Sheppard Steals Opening Night Lucas Oil Late Model Winternationals Victory
For Immediate Release – February 5th, 2018 – FYE Motorsports Promotions
New Berlin, Illinois racer Brandon Sheppard lead only one lap in tonight’s 30-lap finale, but it was the one that counted as he nipped leader Devin Moran by 0.056 seconds in a photo finish thriller to kick off the 6 night Winternationals here at East Bay Raceway Park.
After a Tampa Bay area record rainfall soaked the facility on Sunday, which forced the cancellation of practice, 40 teams unloaded to compete in the first the 6 night Wrisco Industries 42nd annual Winternationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs.
Defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion Josh Richards topped Miller Welders qualifying with a time of 14.718 seconds and Kyle Bronson, Devin Moran, Richards and Bobby Pierce each topped their respective 10-lap heat race. Gregg Satterlee and Scott Bloomquist won the b-mains and Walker Arthur topped the night’s Strawberry Dash setting up the 26-car feature field for the $5,000 to win week-long opener.
By virtue of his opening heat race victory, Bronson sat on the pole and lead the field to the green. He jumped out to the early lead only to see Richards storm back by for the lead early. 3rd starting Moran would move into contention and take the lead from Richards as the crowd was witnessing a thriller of a 30-lapper.
After a lap 5 caution for Brian Shirley, the field was bunched back up and again Moran took the point with Richards, Earl Pearson Jr., 10th starting Brandon Sheppard and Jonathan Davenport now waging a war for position just behind the leader. The event was slowed by one more caution, which kept the field tight, but Moran was up to the challenge on the final restart and took back off over the stout field. Devin lead until the white flag flew and Sheppard jumped up to the cushion and blasted alongside Moran as the two entered turn three on the final lap. Sheppard’s momentum carried him to a .056 second photo finish thriller of a victory in front of a very entertained Monday night crowd. Moran would settle for second with Pearson Jr. third, Davenport fourth and 18th starting Bloomquist rounding out the top five when all was said and done.
Feature Finish: Brandon Sheppard, Devin Moran, Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Billy Moyer Jr., Tyler Erb, Austin Hubbard, Corey Conley, Hudson O’Neal, Dennis Erb Jr., Bobby Pierce, Kyle Bronson, Jesse Stovall, Gregg Satterlee, Jonathan Rowan, Tim Dohm, Donald McIntosh, Mason Zeigler, Jeff Mathews, Greg Oakes, Walker Arthur, Tim McCreadie, Mike Benedum, Brian Shirley
Mike Horne Photo