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Milton Hershey School Back to Class Showdown
Mississippi Thunder Speedway | Fountain City, Wisconsin
Friday, September 01, 2023
Race Recap  

SCHOOLING ‘EM: Sheppard Gets Second Consecutive Win at Milton Hershey School Back to Class Showdown

Brandon Sheppard went the first eight months of the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series season without a Feature win. At Mississippi Thunder Speedway Friday night, he scored his second victory in less than a week.

The Series returned to Mississippi Thunder for the $20,000-to-win Milton Hershey School Back to Class Showdown after weather postponed the May event.

Sheppard won one of the preliminary races during the May race but didn’t credit that as an inspirational source for Friday night’s triumph.

This year has been a process for the four-time Series champion. A long process. One part, building a new team with Sheppard Riggs Racing. And another, learning his new Longhorn chassis. So, while the Victory Lane photos from May and now look similar, behind the curtain is a more evolved program.

“The team has been working their tails off, they deserve it,” Sheppard said. “We all deserve it. It’s been a long year. It’s finally starting to come our way.

“Back when we won the prelim here, we were doing a lot of different stuff to the car than what we’re doing now. I’ve tried a lot of stuff and been through a bunch of different set ups on this thing, just to get a lot of stuff out of my head that I was curious about. We got everything out of the way as far as that goes and have a pretty good program going.”

He entered the weekend as a 2023 World of Outlaws winner for the first time after his Davenport Speedway victory last Saturday. That confidence led to a second place run in his Heat Race and the luck of drawing the outside pole for the 50-lap Feature.

When the race commenced, polesitter Brian Shirley bolted to the early lead with Sheppard in tow. While they ran one-two, defending Series champion Dennis Erb Jr. closed in. What has forming to be a thrilling three-horse battle was tamed by the first caution of the night on Lap 14.

Tyler Erb slowed in front of current points leader Bobby Pierce, causing the #32 to run into the back of Erb’s new MB Customs chassis and puncture Pierce’s right front tire. It made a bad night worse for Pierce, who qualified 22nd and started 16th in the Feature. However, his story didn’t end there (more on that later).

When the race resumed, Sheppard stayed within striking distance of Shirley before throwing a slider at his fellow Illinoisian on Lap 17. The #B5 drifted from the bottom to the wall through Turns 1 and 2 to take the lead and drive off with it.

By the halfway point, two new movers came into play. Ryan Gustin, who started eighth, passed Erb for third and Pierce had already climbed his way into the top five.

After a restart with 21 laps to go, Gustin snuck by Shirley for second and gave fans a barn burner duel with Sheppard.

Brandon Sheppard races Ryan Gustin
Brandon Sheppard (left) races Ryan Gustin (right) / Buck Monson photo

While Sheppard ran high, Gustin stayed low. Lap after lap, turn after turn, they battled side by side. Gustin had a strong entry into each corner, pulling even with Sheppard through the turns, but the blue #B5 had a better run off the top and pull ahead each straightaway.

The battle led to a key factor in helping Sheppard pull off the win.

“I kept seeing Gustin down there and thought, ‘Man, I got to change my line up a little bit,” Sheppard said.

“I moved up a little bit coming off of (Turn) 2. I was kind of coming off the cushion a little bit. Then I started staying up, not against the cushion but in the black a little bit more and my tires were working better up there.”

While Gustin watched Sheppard pull away, he also lost second to Pierce.

“It got so fast on the top there wasn’t much the bottom could do,” Gustin said. “But [my team] said it ended up rubbering at the bottom at the end. I probably should have stuck with it for a few more laps, but [Sheppard and Pierce] were driving away in a hurry so it was hard to watch them drive away like that.”

Once Pierce got to second with seven laps to go, Sheppard said he saw the #32 on the score board and thought “Oh shit, I better elbow up here.”

Banging his right rear against the wall every corner with sparks flying into the night sky, Pierce closed and closed on Sheppard as the race went six to go, five to go, four to go.

However, in the final three laps, Sheppard was able to gap Pierce by a couple car lengths and claim his second straight win.

“It was a very, very, fine treacherous line up there,” Pierce said. “That’s the kind of stuff I like. I’m just going to go send it… Just awesome to salvage a great points night out of this. Congratulations to Brandon on the win. I was catching him, and he really got up on the wheel hard.”

