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Brandon Sheppard Hoping ‘Change of Pace’ With World of Outlaws Sprint Car Debut Leads to Late Model Success

Brandon Sheppard

Brandon Sheppard is getting back to his roots of “put a race car in front of him and he’ll drive it.”

This time, it’s a Sprint Car. A 410 Sprint Car with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.

The four-time World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series champion will make his debut with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars at Jacksonville Speedway on Wednesday, May 1, during the Hy-Vee Perks 40.

“Initially, everyone was surprised that I done it because they’ve offered me a few times over the years and just never had any intentions on doing anything,” Sheppard said. “This year, I just kind of thought it was time to change it up and do something different. Kind of get back to my roots a little bit. I used to drive whatever they put in front of me.”

While the No. B5 Sprint Car he’ll drive for his relatives, Jake and Jim Neuman, bears no comparison to his Sheppard Riggs Racing No. B5 Late Model – other than the design of the number – there’s still benefits he can take away from the experience.

“Definitely hasn’t been the year we wanted in the Late Model,” Sheppard said. “So, just kind of clear my head and change the pace a little bit and see if it helps us out in the Late Model.”

About 36 hours after running the Sprint Car, he’ll jump back behind the wheel of his Longhorn Chassis Factory Team car to compete with the World of Outlaws Late Models at Mississippi Thunder Speedway for the Dairyland Showdown, May 3-4 – still looking for his first win this year with the Series.

That quick change of race car diversity is one of the reasons Sheppard agreed to run the Sprint Car, pointing to how similar situations have helped other drivers.

“Anytime you can drive different cars… I mean, look at Kyle Larson, for example,” Sheppard said. “He’s so good at everything he gets in. I think he’d credit the same thing, that getting to get in and drive all these different cars and do all this different stuff; I feel like that helps him not get too complacent with one thing.

“A lot of times, you get in these cars, and you do the same thing week in and week out, and you get into bad habits. Then, the next thing you know you’re doing bad habits at every track you go to. When you drive different stuff, it helps keep you on your toes and have a little bit different feel. Obviously, the feel is going to be different than anything I’d feel in a Late Model, but it’s just the fact of getting in something and going fast in a different kind of car. Really clearing my head of all things Late Model for one night and just go have fun and see what we can do. Then, hopefully go into Mississippi Thunder fresh and ready to go.”

The New Berlin, IL native will have a large fanbase at Jacksonville, IL track, having grown up about 20 minutes from the speedway and made several laps there in various cars – including a 410 Sprint Car more than a decade ago.

“We do the Outlaw event as really just sort of something fun for our fans to take in during the season and, obviously, having Brandon in a Sprint Car has it have even more interest,” said Jacksonville Speedway promoter Kenny Dobson – who once fielded a Midget for Sheppard. “It gets national interest because Brandon is a national brand, but here, locally, Brandon is Brandon. He just has a huge fanbase. I think everyone around here is pretty confident Brandon can get a Sprint Car around Jacksonville Speedway just fine.”

Sheppard’s first laps around Jacksonville in a Neuman car made him internet famous for the night, pulling a photo-worthy wheelie with the nose to sky.

“It literally was on the first lap,” Sheppard said with a chuckle. “I went out there… I knew it wasn’t doing to do me any good to pace around there for two laps, so I got out there and got after it and it stood up on me there. It was definitely crazy, but like I said, the only way to get the feel for it is to jump right in and go do it.”

After the excitement, he began turning decent laps, Jake Neuman said. Sheppard’s car will be one of Neuman’s backups with the Illinois-based team’s standard Jacksonville set up.

“I don’t see a problem with him not making the show,” Neuman said. “Our stuff runs good enough. We get around there pretty good and he can in a Late Model and basically anything he’s ever been in, so I think we’ll be OK.”

After Jacksonville, don’t expect to see Sheppard become a Sprint Car regular. For now, it’s a one-time deal, he said. Maybe another Sprint Car run next year. But being a guy that’ll drive anything you put in front of him, he made sure to add… “You never know.”

Grandstand tickets for the Hy-Vee Perks 40 at Jacksonville Speedway are sold out, however, you can still purchase a pit pass. Gates open at 4 p.m. (CT) with Hot Laps scheduled for 6 p.m.

Or, if you plan on attending the Dairyland Showdown at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, WI, boasting two $25,000-to-win Features, tickets are available at the track. Gates open at 5 p.m. (CT) with Hot Laps scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the tracks, you can watch both races live on DIRTVision.

Brandon Sheppard Sprint Car

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