Super-Sub Sheppard Powers To Convincing Victory In Saturday’s Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals A-Main

Young Star Drives Rocket Chassis House Car To Clean Sweep Of Program At Bubba Raceway Park

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

OCALA, FL – Feb. 15, 2014 – Just call him Super Sub.

Continuing his spectacular performance as the interim driver of the Rocket Chassis house car, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., powered to a convincing victory in Saturday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main at Bubba Raceway Park.

Sheppard, 21, surged forward from the fifth starting spot to take the lead from hometown favorite Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, Fla., on lap seven and never looked back. The 2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals and DIRTcar Late Model national champion easily handled four restarts over the remaining distance to defeat Friday-night winner Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., by 4.348 seconds in the second night of action during the third annual Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals.

Lloyd, who started from the pole position and led laps 1-6, swapped second place with Smith twice before settling for a career-best WoO LMS finish of third. Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., ran as high as second midway through the race but slipped to fourth at the finish and outside-polesitter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., placed fifth after starting from the outside pole.

The $10,050 triumph was Sheppard’s first of the young 2014 WoO LMS season and the fourth of his career on the national tour. Two of his World of Outlaws checkered flags have come behind the wheel of Mark Richards’s familiar Valvoline-sponsored Rocket No. 1, which he is steering while reigning WoO LMS champion Josh Richards is sidelined by undisclosed medical issues.

Sheppard also earned his first-ever win during Georgia/Florida Speedweeks, which he has been attending annually since he was a high-school student.

“We’ve been trying a lot of years to get a win down here and had never been able to do it,” said Sheppard, who had made all his previous Speedweeks appearances in family-owned equipment. “We never really had any runs to write home about, but this year we’ve had a really good car the whole time we’ve been down here. This team is awesome and I felt like it was a matter of time before we’d get one.”

Sheppard’s great start in the first 50-lapper of the WoO LMS campaign proved to be key to his success. He passed three cars on the opening lap to reach second place and then measured Lloyd’s Snow Brothers car for several circuits before grabbing the lead on lap seven with an inside move rounding turn four.

“Everything fell into place right,” said Sheppard. “We came up through there pretty quick. We had a ton of traction off of four. I feel like that’s where a lot of guys would lose time, but I could really get through there and get down on that bottom pretty good and drive off.”

Sheppard maintained a modest edge once in command, holding his rivals at arm’s length as he marched to a victory that gave him a rare sweep of a WoO LMS program. He had some close calls in lapped traffic late in the distance but turned up the wick to power away from the 36-year-old Smith in the final circuits.

“I seen my guys telling me they were getting a little bit close to me when I was in lapped traffic,” said Sheppard, whose perfect night included fast-time honors in qualifying and a heat-race win. “I was kind of trying to save my tires a little bit there, but I knew we were pretty good on the top. I looked up and seen a couple laps to go and put it on the top and got something done.”

{vimeo}86811290{/vimeo}

Smith, who hustled his Rocket machine forward from the eighth starting spot to reach second for the first time with a lap-26 restart pass of Fuller, happily accepted his runner-up finish.

“I’m not gonna complain about a second,” said Smith, who ended the night tied for the WoO LMS points lead with Sheppard. “I was probably a little too conservative trying to save my tires, but we’ll take second.”

Lloyd, meanwhile, felt a prime opportunity to snatch a memorable first-ever WoO LMS win on home turf might have slipped through his fingers.

“The track got a little rough and we had hard tires on,” said Lloyd, whose previous career-high WoO LMS finish was a fourth in last year’s Winter Nationals opener at BRP. “I never would’ve thought four 10s (soft compound tires) would beat us here, but that’s how it goes. We were hoping for a little bit better, but it was a pretty good run. It’s an accomplishment to run third with these guys.”

Finishing in positions 6-10 was Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who charged forward from the 19th starting spot after running a B-Main for the second consecutive night; Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., who briefly cracked the top five; 17th-starter Rick Eckert of York, Pa.; Frankie Heckenast Jr. of Orland Park, Ill., who ran as high as sixth; and Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga.

Four caution flags slowed the event, including a notable lap-14 spin between turns one and two by Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., who was bidding for fourth place when he lost control of his car. Other cautions flew for Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., who spun in turns one and two on lap 10; Raymond Merrill of Sallisaw, Okla. (flat tire on lap 26); and Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa. (slowed on lap 32).

Thirty cars were signed in for the event.

Sheppard was fastest in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials for the second consecutive night, turning a lap of 13.955 seconds. He was just over two-tenths of a second off the track record of 13.771 seconds set by Josh Richards exactly one year ago.

Heat winners were Sheppard, Lloyd and Clanton, and McCreadie captured the B-Main.

The Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals conclude on Sunday (Feb. 16) with the inaugural 60-lap ‘Super Sunday Showdown,’ which offers a $12,000 first-place prize. Gates are scheduled to open at 12 noon with hot laps set to start at 4 p.m.

Results of World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals’ Night 2 at Bubba Raceway Park (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (5) Brandon Sheppard/50 $10,050
2. (8) Brady Smith/50 $5,050
3. (1) Ivedent Lloyd Jr./50 $3,600
4. (3) Tim Fuller/50 $2,550
5. (2) Darrell Lanigan/50 $2,150
6. (19) Tim McCreadie/50 $1,850
7. (9) Mike Marlar/50 $1,400
8. (17) Rick Eckert/50 $1,575
9. (6) Frankie Heckenast Jr./50 $1,250
10. (12) Casey Roberts/50 $1,150
11. (10) Morgan Bagley/50 $1,100
12. (21) Brandon Overton/50 $1,000
13. (18) Chub Frank/50 $1,050
14. (4) Shane Clanton/50 $950
15. (23) Eric Wells/50 $900
16. (7) Chase Junghans/50 $800
17. (20) Austin Kirkpatrick/50 $770
18. (11) Clint Smith/49 $800
19. (16) Raymond Merrill/49 $730
20. (13) Mark Whitener/48 $700
21. (22) Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/41 $700
22. (24) John Winge/22 $700
23. (14) Jack Sullivan/18 $700
24. (15) John Garvin Jr./14 $700

* Earnings include cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 23 Mins., 53.004 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 4.348 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (laps 10, 14, 26, 32)
Lap Leaders: Lloyd (1-6); Sheppard (7-50)
Provisional Starters: Wells, Winge
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Lloyd ($500)

Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):

1. 1-Brandon Sheppard/New Berlin, IL 13.955
2. 21L-Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Ocala, FL 14.064
3. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 14.133
4. 18c-Chase Junghans/Manhattan, KS 14.143
5. 18x-Jack Sullivan/Greenbrier, AR 14.155
6. 25-Shane Clanton/Zebulon, GA 14.159
7. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 14.263
8. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 14.342
9. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 14.373
10. 14M-Morgan Bagley/Tyler, TX 14.410
11. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 14.435
12. 76-Brandon Overton/Appleton, GA 14.441
13. 18-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 14.520
14. 99Jr.-Frankie Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 14.530
15. J4-John Garvin/Sarver, PA 14.543
16. 58-Mark Whitener/Middleburg, FL 14.563
17. 11-Austin Kirkpatrick/Ocala, FL 14.586
18. 157-Mike Marlar/Winfield, TN 14.588
19. 12M-Raymond Merrill/Sallisaw, OK 14.600
20. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 14.692
21. 101-Casey Roberts/Toccoa, GA 14.707
22. 33-Brian Reese/Sharpsburg, Ga 14.733
23. 1G-Michael Lake/Uniontown, PA 14.915
24. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 14.932
25. 17J-John Winge/Sioux Falls, SD 14.941
26. 99B-Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs/Bear Lake, PA 15.045
27. 54-Dalton Myers/Riverview, FL 15.187
28. 32-David Gibson Jr./Charleston, WV 15.439
29. 57-Chuck Julien/Apopka, FL 16.540
30. 16H-Mike Hammerle/St. Charles, MO 16.827

Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Sheppard, Fuller, Junghans, Bagley, Whitener, Merrill, Wells, Gibson, Reese, Winge

Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Lloyd, Heckenast, B. Smith, C. Smith, Sullivan, Eckert, Kirkpatrick, Briggs, Lake (DNS) Julien

Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Clanton, Lanigan, Marlar, Roberts, Garvin, Frank, McCreadie, Overton, Myers, Hammerle

B-Main (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): McCreadie, Kirkpatrick, Overton, Briggs, Reese, Winge, Lake, Hammerle, Gibson (DNS) Wells, Julien, Myers

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal):

Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Brandon Sheppard
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Brandon Sheppard
Quartermaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Wrisco (three sheets of aluminum/certificate to A-Main winner): Brandon Sheppard
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Brady Smith
Penske Racing Shocks ($50 to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
Roush-Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Darrell Lanigan
Lincoln Welders ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
American Racing Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
Edelbrock ($50 cash to 9th-place finisher in A-Main): Frankie Heckenast Jr.
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Casey Roberts
Cometic ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Superflow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Shane Clanton
Quartermaster ($25 certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 16th-place finisher in A-Main): Chase Junghans
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Raymond Merrill
Quartermaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Raymond Merrill
Arizona Sports Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Mark Whitener
JE Pistons (one set of rings certificate to 21st-place finisher in A-Main): Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs
Roush-Yates ($50 certificate to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): John Winge
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO driver): Brady Smith