Gustin’s third-place finish is his seventh podium of the year and Pierce’s second-place finish is his 17th. Pierce also earned the Fox Factory Hard Charger award, going from 16th to second.

Kyle Bronson, debuting his new Longhorn chassis finished fourth and Chris Madden rounded out the top five. Cade Dillard, who finished eighth, started out the night earning the Simpson Quick Time Award – his fifth of the season.

Sheppard’s win is his 83rd career World of Outlaws victory – further extending his record as the winningest driver on tour – and put him eight points behind Madden for second in the championship standings.

Now, the New Berlin, IL driver’s focus turns to Deer Creek Speedway for the World of Outlaws Labor Day Duel on Saturday. The last time the Series visited the track in 2019, Sheppard won.

“Feeling good about it. Confident,” Sheppard said. “I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.”

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series returns to Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, MN on Saturday, Sept. 2. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.

Feature (50 Laps): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[2]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[16]; 3. 19R-Ryan Gustin[8]; 4. 40B-Kyle Bronson[9]; 5. 44-Chris Madden[7]; 6. 3S-Brian Shirley[1]; 7. 9-Nick Hoffman[4]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard[5]; 9. 16-Tyler Bruening[19]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 11. B1-Brent Larson[21]; 12. 96V-Tanner English[10]; 13. 76-Blair Nothdurft[14]; 14. 2S-Stormy Scott[13]; 15. 25-Shane Clanton[18]; 16. 11-Gordy Gundaker[23]; 17. 30-Todd Cooney[11]; 18. 90-Lance Matthees[22]; 19. 14W-Dustin Walker[24]; 20. 49-Jake Timm[3]; 21. 1-Tyler Erb[12]; 22. 15-Nick Anvelink[20]; 23. 77-Jordan Yaggy[17]; 24. 28S-Dustin Sorensen[15]

