Patience Pushes Sheppard To Victory

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Brandon Sheppard in victory lane. (Scott Swenson photo)
Brandon Sheppard in victory lane. (Scott Swenson photo)

SPRING VALLEY, Minn. — Brandon Sheppard picked up his 11th Morton Buildings World of Outlaws Late Model Series victory of the season after a brilliant move to take the lead in Saturday’s Bigelow Homes Gopher 50 at Deer Creek Speedway.

After 33 laps of chasing and stalking leader Shane Clanton, Sheppard waited for the perfect moment to pull the trigger and take the lead. He found that moment on a lap-34 restart, driving his Rocket1 Racing ride hard into turn one in the low groove underneath Clanton and drag racing him down the backstretch.

“The Georgia Bulldog” hung tough on the outside and held the spot through the start/finish line to lead lap 34 but couldn’t maintain the advantage past the second turn.

Sheppard was too good on the bottom. He carried that lead all the way through the checkered flag to win his third win in-a-row and 48th all time.

“I finally found a little bit better line through turns one and two,” Sheppard said of his patient move on Clanton to take the lead. “A couple of restarts allowed me to slow down and get to the middle-bottom groove, and get enough momentum built up to get around him.”

But once Sheppard captured the lead, it was game-on for Weiss. Of course, it’s always game-on for the Sweet-Bloomquist Chassis pilot as soon as the green flag drops, but what a display of car control he exhibited over 50 laps, going from his ninth-place starting spot to inside the podium before halfway.

Weiss had been working on the leaders for several laps when he finally reached the rear bumper of Clanton, making light work of the Capital No. 25 on a lap-37 restart to jumpstart his pursuit of Sheppard. By lap 43, Weiss had driven to within inches of “The Rocket Shepp” and his rear bumper and began driving deep into turns three and four in search of an advantage on the bottom.

Once his patience with the aggressive corner entry ran dry on lap 47, Weiss tried a smooth-and-steady turn one entry on the middle-bottom groove and made it stick, making for a great door-to-door drag race down the backstretch.

Into turn three they raced, Weiss seemingly looking for a slide-job opportunity, but a very untimely caution was thrown for a slowing Cade Dillard just ahead of them.

Weiss got one more shot at Sheppard on the restart, but ultimately came up just one spot short of his very elusive first career World of Outlaws win.

“I could see we were better in turns three and four, so I knew I wanted to make the move there,” Weiss said. “But right when I got beside him was when I heard the caution.

“It is what it is,” a positive Weiss continued. “Hopefully, I’ll be racing long enough that the lucky ones come to me and we can say they saved us.”

The finish:

Feature (50 Laps) 1. 1-Brandon Sheppard [1][$10,000]; 2. 7-Ricky Weiss [9][$5,000]; 3. 28m-Jimmy Mars [5][$3,000]; 4. 29-Darrell Lanigan [12][$2,500]; 5. 18-Chase Junghans [4][$2,000]; 6. 25-Shane Clanton [2][$1,700]; 7. 85-John Kaanta [19][$1,400]; 8. 99B-Boom Briggs [11][$1,300]; 9. B1-Brent Larson [6][$1,200]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb [20][$1,100]; 11. 25s-Chad Simpson [3][$1,050]; 12. 11-Pat Doar [17][$1,000]; 13. 97-Cade Dillard [18][$950]; 14. 43-Jeremy Grady [16][$900]; 15. 49-Jake Timm [15][$850]; 16. 11r-Justin Reed [21][$800]; 17. 10-Paul Parker [24][$770]; 18. 6-Blake Spencer [23][$750]; 19. 98-Jason Rauen [13][$730]; 20. 16-Tyler Bruening [10][$700]; 21. 58-A.J. Diemel [14][$700]; 22. 3-Brett Swedberg [7][$700]; 23. 6m-Jeff Massingill [22][$700]; 24. 32-Chris Simpson [8][$700] Hard Charger: 85-John Kaanta[+12]