Thrice Is Nice For Brandon Sheppard

Brandon Sheppard (1) takes the lead from Tim McCreadie en route to his third straight victory at Florida's Volusia Speedway Park. (Jim DenHamer photo)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Brandon Sheppard led 41 of 50 laps en route to his third consecutive World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series victory during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

In fact, it was Sheppard’s fourth straight WoO LMS triumph aboard Mark Richards’ No. 1 Rocket house car at the half-mile track, dating back to last February.

Reigning series champion Mike Marlar put together an incredible rebound race, advancing 21 spots through 50 laps to go from 23rd to second after barely making the race through a Last Chance Showdown.

Two-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley bagged the final spot in the top three with a solid run.

Sheppard began his night with a win in Heat No. 5 and drew the fourth spot on the starting grid. Sheppard took the lead from Tim McCreadie on lap 10.

“I feel like I could have run the same line most of the race and kept the same speed up, but there were guys coming behind me on the top and they were a little better than me at times, so I had to move up and compensate,” said Sheppard. “I just moved when I had to, and everything just worked out how it worked out — the race car was really good.”

Sheppard, a third-generation racer, grew up on Illinois bullrings, but he’s adapted his game to big houses, as well.

Brandon Sheppard in victory lane. (Jim DenHamer photo)

“You can’t get good at these places unless you go and get beat and learn from your mistakes,” Sheppard said. “We’ve ran a lot of half-miles in the past few years and our half-mile program has been really, really good. I was definitely excited to come here, for sure. Of all the places that we come to in Florida, or speed weeks in general, I was definitely most excited about here.”

Marlar, who won a DIRTcar late model event earlier in the week, was pleased with his run.

“It went great for me, there were a lot of things happening in that race,” said Marlar. “I started, pretty much, at the rear and had a really good car. I missed some pretty big catastrophes and passed a lot of cars too, so it was a good night for us.”

Shirley once again proved his worthiness of running up front again on Friday night with a hard-fought, third-place run.

“We got off to a pretty good start and was able to pick a few of those guys off,” said Shirley. “Just stuck to my guns, as I was pretty good around the top. Luckily, everything went our way – got a couple spots on some restarts and it all worked out pretty good.”

The finish:

Morton Buildings Feature (50 Laps) 1. 1-Brandon Sheppard [4][$10,000]; 2. 6m-Mike Marlar [23][$5,000]; 3. 3s-Brian Shirley [8][$3,000]; 4. 5-Don O’Neal [9][$2,500]; 5. 29-Darrell Lanigan [12][$2,000]; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell [20][$1,700]; 7. 18-Chase Junghans [10][$1,400]; 8. 25-Shane Clanton [5][$1,300]; 9. 7r-Kent Robinson [19][$1,200]; 10. 0-Scott Bloomquist [3][$1,100]; 11. 28-Dennis Erb [11][$1,050]; 12. 15-Donny Schatz [13][$1,000]; 13. 97-Cade Dillard [16][$950]; 14. 2-Brandon Overton [25][$900]; 15. 99B-Boom Briggs [14][$850]; 16. B1-Brent Larson [26][$800]; 17. 44-Chris Madden [1][$770]; 18. 40B-Kyle Bronson [7][$750]; 19. 49-Jonathan Davenport [6][$730]; 20. 22-Chris Ferguson [15][$700]; 21. 111-Tyler Erb [22][$700]; 22. 39-Tim McCreadie [2][$700]; 23. 7-Ricky Weiss [17][$700]; 24. 9-Devin Moran [24][$700]; 25. 22s-Gregg Satterlee [18][$700]; 26. 6-Blake Spencer [28][$110]; 27. 36v-Kyle Hardy [27][$110]; 28. 116-Tanner English [21][$700] Hard Charger – 6m-Mike Marlar [+21] Lap Leaders – Tim McCreadie: Laps 1-9, Brandon Sheppard: Laps 10-50