KOKOMO, Ind. — It’s been Brandon Sheppard this and Jimmy Owens that for as long as dirt late model racing fans can remember this season.
Friday night at Kokomo Speedway, it was no different; as both drivers scored convincing Showdown feature victories and punched their tickets into Saturday’s $25,000-to-win Hoosier Dirt Shootout.
In all, 18 drivers are locked-in to the 75-lap feature with six of those superstars set to participate in the redraw with a chance at the pole position. Included in tomorrow’s redraw are Sheppard, Owens, Shane Clanton, Ricky Thornton Jr., Cade Dillard and Chase Junghans.
Shane Clanton claimed his 39th career Fast Time Award with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series by clocking a lap of 13.413 seconds around the Kokomo quarter-mile.
Come time for the 25-lap features, the narrative quickly flipped from pole-sitters Clanton and Lanigan to the dominance of Owens and Sheppard.
Darting straight to the cushion at the drop of the green flag, Owens pointed his Ramirez Motorsports No. 20 Rocket Chassis around the outside of Clanton’s Skyline Motorsports No. 25 and assumed control of a lead he would never relinquish in Showdown No. 1. Never seriously challenged, even after two stoppages, “The Newport Nightmare” took off for a .856-second victory at the checkered flag.
“The car was just really great again,” Owens noted e. “I think we had an issue right when we crossed the finish line because I saw something fly out. It’s great if we’re gonna tear something up to do it at the checkered flag. I’m happy to be locked-in to the redraw this mean we can watch the track tomorrow night and make the right changes we need to this Ramirez Motorsports ride. Hopefully we get a good redraw pill, but most importantly we’re in the show.”
Owens assured his spot in the Morton Buildings Redraw alongside fellow podium finishers Clanton and Louisiana’s Cade Dillard in the MB Customs No. 97. Taking transfers and earning a spot in Saturday’s Hoosier Dirt Shootout feature was also “The High Side Hustler” Jason Feger in fourth, “The Killer” Kyle Bronson in fifth, “The Smooth Operator” Bobby Pierce in sixth,”Black Sunshine” Scott Bloomquist in seventh, and the iconic Billy Moyer in eighth.
In the second Showdown, Lanigan paced the opening two circuits aboard his Viper Motorsports No. 29V Barry Wright Icon Race Car before Sheppard sneakily struck and stole the lead on the bottom. Rolling the low line in the Rocket1 Racing No. 1, B-Shepp meticulously worked the inside of the track and like Owens, checked out for a 1.675-second victory.
“I didn’t want to get up there and use my stuff up, I know I can get around a cushion pretty good,” Sheppard said. “I got a great feel for this car down low, through the middle, and I had to move up a few times in traffic. There’s so much competition out here on the road with the World of Outlaws, plus the regional guys and Lucas Oil drivers come over to race with us. You don’t wanna start any farther back than you need to. I’m happy to be starting up front tomorrow.”