Portsmouth Raceway Park
B-Shepp, 20, becomes youngest DTWC winner
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Oct. 19) — Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., became the youngest winner in race history Saturday at Portsmouth Raceway Park, going from fifth-to-first after a lap-40 restart for a $50,000 victory at the 33rd annual Red Buck Dirt Track World Championship on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Sheppard, 20, set fast time while subbing in the Rocket Chassis house car for Josh Richards and used the high side to roar into contention, racing around Scott Bloomquist to take command on lap 43.
He fended off a few challenges the rest of the way in taking the checkers ahead of Kentucky drivers Steve Francis of Ashland and Jackie Boggs of Grayson, who turned up the heat on Sheppard after lap-64 restart but couldn’t make the pass.
The feature was slowed by seven cautions, none for serious incidents. Jared Landers spun atop turn two on the 21st lap and Davey Johnson slowed on lap 40.
Bloomquist slowed for a pair of mid-race cautions, the second time for a flat tire, while R.J. Conley slowed to collect Will Vaught on lap 53. Jonathan Davenport slowed for a lap-64 yellow and a caution for debris came out on lap 79.
33rd annual Red Buck Dirt Track World Championship
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis
1. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., Rocket, $50,000
2. Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., Barry Wright, $15,000
3. Jackie Boggs (4B), Grayson, Ky., Swartz, $10,000
4. Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., Pierce, $7,000
5. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Bloomquist, $5,000
6. Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., MasterSbilt, $3,500
7. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., Victory Circle, $3,200
8. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Bloomquist, $3,000
9. Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., Bloomquist, $2,800
10. Steve Shaver (6), Vienna, W.Va., Longhorn, $2,500
11. Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., Longhorn, $2,450
12. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Barry Wright, $2,400
13. John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., Rocket, $2,350
14. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Rocket, $2,300
15. Rod Conley (71r), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,250
16. Jared Landers (5), Batesville, Ark., Barry Wright, $2,200
17. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Bloomquist, $2,150
18. R.J. Conley (71c), Wheelersburg, Ohio, Rocket, $2,100
19. Jared Hawkins (37), Fairmont, W.Va., Rocket, $2,075
20. Will Vaught (1G), Crane, Mo., Warrior, $2,060
21. Dustin Linville (D8), Bryantsville, Ky., Swartz, $2,050
22. Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., Rocket, $2,040
23. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., Warrior, $2,030
24. Davey Johnson (2j), Latrobe, Pa., Rocket, $2,020
25. Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich., Rocket, $2,010
26. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., MB Customs, $2,000
27. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $2,000
28. Chris Combs (47), Isom, Ky., Swartz, $2,000
Fast qualifier (among 79 cars): Sheppard, 14.575 seconds
Heat race winners: Pearson, Shaver, Wells, Boggs, Bloomquist, Moyer
Consolation winners: Johnson, Mars, Zeigler
Provisional starters: Erb, Landers, Rod Conley.
Non-qualifiers’ race winner: R.J. Conley
Blog-style updates of Saturday's action (finishes unofficial):
Main event updates
Updates from the 100-lap main event that started at 10:13 p.m. and ended at 11:01 p.m.:
Lap 100: Brandon Sheppard wins by less than a half-straight to become the youngest DTWC winner at age 20. It's a career-high $50,000 payday for the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals and weekly champion.
Lap 95: Sheppard maintaining 10 lengths.
Lap 90: Sheppard leads by 10 lengths over Francis with Boggs another five lengths back.
Lap 80: B-Shepp still in control, but Francis up to second on restart with Boggs and Feger fading a bit.
Lap 79: A caution for debris; Feger will have to restart on the low side.
Lap 75: Top five are evenly spaced with Feger dropping low in fourth. Sheppard leads Boggs and Francis with O'Neal fifth.
Lap 70: Will an Illinois battle develop up front? Sheppard leads with Feger now in fourth and still charging up high.
Lap 67: Boggs made a hard run at Sheppard on the restart before settling for second while Francis is back to third. Jason Feger is charging up to fifth on the high side.
Lap 64: Caution for a slowing Jonathan Davenport, the last driver really sticking with the high groove. Rundown: Sheppard, Francis Boggs, Moyer, O'Neal, Owens, Feger, Erb and Blankenship. Shaver gives up eighth to pit.
Lap 60: Sheppard is cruising, leading by a hafl-straightaway with Francis and Boggs in pursuit. Moyer is fourth and the 13th-starting O'Neal is fifth.
Lap 55: Behind the leading Sheppard is an all-out Kentucky battle for second as Francis squeezes under Boggs entering turn three to take the second spot.
Lap 53: Caution as Will Vaught runs into a slowing R.J. Conley. Rundown: Sheppard (from seventh), Boggs (from sixth), Francis (from 15th), Shaver (from pole) and Moyer Sr. (from fourth). Sheppard appears to be pacing himself a bit while Boggs is running all-out.
Lap 53: Two-car battle up front with Sheppard leading Boggs. But it's tight further back with a battle of Steves as Francis works past Shaver. Moyer is fifth.
