KNOX DALE, Pa. — Brandon Sheppard took advantage of a green-white-checkered finish to grab his 14th World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series victory of the season Saturday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway.
Jared Miley had a commanding lead on the three-eighths-mile track when the yellow flag waved on the final lap.
What followed was an incredible two-lap bout for $10,000 with Sheppard prevailing before a standing-room only crowd.
Miley aced the restart until the edge of turn two reached out and bit him, allowing Sheppard to drive by down the backstretch. It wasn’t over though; Miley then launched a turn three slider at Sheppard and the pair ran side by side to the white flag with the crowd on its feet.
Sheppard tossed his own turn one slide job at Miley, then it was a frantic dash to the checkered flag.
Coming to the stripe, it was ultimately Sheppard’s Rocket1 Racing No. 1 beating Miley’s Blue Mountain Energy No. 10 by a mere .302 seconds.
Leading 25 of the 50 laps, Miley controlled the top spot from his remarkable lap-23 restart until the daunting green-white-checkered at the end.
Leading Sheppard to the green-white-checkered, Miley actually rocked the restart and built some distance between he and Sheppard as they ran off into turn one. Then the No. 10 got tight, pushed in turn two, and it all changed. Then Sheppard drove by, Miley went hard at him with a slider, they raced side-by-side, Sheppard countered into turn one, and survived a last-ditch effort to stun Miley in the closing moments.
“There’s no doubt that Jared definitely had that race won,” Sheppard said. “That was tough race, but man that was a lot of fun. I got by him down the backstretch then he slid across my nose over there in turn three and I got him back down here in turn one; what a great finish. You had to drive the heck out of it here tonight. This Rocket Chassis is a dream to drive right now, especially in front of a packed crowd like this.”
For Sheppard, after leading only two laps of Saturday’s 50-lap feature, he rose from the Rocket1 Racing No. 1 with his 69th career victory and 14th of the season.
While Sheppard basked in the joy of victory lane, Miley was forced to sit stage right and collect his thoughts after a dejecting loss.
“I saw Sheppard was in second on that last restart and I knew it would be the toughest one on me,” Miley noted. “We had a great car, but I just got in too high and caught a push there at the exit of turn two. I tried to get back by him, but I wasn’t gonna take him out or anything. It was great racing and he did what he needed to. This sucks, but whenever we get that first one, I know it’ll be awesome. At least the fans got to see such an awesome race.”
Following Sheppard and Miley to the finish line was leading Rookie of the Year contender Ashton Winger, who romped from 19th to third.
“I know what it’s like when the blue No. 1 car slides you for your first Outlaw win; your heart skips a couple beats,” Winger said. “For us, it was a tough weekend, but we’re getting there. I’m exciting about this rookie year we’ve put together. I’m learning a ton and having a lot fun out here.”
Feature (50 laps): 1. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$10,000]; 2. 10-Jared Miley [$5,000]; 3. 12-Ashton Winger [$3,000]; 4. 72N-Mike Norris [$2,500]; 5. 28-Dennis Erb [$2,000]; 6. 111-Max Blair [$1,700]; 7. 29V-Darrell Lanigan [$1,400]; 8. 7-Ricky Weiss [$1,300]; 9. 111L-Matt Lux [$1,200]; 10. 12D-Doug Drown [$1,100]; 11. 18-Chase Junghans [$1,050]; 12. 97-Cade Dillard [$1,000]; 13. B1-Brent Larson [$950]; 14. 11H-Gale Huey [$900]; 15. 55-Denny Fenton [$850]; 16. 22-Gregg Satterlee [$800]; 17. 99B-Boom Briggs [$770]; 18. X3-Wyatt Scott [$750]; 19. 94-Charles Powell [$730]; 20. 4S-David Scott [$700]; 21. 72-Jason Covert [$700]; 22. 25Z-Mason Zeigler [$700]; 23. 84-Andrew Wylie [$700]; 24. 0-Scott Bloomquist [$700]; 25. 119-Chub Frank [$700]. Lap Leader(s): Lanigan 1-22; Miley 23-48; Sheppard 49-50. Hard Charger Award: 12-Ashton Winger[+16]