The four-time Series champion won his 84th career World of Outlaws race during the opening night of the Heartland Grand Tour 


The search is over for Brandon Sheppard and the Longhorn Factory Team. On the first day of summer and the start of the Heartland Grand Tour for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models, the pair found their first Series win together. 

It took almost all 40 laps at Thunderhill Raceway Park for him to get there as Sheppard and Cade Dillard put on a two-man show of clean door-to-door racing for about half the race. But a late race move put the New Berlin, IL native in Victory Lane – a feat he and the Longhorn team had been looking for since joining forces in January. 

“This means so much, honestly,” Sheppard said. “The whole team has been working super hard, and we’ve been getting this car to get that fit to where I like it, and we’ve been getting to that point. At the end of the day, my guys have been working at it for the longest time. They’ve had my back through thick and thin no matter what. My team has had great attitudes and keeping on it night in and out and that’s what it takes. 

MD3 Rookie of the Year contender Cody Overton led the field to the Gorsuch Performance green flag, with reigning Series champion Bobby Pierce to his outside. 

The two drivers fought side by side for the lead, using every lane possible to try and get ahead of the other. 

When Pierce got his chance to clear Overton off Turn 4 for the lead, his left rear blew – ending his chance to win his 21st Series Late Model Feature race. 

On the following restart, Overton dropped off the podium, losing the lead to Dillard and then two more spots to Sheppard, the four-time Series champion, and Brian Shirley. 

Sheppard continued to work his way closer to Dillard by running the bottom while Dillard used the high line to maintain. Eventually, that put the two in a side-by-side battle. 

Dillard began to mix up his line each lap to keep the pilot of the No. B5 away from his No. 97 machine, but Sheppard continued to creep closer alongside him as single-digit laps remained. 

With three laps remaining, Sheppard took his chance for the lead by running low through Turn 3 and sliding up high off Turn 4 to get by Dillard for the lead. 

From there, Sheppard distanced himself from Dillard and went on to score his 84th World of Outlaws victory – his 16th career Feature win at a debuting track on the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models schedule.

Brandon Sheppard crosses the checkered flag to win at Thunderhill Raceway Park (Emily Schwanke)

“(Thunderhill) was badass,” Sheppard said. “I had a friend of mine tell me that the track was really good. You don’t know what to expect when you go to a new place, and they’ve done a lot of work here and changed a lot of stuff, so you don’t know. I had high hopes and they put a lot of effort into the racetrack throughout the night, and it created a heck of a race.” 

Dillard, who could see his first win since 2021 in sight, had to settle for second. But he gave credit to Sheppard for a respectful battle. 

“Yeah, it was a fun little place,” Dillard said. “Definitely had to get up on the wheel there, you get wore out quick at a place like this. Brandon has always raced me super clean. He’s been doing a lot longer than me in a Late Model, and he’s always been the cleanest. He’ll race me hard and clean and I’ll do the same to him. It sucks, but we’re getting closer, and it’s been a while since I’ve won so we’ll just keep chipping away at it.” 

Like Sheppard’s late pass on Dillard, Lake Elmo, MN driver Brent Larson had to do the same to Shirley as he scored his first podium of 2024 on the opening night of the Heartland Grand Tour. 

“(Thunderhill) fit our tire choice really well,” Larson said. “I needed the longer runs, we just had to learn from the Heat race. To come here where nobody has a notebook or what to do and that levels everything out. You run on just your own thoughts and ideas and not on notes or experience and that makes it fun for me. We got a new car and it’s going in the right direction and keep on digging from there.” 

Shirley finished fourth on the night, and Marshalltown, IA driver Ryan Gustin completed the top-five after a 17-place climb to claim a fifth-place result. 


Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap: Kyle Bronson 

Simpson Quick Time Award: Bobby Pierce

Heat Winners: Bobby Pierce, Brandon Sheppard, Cade Dillard

Bilstein Pole Award: Cody Overton

Up Next: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models make their way north to Junction City, KY for the Billy Todd Classic at Ponderosa Speedway on Friday, June 21. Then, the Series closes the opening weekend of the Heartland Grand Tour at Brownstown Speedway on Saturday, June 22. For more information on the events and ticket options, CLICK HERE. 

If you can’t make it to the tracks, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models race live on DIRTVision.  

CASE Late Model Feature (40 Laps): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[5]; 2. 97-Cade Dillard[3]; 3. B1-Brent Larson[8]; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley[4]; 5. 19R-Ryan Gustin[22]; 6. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[12]; 7. 9-Nick Hoffman[19]; 8. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 9. 40B-Kyle Bronson[6]; 10. 97C-Cody Overton[1]; 11. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[18]; 12. 19-Dustin Sorensen[24]; 13. 16-Tyler Bruening[11]; 14. 14W-Dustin Walker[21]; 15. 22*-Max McLaughlin[15]; 16. 78-Matthew Brocato[13]; 17. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[14]; 18. 6JR-Parker Martin[17]; 19. 81J-Jack Riggs[7]; 20. 818-Jadon Frame[9]; 21. 29-Christian Hanger[23]; 22. C6-Oakley Johns[10]; 23. B44-Grayson Brewer[16]; 24. 22GR-GR Smith[20]