Lap 49: Another caution for Bloomquist with a flat left-rear tire; he pits along with Davenport, who was running ninth. Rundown: Sheppard, Boggs, Shaver, Francis, Moyer, O'Neal, Blankenship, Owens, Erb and and Feger in 10th.
Lap 49: Sheppard leading on cruise control, but Boggs is hard on the gas in tracking him down near halfway. Shaver is a straightaway behind Boggs in third.
Lap 45: Sheppard edges away as Boggs and Shaver trade paint twice on the restart.
Lap 44: Bloomquist slows atop turn two for a yellow while running third. Sheppard leads Boggs, Shaver, Francis, Moyer, O'Neal, Blankenship, Davenport and Pearson. Bloomquist heads pitside and returns to tail
Lap 43: Sheppard leads while Boggs takes second from Bloomquist on the next lap.
Lap 41: Wow, Brandon Sheppard goes fifth to third on the high side and challenges Bloomquist.
Lap 40: Caution as Davey Johnson slows atop turn two. Bloomquist will get more clear track in leading Shaver, Moyer, Boggs, Sheppard, Francis, Blankenship, Owens, Pearson and O'Neal in 10th. Four drivers are out: Van Wormer, Mars, Clanton and Combs.
Lap 35: Traffic looms for Bloomquist as Shaver cuts into the lead a bit. Boggs looks lively in trying to take third from Moyer with Sheppard settling into the lower grove in fifth.
Lap 27: Bloomquist is clearly dominant in clean air, but the wide-running traffic could make things interesting. Boggs regained fourth from Sheppard.
Lap 25: With clean track, Bloomquist is already ahead by a straightaway as Moyer works on Shaver; Boggs is challenging the high-running Sheppard for fourth.
Lap 21: Caution for Jared Landers, who spun at turn two exit. Running order: Bloomquist, Shaver, Moyer Sr., Sheppard, Boggs, Pearson, Blankenship, Francis, Wells, McDowell, O'Neal, Carrier, Owens, Feger, Vaugth, Davenport, Zeigler, Hawkins, Johnson, R.J. Conley, Erb, Linville, Van Wormer headed to pits.
Lap 21: Shaver all over Bloomquist in traffic; Sheppard up to fourth in high groove.
Lap 17: Heavy traffic impeding Bloomquist with Shaver a half-straight back; Combs retires.
Lap 13: Bloomquist laps Rod Conley as Shaver cuts into lead and Boggs catches Moyer in a battle for third.
Lap 10: Straightaway lead for Bloomquist over Shaer and Moyer; Boggs is up to fourth.
Lap 5: Three-car breakaway early with Bloomquist leading Shaver and Moyer; Pearson a straightaway back in fourth.
Lap 1: Scott Bloomquist took the early lead over Shaver with Moyer, Wells and Pearson in pursuit.
Pre-race: Driver intros wrapped up at 10:05 p.m.
Outside front-row starter Scott Bloomquist ties Freddy Smith’s record of 22 consecutive DTWC starts by taking the green. ... Davey Johnson is making his 17th DTWC start, most of any driver without a victory. ... Rocket leads chassis manufacturers with nine starters, most of any chassis makes represented. Bloomquist Race Cars has four cars followed by Swartz (3), Barry Wright Race Cars (3) and Longhorn (2). These chassis makes have a single starter: Victory Circle, MasterSbilt, Pierce, Capital and MB Customs. ... Swartz Race Cars, of nearby Minford, Ohio, has three starters in the race for the first time. ... West Virginia and Kentucky are tied with five starters apiece in the 100-lapper. Georgia (3), Illinois (3), Arkansas (2), Pennsylvania (2), Ohio (2) and Tennessee (2) are the only other stats with multiple starters. These states have single starters: Wisconsin, Missouri, Indian, Michigan and Florida. ... Four drivers are making their first DTWC starts: Mason Zeigler, Billy Moyer Jr., Brandon Sheppard and Will Vaught.
After losing a transfer spot in a heat race, R.J. Conley rebounded to capture the 30-lap Jim Dunn Memorial non-qualifiers’ race, sponsored by DirtonDirt.com. Conley took the checkers a nearly straightaway ahead of Tim Dohm with Andrew Reaume and Donnie Moran a bit further back. Conley elected to start on the tail of the main event, passing on the race's $3,000 winner's purse.
Finish: R.J. Conley, Tim Dohm, Andrew Reaume, Donnie Moran, Josh McGuire, Stephen Breeding, Nick Bocook, Zack Dohm, Mike Marlar, Chris Garnes, Delmas Conley, Duane Chamberlain, Jeff Babcock, Tommy Bailey, Jeff Provinzino, Greg Johnson, Billy Gullion, D.J. Miller, Billy Moyer Jr., Gregg Satterlee, Lee Logan, Josh Bocook, Steve Casebolt, Kenneth Howell.
