The New Berlin, IL driver announced a switch to Longhorn Chassis in the offseason after more than a decade driving a Rocket.
That change is coming with growing pains, as the driver with the most wins in World of Outlaws CASE Late Models history has yet to find Victory Lane in 16 races. Despite struggling, he said he thinks the team is going in the right direction.
“I think we’re starting to turn a curve,” Sheppard said. “We’ve gotten a lot better here the last few days, and everything is starting to click pretty good. It’s a learning curve, and the way we’re going about everything is a lot different than what I’m used to.
“I’m just getting used to everything again and getting back into the swing of things has been the biggest challenge.”
Those challenges included the season’s opening weekend at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals.
Despite scoring two top 10s, he struggled during Qualifying—a part of his night he said was getting better with more laps during Florida Speedweeks.
“We’re starting to get our beginning of the nights better,” Sheppard said. “We’ve been racing pretty good but Qualifying has been our struggle so far. We’re starting to get that better. We just have to continue it and get some consistency going.
“Consistency leads into good runs, and hopefully, we’ll be stringing off some good runs in a row and keep the ball rolling. That’s the hardest part.”
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return to Volusia on Feb. 16-18, for the 52nd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals.
Sheppard has found success at the event, winning eight times and taking home the Big Gator trophy in 2019 and 2020.
He said he feels more prepared for what to expect each night after the two Sunshine Nationals Features.
“It’ll be good just being there and having an idea,” Sheppard said. “Just having that little bit of notebook is going to help us going into next week, and like I said, it’s all about taking good notes and remembering the changes we’re going through throughout the nights and getting everything figured out and dialed in.”
While he’s eyeing a fifth World of Outlaws championship in November, his eyes are still on leaving Volusia with another Big Gator title. If he wins the week-long chase, he’d be the first driver to take home three trophies.
“It would mean the world to me, my team, my family, and everyone involved,” Sheppard said. “A lot of stuff has changed for me over the past few months, so the good runs feel really good. So, in order to win that Big Gator, we’re going to have to be consistent and have good runs.”
Sheppard and the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models make their final stop at Volusia Speedway Park of 2023 for the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals Feb. 16-18—including a $20,000-to-win finale on Saturday, Feb. 18. FOR TICKETS: CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every lap live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.