 15.315
  30. Kerry King (KB0), Delmar, Del., 15.323
  31. Logan Zarin (1z), Moon Township, Pa., 15.344
  32. Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.354
  33. Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 15.406
  34. Clinton Hersh (16H), Somerset, Pa., 15.407
  35. Brennon Willard (3W), Lebanon, Mo., 15.685
  36. Adam Boyd (6b), Riverview, Fla., 16.038
  37. Chris Nash (354), Portage, Mich., no time

Friday's schedule

(All times Eastern)

1:30 p.m. - Pits cleared
2 p.m. - Pits reopen
5 p.m. - Drivers' meeting (if necessary)
5:30 p.m. - Hot laps
- Time trials
7 p.m. - Invocation and national anthem
- Heat races (8 laps)
- Consolation races (10 laps)
- Feature (50 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Sheppard, B. Overton
Row 2: Junghans, Winger
Row 3: Pearson, Smith
Row 4: Moran, McCreadie
Row 5: Bronson, Wilson
Row 6: C. Overton, O'Neal
Row 7: Blair, Thornton
Row 8: Briggs, Bruening
Row 9: D. Erb, Rice
Row 10: J. Scott, Whitener
Row 11: Heckenast, Burdette
Row 12: Alberson, English
Row 13: Owens, T. Erb
Row 14: Clanton, S. Scott
Row 15: Hughes, Robinson

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