2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Feb. 15 – 2 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):

1. (tie) Brady Smith 296
1. (tie) Brandon Sheppard 296
3. Darrell Lanigan 284 (-12)
4. Tim Fuller 282 (-14)
5. Ivedent Lloyd Jr. 278 (-18)
6. Rick Eckert 276 (-20)
7. Mike Marlar 272 (-24)
8. Tim McCreadie 270 (-26)
9. Frankie Heckenast Jr. 262 (-34)
10. Shane Clanton 260 (-36)
11. Brandon Overton 254 (-42)
12. (tie) Chub Frank 248 (-48)
12. (tie) Morgan Bagley 248 (-48)
14. Eric Wells 246 (-50)
15. Casey Roberts 238 (-58)

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.

021514 BubbaLive2

LIVE UPDATES 2/15: World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals’ Night 2 At Bubba Raceway Park

OCALA, FL – Feb. 15, 2014 – The 2014 World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Bubba Army Dirt Late Model Winter Nationals’ continues tonight at Bubba Raceway Park with Race No. 2 of the weekend tripleheader.

In the wake of last night’s 35-lap WoO LMS season opener won by Brady Smith, the stakes become higher tonight with a 50-lap A-Main paying $10,000 to win on tap.

For live updates of all the news, pit notes and results from tonight’s action, click the ‘Full Story’ link below. Be sure to refresh your browser throughout the night to see the latest information.

Get out the broom

10:20 p.m. – Brandon Sheppard is now back at the Rocket Chassis house car hauler, celebrating a powerful victory in the 50-lap A-Main that gave him a clean sweep of the night’s action.

Sheppard blasted forward from the fifth starting spot to take the lead from Ivedent Lloyd Jr. on lap seven and never looked back. He handled four restarts over the remaining distance to earn his first WoO LMS win of the season and the fourth of his career by 4.348 seconds over Friday-night winner Brady Smith.

Lloyd swapped second place with Smith twice before settling for a career-best WoO LMS finish of third. Tim Fuller ran as high as second before falling to fourth at the finish and Darrell Lanigan placed fifth after starting from the outside pole.

A-Main Finish (50 laps): 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Brady Smith, 3. Ivedent Lloyd Jr., 4. Tim Fuller, 5. Darrell Lanigan, 6. Tim McCreadie, 7. Mike Marlar, 8. Rick Eckert, 9. Frankie Heckenast Jr., 10. Casey Roberts, 11. Morgan Bagley, 12. Brandon Overton, 13. Chub Frank, 14. Shane Clanton, 15. Eric Wells, 16. Chase Junghans, 17. Austin Kirkpatrick, 18. Clint Smith, 19. Raymond Merrill, 20. Mark Whitener, 21. Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs, 22. John Winge, 23. Jack Sullivan, 24. John Garvin Jr.

And a hometown star and an Outlaw will lead them

9:25 p.m. – With visions of a rip-roaring WoO LMS victory at his hometown track dancing in his head, Ivedent Lloyd Jr. drew the pole position for the 50-lap A-Main. He will share the front row with Darrell Lanigan, who has four career WoO LMS wins at BRP.

Tim Fuller drew the third starting spot, Shane Clanton will start fourth, Brandon Sheppard will bid for a clean sweep of the program from the fifth slot and Frankie Heckenast Jr. will start sixth.

Tim McCreadie won the 12-lap B-Main moments ago over Austin Kirkpatrick, Brandon Overton and Boom Briggs. Provisional spots have gone to Eric Wells and John Winge to complete the 24-car field in the feature.

The eight-minute horn to line up the A-Main has been blown….

A-Main Lineup:

Row 1: Ivedent Lloyd Jr./Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Tim Fuller/Shane Clanton
Row 3: Brandon Sheppard/Frankie Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Chase Junghans/Brady Smith
Row 5: Mike Marlar/Morgan Bagley
Row 6: Clint Smith/Casey Roberts
Row 7: Mark Whitener/Jack Sullivan
Row 8: John Garvin/Raymond Merrill
Row 9: Rick Eckert/Chub Frank
Row 10: Tim McCreadie/Austin Kirkpatrick
Row 11: Brandon Overton/Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs
Row 12: Eric Wells/John Winge

 

Fleet in the heats

8:50 p.m. – Brandon Sheppard, Ivedent Lloyd Jr. and Shane Clanton were victorious in the three 10-lap heats, earning redraw spots for the A-Main. Runners-up Tim Fuller, Frankie Heckenast Jr. and Darrell Lanigan also will redraw for the top six starting spots in the headliner.

Heat-race finishes can be viewed here.

