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ONE STEP AWAY: Sheppard wins the Scorcher at Volunteer Speedway

Sheppard wins at Volunteer Speedway
The New Berlin, IL driver is one win away from tying Josh Richards for the most wins all-time

Brandon Sheppard’s quest toward World of Outlaws history took another step forward Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway. But without some luck, it might not have happened.

Sheppard was fortunate enough to draw the outside pole, putting him on the front row with Championship rival Chris Madden. The New Berlin, IL driver, used the outside lane to his advantage, launching ahead of Madden in Turn 2 and holding on for his eighth win of the season.

The “Rocket Shepp” gave himself a chance to win after making sure he finished his Drydene Heat Race in a redraw spot.

“I really wanted to win that Heat Race, but I knew as long as I finished in the top two, we’d get into the redraw,” Sheppard said. “With this tire rule we’re on here this weekend, it’s kind of hard to pass, so just getting a good starting spot and getting out front early has been key all weekend.”

The win is Sheppard’s 77th World of Outlaws triumph—one win away from tying Josh Richards at the top of the all-time wins list (78). Even though he’s knocking at history’s door, it’s not something that’s on his mind.

“It’s really cool, but I just try not to think about it, you know, because when you think about it, it’s gets in your head, and then you want to win too bad, and then it messes you up,” Sheppard said.

Madden survives to finish second
Chris Madden had severe damage to his 44 machine after an incident on a restart/Jacy Norgaard photo

Madden crossed the line second, but not without adversity. The Feature needed three attempts at the initial green flag, including one where the Gray Court, SC driver, received severe body damage to the left side of his car.

Ricky Weiss wheel-hopped Madden’s left rear on one of the attempts, hooking them together as cars wrecked behind them. Both drivers continued, but Madden was upset with what happened despite the runner-up finish.

“Me and [Sheppard] tried two or three times and had perfect starts with no problems,” Madden said. “It’s just the guys behind us can’t do what they’re supposed to do.”

Michael Chilton rounded out the podium for the Salvisa, KY driver’s best career World of Outlaws finish.

While most of the field was running the top, Chilton was one of the few cars taking a chance on the bottom.

“I was just beating the hell out of the cushion in [Turn 1 and 2], and then I kind of found a brown streak down in the bottom of [Turn 3 and 4],” Chilton said. “I could make some speed down there, and it seemed like no one else was down there; I had clean air down there, and I got a good drive off the corner and made some ground on some guys.”

Chilton finishes third
Michael Chilton races with Dale McDowell/Jacy Norgaard photo

Tyler Bruening finished fourth—his second top-five of the weekend. Dennis Erb Jr. crossed the line fifth.

Brandon Sheppard has six races left in 2021 to try and grab a piece of World of Outlaws history. Even though he’s on the doorstep, Rocket1 Racing is taking things one race at a time.

“We just keep on doing our thing and keep racing, and the wins are going to come whenever they come,” Sheppard said.

UP NEXT: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet travel to The Rev in Monroe, LA, for a doubleheader on Sept. 24-25.

Morton Buildings Feature (40 Laps)-1. 1-Brandon Sheppard [2][$10,000]; 2. 44-Chris Madden [1][$6,000]; 3. 97-Michael Chilton [4][$3,500]; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening [10][$2,800]; 5. 28-Dennis Erb [11][$2,500]; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell [3][$2,300]; 7. 1G-Ryan King [12][$2,200]; 8. 51-Mack McCarter [20][$2,100]; 9. 99B-Boom Briggs [14][$2,050]; 10. 7-Ricky Weiss [5][$2,000]; 11. 34-Ellery Leake [18][$1,600]; 12. 79-Ross Bailes [6][$1,400]; 13. 9-Dusty Carver [24][$1,200]; 14. 71-Pierce McCarter [22][$1,100]; 15. 37-Drew Kennedy [21][$1,050]; 16. 1H-Vic Hill [13][$1,000]; 17. 19R-Ryan Gustin [8][$1,000]; 18. 3-Austin Neely [16][$1,000]; 19. 126-Kaede Loudy [15][$1,000]; 20. 21K-Dakotah Knuckles [23][$1,000]; 21. 28W-Jim Whisler [17][$1,000]; 22. 57-Zack Mitchell [7][$1,000]; 23. 83-Jensen Ford [9][$1,000]; 24. B1-Brent Larson [19][$1,000] Hard Charger: 51-Mack McCarter[+12]

Qualifying –1. 79-Ross Bailes, 12.533; 2. 44-Chris Madden, 12.62; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 12.697; 4. 97-Michael Chilton, 12.71; 5. 7-Ricky Weiss, 12.719; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell, 12.738; 7. 1H-Vic Hill, 12.781; 8. 28-Dennis Erb, 12.825; 9. 21K-Dakotah Knuckles, 12.848; 10. 3-Austin Neely, 12.879; 11. 19R-Ryan Gustin, 12.889; 12. 71-Pierce McCarter, 12.89; 13. 57-Zack Mitchell, 12.908; 14. 51-Mack McCarter, 12.934; 15. 83-Jensen Ford, 13.014; 16. 16-Tyler Bruening, 13.049; 17. 99B-Boom Briggs, 13.176; 18. 1G-Ryan King, 13.208; 19. B1-Brent Larson, 13.256; 20. 9-Dusty Carver, 13.339; 21. 34-Ellery Leake, 13.638; 22. 82-Eston Whisler, 13.732; 23. 28W-Jim Whisler, 13.795; 24. 126-Kaede Loudy, 13.894; 25. 52-Troy Eads, 14.151; 26. N6-Blonde Bomber, 14.284; 27. 37-Drew Kennedy, NT

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