Jim Dunn Memorial nonqualifiers' lineup
(Winner earns $3,000 or feature transfer)
Row 1: Andrew Reaume, R.J. Conley
Row 2: Josh McGuire, Tim Dohm
Row 3: Billy Moyer Jr., Steve Casebolt
Row 4: Duane Chamberlain, Donnie Moran
Row 5: R.J. Conley, Stephen Breeding
Row 6: Nick Bocook, Chris Garnes
Row 7: Tommy Bailey, Greg Johnson
Row 8: Gregg Satterlee, Josh Bocook
Row 9: Zack Dohm, Tim Fuller
Row 10: Lee Logan, J.T. Conley
Row 11: Billy Gullion, Jeff Babcock
Row 12: Jeff Provinzino, Kenneth Howell
Mason Zeigler cruised to victory in the third consolation racing, building a straightaway lead by lap 15 and running unchallenged to earn his first DTWC start. The second spot was a tight battle most of the way among Chris Combs, Dennis Erb Jr. and Josh McGuire, and two late cautions heightened the battle. Combs chose the inside and outside lane for successive restarts, and both worked in helping him hold on. McGuire ended up third after swapping positions late with Dennis Erb Jr., who is in line for a provisional. The first caution appeared on the 17th lap when Devin Moran’s broken left-front suspension caused a backstretch spin, and an off-the-pace Sam Hobbs drew a lap-18 yellow.
Finish: Mason Zeigler, Chris Combs, Josh McGuire, Dennis Erb Jr., Steve Casebolt, Rod Conley, Gregg Satterlee, Tim Fuller, Billy Gullion, Charlie Jude II, Sam Hobbs, Devin Moran, Steve Lucas. Scratched: Michael Smith, Joe Ramey, David Webb, Walker Arthur.
Polesitter Jimmy Mars ran unchallenged to a 20-lap victory in the second consy to transfer to the 100-lapper along with Dustin Linville, who took the second spot from R.J. Conley on a lap-13 restart. Conley was third and top series rookie Billy Moyer Jr., fourth. The lone caution appeared on the 13th lap when Mike Marlar’s smoking car rolled to a stop in turn two.
Finish: Jimmy Mars, Dustin Linville, R.J. Conley, Billy Moyer Jr., Donnie Moran, Nick Bocook, Greg Johnson, Zack Dohm, Delmas Conley, Jeff Babcock, Jeff Provinzino, Kenneth Howell, Mike Marlar, Russ Frohnhapfel. Scratched: Bobby Pierce, Billy Ogle Jr., Doug Drown, Jeff Arnold, Richie Edwards.
Davey Johnson, who has more DTWC feature starts (16) than any other driver without a victory, wrestled the lead from polesitter Tim Dohm in the early laps and raced to a 20-lap victory in the first consy. Jared Hawkins stole the second and final transfer spot from Dohm after a lap-13 restart, sending Johnson and Hawkins to the 100-lapper. Dohm, who previously drove hard into turn one on the 11th lap to turn back a charge from 11th-starting Stephen Breeding, slipped to fourth at the finish behind Andrew Reaume. Duane Chamberlain came from the tail to finish fifth ahead of Breeding. Several cautions hampered the race, the most serious when Mark Frazier slid rear-end first into the turn-two wall, collecting a late-arriving J.T. Conley on the ninth lap. Tommy Bailey spun at the end of the backstretch on the first lap to draw a yellow, and a second-lap caution flew when Lee Logan spun into a turn-four infield banner. D.J. Wells slowed for a lap-three yellow. Jared Landers was an early retiree, but he’s in line for a provisional starting spot. Chris Wilson’s smoking car rolled to a stop in turn three for a lap-12 yellow and K.C. Burdette slowed for the final yellow on lap 13.
Finish: Davey Johnson, Jared Hawkins, Andrew Reaume, Tim Dohm, Duane Chamberlain, Stephen Breeding, Tommy Bailey, Josh Bocook, Lee Logan, K.C. Burdette, Chris Wilson, Mark Frazier, J.T. Conley, Dennis Roberson, D.J. Wells., Jared Landers. Scratched: Mike Unger, Tom Hendrix, Cody Hunley.
While Saturday evening is cooler, drearier and wetter than a beautiful Friday, it’s all systems go at Portsmouth Raceway Park for the last of three nights of racing. ... With pack trucks whipping the surface into shape, the series has added hot laps for Late Models scheduled 6:30 p.m. instead of the original plans to start the evening with Late Model consolations at 7 p.m.; hot laps were delayed about 25 minutes ... Afternoon rain was mostly drizzly, never reaching downpour levels. ... The pits are muddy but there’s little standing water. ... The series holds the right to use a different race format for races paying $20,000-to-win or more. While Friday's racing used a typical series format with no heat-race inversions, the series decided to mix up the format by shuffling the heat winners. The drivers who would've started on the front row normally — Earl Pearson Jr. and Jackie Boggs — were shifted to the third row, with the second row moving to the front row and the third row moving to the second row. Boggs was among drivers who weren't happy with the decision.
Row 10: Michael Smith, Joe Ramey