Sheppard Finds His Groove At Peoria

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Brandon Sheppard won Monday's DIRTcar Summer Nationals event at Peoria Speedway. (Stan Kalwasinski Photo)
Brandon Sheppard won Monday's DIRTcar Summer Nationals event at Peoria Speedway. (Stan Kalwasinski Photo)
Brandon Sheppard won Monday’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals event at Peoria Speedway. (Stan Kalwasinski Photo)

PEORIA, Ill. – Defending DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Brandon Sheppard found his way back to victory lane Monday night, capturing the checkered flag at Peoria Speedway for the first time in the 2014 season.

Sheppard started the 40-lap feature up front next to Sunday winner Brian Shirley, who was looking to join Rick Eckert and Billy Moyer as the only multiple race winners so far this season. Unfortunately for Shirley, Sheppard rocketed past the pole-sitter at the drop of the green flag, using the outside line to grab the lead and never let Shirley lead a lap. After securing the top spot, Sheppard pulled away from Shirley, who found himself battling Bobby Pierce for much of the race.

Pierce, last year’s runner-up to Sheppard in the championship, managed to get around Shirley for second on lap 32, but Sheppard had already built an insurmountable margin. Sheppard went on to dominate, leading all 40 laps en route to capturing the $5,000 checkered flag.

“We’ve been waiting for things to fall into place,” said Sheppard. “Finally they did. I’m pretty confident going into the rest of [the DIRTcar Summer Nationals season] now.”

Pierce, Shirley, Ryan Unzicker and Shannon Babb rounded out the top five. Heat race winners included Sheppard, Ray Guss Jr., Pierce and Shirley.

The finish:

Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Brian Shirley, Ryan Unzicker, Shannon Babb, Kevin Weaver, Jason Jaggers, Billy Drake, Justin Reed, Mike Spatola, Jason Feger, Donny Walden, McKay Wenger, Ray Guss Jr., Ryan Little, Bob Gardner, Bo Brockway, Russ Adams, Jason Riggs, Todd Bennett, Scott Schmitt, Jim Moon.