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SUN KING: Devin Moran Captures World of Outlaws Opener at Volusia’s Sunshine Nationals 

Trent Gower Photography
Trent Gower Photography

The Dresden, OH driver scores his 12th career Series win, third straight at Sunshine Nationals

 Devin Moran has made Volusia Speedway Park his January home to package Feature wins with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series. 

“The Mailman” delivered for the second year Friday night at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” winning the Series’ season opener and picking up his third straight Sunshine Nationals Feature victory between 2023 and 2024. 

Polesitter Ethan Dotson, defending Series champion Bobby Pierce, Ricky Thornton Jr. and Moran traded positions in the top five through the first 12 laps of the 35-lap Feature race. 

When the race restarted after the Feature’s only caution flag, Dotson slid back to fifth place while Moran, Thornton, and Pierce kept battling for the lead. 

And while they battled, four-time Series champion Brandon Sheppard neared and knocked. The New Berlin, IL driver was on a mission, charging his way through the field from 16th, eager to bring his Longhorn Factory Team car to victory.  

After Moran claimed the lead with 10 laps to go in the Feature, Sheppard began to close in on the Dresden, OH driver, who was driving as hard as he could through the lap traffic in front. 

With that determination, Moran never relinquished the lead and crossed the line to win his first race of 2024.  

“I had to drive really hard,” Moran said. “I was really determined to win tonight. My guys worked really really hard all winter on making our car run really fast and we came out of the box proving it. It was a lot of fun and we zigged where we needed to and zagged when we had to, and life was good.” 

Sheppard came home second in his Sheppard Riggs Racing Longhorn Factory Team #B5 – earning the Fox Factory Hard Charger Award – with a car able to drive well on any lane of the half-mile surface. 

“(The Feature) was crazy honestly,” Sheppard said. “Right off the get-go, I knew I was pretty good as I pulled out alongside of the guys and I was able to roll around them. Throughout the race, I could enter high, exit low and enter low and exit high. I could run the middle, bottom, top wherever I needed to. So, the guys did a phenomenal job for giving me a really good race car there and we could put it where we wanted to.”  

Despite his own mistake of not applying enough helmet tear-offs for the Feature, Thornton was able to hang on for a spot on the podium.  

“I felt like we had a car capable of winning,” Thornton said. “The driver screwed up by not putting enough tear-offs on. I couldn’t see the second half of the race, but it is what it is. My own fault. The car was really good, the track turned out better than I thought than I think a lot of us thought it was going to. Hopefully (Volusia) will be racey again tomorrow and see what we got.” 

 Oakwood, IL’s Pierce – who started the night by winning the Simpson Quick Time Award and broke the Volusia Speedway Park track record with a lap time of 15.100 seconds – finished fourth after getting caught behind lap traffic – eliminating his chances for a podium. Last year’s DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator champion Tim McCreadie rounded out the night’s top five finishers.  

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models go at one last time on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the fifth annual DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals. The Feature will be 40 laps, and $15,000-to-win. For tickets to Saturday, CLICK HERE 

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

CASE Late Model Feature (35 Laps): 1. 99-Devin Moran[5]; 2. B5-Brandon Sheppard[16]; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[6]; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie[12]; 6. 174-Ethan Dotson[1]; 7. 17M-Dale McDowell[4]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard[11]; 9. 111-Max Blair[8]; 10. 44-Chris Madden[10]; 11. 9-Nick Hoffman[15]; 12. 16-Tyler Bruening[14]; 13. 1-Hudson O’Neal[19]; 14. 19R-Ryan Gustin[13]; 15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[26]; 16. 10-Garrett Smith[17]; 17. 18D-Daulton Wilson[7]; 18. 99B-Boom Briggs[20]; 19. 5-Mark Whitener[24]; 20. 40B-Kyle Bronson[25]; 21. 89-Mike Spatola[9]; 22. 19-Dustin Sorensen[21]; 23. 97C-Cody Overton[27]; 24. B1-Brent Larson[28]; 25. 30-Todd Cooney[29]; 26. 20-Jimmy Owens[22]; 27. 14W-Dustin Walker[30]; 28. 7-Drake Troutman[23]; 29. 157-Mike Marlar[3]; 30. 3S-Brian Shirley[18] 

 

Matt Skipper

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