B-Shepp again

8:15 p.m. – Brandon Sheppard was on the gas in qualifying (photo below) for the second consecutive night, topping Ohlins Shocks Time Trials with a blazing lap of 13.955 seconds. The 21-year-old was just over two-tenths of a second off the track record of 13.771 seconds set exactly one year ago by Josh Richards, the reigning WoO LMS champion whose health issues have forced him to turn over the cockpit of the Rocket house car to Sheppard for an indefinite length of time.

Hometown favorite Ivedent Lloyd Jr. was second-fastest at 14.064 seconds — and this time he’ll keep his spot and start on the pole of a heat race. Last night he was third-fastest in time trials but was pushed down to 15th in the official qualifying order because he arrived late and by rule could not time higher than 50 percent of the field plus one.

Darrell Lanigan was third-fastest at 14.133 seconds to earn the pole of the third and final heat race. WoO LMS rookie Chase Junghans was a career-best fourth-fastest and Jack Sullivan timed fifth-quick.

Complete results from time trials can be seen here.

021514 BSheppTT

Here we go again….

7:15 p.m. – WoO LMS hot laps will be rolling onto the racetrack momentarily, giving teams a chance to set up for Ohlins Shocks Time Trials and tonight’s three 10-lap heat races. The top-six finishers from each heat will transfer to the 50-lap A-Main, with the top two redrawing for the top six spots in the feature starting lineup.

Upon further review….

6:40 p.m. – WoO LMS officials announced a short time ago that a change has been made to the official finish from last night’s 35-lap A-Main. WoO LMS rookie Chase Junghans was initially listed as finishing one lap down in 13th place, but a review of scoring revealed that he was actually two laps (he was lapped for a second time by winner Brady Smith on the final circuit) and moved back to 19th place in the official rundown.

The now-official finish from last night’s A-Main can be seen here.

Tire shopping

6 p.m. – For a bargain-hunting, low-buck racer like Mike Hammerle, Florida Speedweeks is a paradise. The 66-year-old DIRTcar Late Model veteran from St. Charles, Mo., doesn’t annually make the long tow to the Sunshine State because he’s expecting great results — he understands that he’ll need plenty of breaks (or a provisional starting spot) to start a feature at BRP or Volusia Speedway Park with his well-worn Rayburn No. 16H machine, which is more suited to the one-fifth-mile bullrings like Belle-Clair and Macon that he races back home. He heads south because the trip fills his ravenous need for racing and helps him stock up on tires for the rest of the season at a can’t-miss price (that would be free).

Earlier today Hammerle was seen picking through a pile of discarded tires between the Darrell Lanigan and Jack Sullivan trailers (photo below), looking for some soft LM-10 compound Hoosier tires. He found several that he deemed acceptable, threw them on his four-wheeler and took them back to his camper and roll-back hauler parked in the corner of the BRP pit area.

“They take ’em off,” Hammerle said of the big teams’ quick hook for soft-compound rubber, “but they’re good to me.”

Hammerle will remain on the lookout for tires thrown away here and at Volusia. When he heads back home, his camper and hauler will be jam-packed with tires that he’ll put to good use throughout the 2014 season.

Actually, with just 30 cars in action tonight (late additions to the field include Brian Reese, Chuck Julien and David Gibson Jr.), there’s a good chance Hammerle could end up starting one of this weekend’s A-Mains here at BRP. But even if he fails to crack a feature lineup, he’ll enjoy sitting in the stands and catching the headline race with a beer in his hand.

“It would be great if I made a feature,” Hammerle told WoO LMS official Tyler Bachman. “I do like watching them, though.”

021514 Hammerle

Changing up

5:35 p.m. – Three drivers — Mike Marlar, Casey Roberts and Rick ‘Boom’ Briggs — have parked the cars they ran last night and pulled out their backup machines for tonight’s meet.

Marlar and Briggs made the move in hopes of finding more speed with their second cars, while Roberts experienced mechanical trouble last night (he dropped out of the A-Main after 17 laps) and will look to rebound with his other Capital Race Car.

Back at it

5 p.m. – With brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the 60s prevailing, it appears that 27 cars will be in competition for the second consecutive night here at Bubba Raceway Park — albeit with one switch in entrants. Allen Murray of San Antonio, Texas, left the track after breaking an engine during last night’s heat action — a malfunction that prompted the bitterly dejected Murray, who had already lost a motor earlier in Speedweeks, to crack to a WoO LMS official that he “might be done forever” — while John Garvin of Sarver, Pa., has pulled in to join the action.

Garvin, who lives just down the street from Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway, has had his hauler and race car in Florida since he tested at Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 4 and was planning to enter all three nights of the Winter Nationals. But his workload at home — he flew back to the Keystone State after testing — prevented him from starting his BRP assault until today.