B-Shepp got by Nick Hoffman to lead the final 22 laps for his 85th World of Outlaws CASE Late Models victory (Emily Schwanke Photo)

 

Brandon Sheppard has managed to wrangle the horns of his No. B5 Sheppard Riggs Racing Longhorn Factory Team Late Model to begin the Heartland Grand Tour.

The New Berlin, IL driver had to work for the lead throughout the 50-lap Billy Todd Classic to win his second consecutive Feature race with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models at Ponderosa Speedway.

Sheppard began the Feature on the inside of the second row and became a first-hand witness to Bilstein Pole Award winner Cody Overton losing his engine on the first lap of the Feature.

Mooresville, NC driver Nick Hoffman – who started outside on the front row – ran away with the early lead while Sheppard got stuck in a door-to-door battle with Marshalltown, IA driver Ryan Gustin for second place. 

Gustin won the early battle until a caution on lap 20 gave Sheppard a breath of new life in the fight, with the No. 19R slipping up through Turn 1 on the following restart. Sheppard blasted by for second place with enough time for the four-time Series champion to chase down Hoffman.

Using a move similar to his Thursday win at Thunderhill Raceway, Sheppard crossed down the track and cleanly slid up the track to get by Hoffman for the lead in the Feature.

Working around the lapped cars to his advantage, Sheppard widened his gap to over two seconds as the field continued to jockey for positions as the laps quickly ticked around the 3/8-mile track.

Hoffman struggled to continue forward momentum at the front, opening the door for new challengers in the form of Oakwood, IL driver Bobby Pierce, and Cross Lanes, WV driver Zack Dohm to pass by the Tye Twarog Racing No. 9 pilot.

Their efforts were no match for Sheppard, who passed under the twin checkered flags to secure his second Feature win of 2024 and pick up the $15,000 check.

“The race was really good,” Sheppard said. “I could run the top, middle, or bottom, and it’s all hats off to my team, man. We’ve kept plucking away night in and night out, and getting our ass kicked up and down the road. It’s starting to come my way a bit.

“When it’s your time, it’s your time. Gotta roll with the waves that come and go and luckily enough, we were in the right spot when Nick slipped up and we were able to take advantage of that. My car was so good and maneuverable running the cushion and I didn’t have to abuse my tires the whole race. When it was time to go, we went and kept it out front.”

Brandon Sheppard takes victory at Ponderosa Speedway (Emily Schwanke Photo)

Pierce was able to get by Dohm on the final lap off of Turn 2 to finish in second place. The 2023 Series champion said he wanted to get to battle with Sheppard but is proud of the effort that he and the team put into the car through the night in Junction City, KY.

“I would have loved to get up there and battle with Brandon,” Pierce said. “I think we had something for him. Redraw cost us a little bit and getting back there in the hornet’s nest. Every restart, I was in fourth and it was a mess back there. Got beat around a few times and just had to get back on it. Fortunately, the track was really good. The car was phenomenal. The crew keeps working hard and I wanna thank them for that. We’re fast, but we gotta put a whole night together.”

Dohm’s third-place result marked his first podium finish with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models. The regional racer worked through the field of cars throughout the 50 laps to have a chance to compete at the front of the field by the end of the Feature.

“I wasn’t real sure what to expect,” Dohm said. “Went from 10th up to second, tried using the bottom because I can get a good run off the corner. I think it finally got slick enough to where I could get a run. I was able to get by the bunch of cars that messed up, I think I got four spots there. I got to third, then got by Hoffman because I thought the top was going to be better. I just pulled my belts tight and got to the high line there to get by him. If Bobby hadn’t got to me, this would be a damn win for us.

“Getting third with the Outlaws is pretty amazing. This is our sixth race on the year, we’re just starting to figure out what we like. I’ve been working with Vinny Guiliani with Bilstein and Longhorn, and he’s got a different way of thinking, and it’s been pretty good for us. We normally have 13 people working, but we only had six today, but we felt like we were gonna do pretty good here and we did.”

Brandon, FL driver Kyle Bronson finished in fourth, continuing his streak of finishing inside the top-10 in every Series race since April at Farmer City Raceway. Completing the night’s top five finishers was Chickamauga, GA native Dale McDowell.

RECAP NOTES:

Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap: Bobby Pierce

Simpson Quick Time Award: Bobby Pierce

Heat Winners: Bobby Pierce, Brandon Sheppard, Cade Dillard

Bilstein Pole Award: Cody Overton

Fox Factory Hard Charger: Dennis Erb Jr

Up Next: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models complete the first weekend of the Heartland Grand Tour at Brownstown Speedway for the Hoosier Dirt Classic on Saturday, June 22. For more information on the event 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 (50 Laps): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[3]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[5]; 3. 17-Zack Dohm[10]; 4. 40B-Kyle Bronson[9]; 5. 17M-Dale McDowell[12]; 6. 9-Nick Hoffman[2]; 7. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[17]; 8. 16-Tyler Bruening[7]; 9. 97M-Michael Chilton[19]; 10. 97-Cade Dillard[4]; 11. 19R-Ryan Gustin[6]; 12. 19-Dustin Sorensen[11]; 13. 16R-Justin Rattliff[22]; 14. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[18]; 15. 3S-Brian Shirley[13]; 16. 13W-David Webb[16]; 17. 6-Dustin Linville[15]; 18. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[21]; 19. 1-Shane Bailey[24]; 20. 14W-Dustin Walker[25]; 21. 22*-Max McLaughlin[8]; 22. 4-Cody Mahoney[14]; 23. B1-Brent Larson[20]; 24. 97C-Cody Overton[1]; 25. 57M-Camaron Marlar[23]