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Feature Results
12+1B5Brandon Sheppard 500.00034Running150$20,000
216+1432Bobby Pierce 50-1.031Running146$10,000
38+519RRyan Gustin 50-2.743Running144$5,500
49+540BKyle Bronson 50-3.029Running142$4,500
57+244Chris Madden 50-3.707Running140$4,000
61-53SBrian Shirley 50-3.81116Running138$3,500
74-39Nick Hoffman 50-5.670Running136$3,000
85-397Cade Dillard 50-7.151Running134$2,800
919+1016Tyler Bruening 50-9.157Running132$2,600
106-428Dennis Erb Jr50-9.524Running130$2,400
1121+10B1Brent Larson 50-11.189Running128$2,200
1210-296VTanner English 50-11.293Running126$2,000
1314+176Blair Nothdurft 50-12.045Running124$1,800
1413-12SStormy Scott 50-12.259Running122$1,750
1518+325Shane Clanton 50-13.032Running120$1,700
1623+711Gordy Gundaker 50-14.014Running118$1,650
1711-630Todd Cooney 50-14.154Running116$1,600
1822+490Lance Matthees 50-15.859Running114$1,500
1924+514WDustin Walker 49-1 LapsRunning112$1,500
203-1749Jake Timm 42-8 LapsDNF110$1,500
2112-91Tyler Erb 38-12 LapsDNF108$1,500
2220-215Nick Anvelink 38-12 LapsDNF106$1,500
2317-677Jordan Yaggy 38-12 LapsDNF104$1,500
2415-928SDustin Sorensen 29-21 LapsDNF104$1,500
FOX Factory Hard Charger: Bobby Pierce
Last Chance Showdown 1 Results
11016Tyler Bruening 100.00010Running150$0
23+115Nick Anvelink 10-0.912Running146$0
35+2B1Brent Larson 10-2.046Running144$0
42-290Lance Matthees 10-3.954Running142$0
54-17XJesse Glenz 10-5.777Running140$0
66011Gordy Gundaker 10-6.582Running138$0
78+111GJames Giossi 10-7.439Running136$0
810+210Paul Parker 10-7.980Running134$0
97-251Matt Furman 10-8.815Running132$0
109-111HLance Hofer 10-9.495Running130$0
1111014WDustin Walker 10-10.253Running128$0
1212055CChad Mahder 0-10 LapsDNS126$0
Heat 1 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
12+13SBrian Shirley 80.0006Running
21-197Cade Dillard 8-0.9162Running
33044Chris Madden 8-1.842Running
45+196VTanner English 8-4.086Running
57+22SStormy Scott 8-4.784Running
68+232Bobby Pierce 8-5.245Running
76-116Tyler Bruening 8-6.407Running
84-47XJesse Glenz 8-7.664Running
99051Matt Furman 8-8.750Running
1010010Paul Parker 8-9.597Running
Heat 2 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
11049Jake Timm 80.0008Running
23+128Dennis Erb Jr8-3.423Running
34+119RRyan Gustin 8-4.364Running
45+130Todd Cooney 8-5.632Running
52-376Blair Nothdurft 8-7.491Running
66077Jordan Yaggy 8-8.172Running
79+290Lance Matthees 8-8.595Running
880B1Brent Larson 8-8.737Running
97-211GJames Giossi 8-9.427Running
1010014WDustin Walker 8-10.075Running
Heat 3 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
12+19Nick Hoffman 80.0008Running
23+1B5Brandon Sheppard 8-0.656Running
31-240BKyle Bronson 8-0.758Running
46+21Tyler Erb 8-1.866Running
54-128SDustin Sorensen 8-2.726Running
68+225Shane Clanton 8-4.070Running
75-215Nick Anvelink 8-4.310Running
87-111Gordy Gundaker 8-5.566Running
99011HLance Hofer 8-8.679Running
1010055CChad Mahder 0-8 LapsDNS
Qualifying Flight 1 Results
1897Cade Dillard Robeline, LA13.6700.000
2549Jake Timm Winona, MN13.722-0.052
3440BKyle Bronson Brandon, FL13.791-0.121
4223SBrian Shirley Chatham, IL13.893-0.223
5676Blair Nothdurft Renner, SD13.917-0.247
6269Nick Hoffman Mooresville, NC13.997-0.327
71044Chris Madden Gray Court, SC14.056-0.386
82128Dennis Erb JrCarpentersville, IL14.061-0.391
930B5Brandon Sheppard New Berlin, IL14.061-0.391
1097XJesse Glenz Chippewa Falls, WI14.073-0.403
112919RRyan Gustin Marshalltown, IA14.078-0.408
121228SDustin Sorensen Rochester, MN14.108-0.438
131496VTanner English Benton, KY14.115-0.445
14330Todd Cooney Des Moines, IA14.124-0.454
15715Nick Anvelink Bonduel, WI14.126-0.456
161816Tyler Bruening Decorah, IA14.133-0.463
17277Jordan Yaggy Rochester, MN14.156-0.486
18191Tyler Erb New Waverly, TX14.165-0.495
19252SStormy Scott Las Cruces, NM14.173-0.503
201611GJames Giossi Hudson, WI14.189-0.519
212011Gordy Gundaker St. Charles, MO14.227-0.557
222732Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL14.365-0.695
2313B1Brent Larson Lake Elmo, MN14.375-0.705
242825Shane Clanton Zebulon, GA14.386-0.716
25151Matt Furman Iowa City, IA14.479-0.809
261790Lance Matthees Winona, MN14.563-0.893
272411HLance Hofer Cochrane, WI14.569-0.899
281510Paul Parker Kaukauna, WI14.673-1.003
291114WDustin Walker Polk, MO14.792-1.122
302355CChad Mahder Bloomer, WI14.792-1.122
Hot Laps Results
12732Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL13.3940.000
2897Cade Dillard Robeline, LA13.652-0.258
31044Chris Madden Gray Court, SC13.762-0.368
42825Shane Clanton Zebulon, GA13.814-0.420
51496VTanner English Benton, KY13.820-0.426
6223SBrian Shirley Chatham, IL13.840-0.446
730B5Brandon Sheppard New Berlin, IL13.850-0.456
82011Gordy Gundaker St. Charles, MO13.864-0.470
9269Nick Hoffman Mooresville, NC13.897-0.503
10252SStormy Scott Las Cruces, NM13.924-0.530
1113B1Brent Larson Lake Elmo, MN13.932-0.538
12330Todd Cooney Des Moines, IA13.945-0.551
13191Tyler Erb New Waverly, TX14.002-0.608
141228SDustin Sorensen Rochester, MN14.008-0.614
152128Dennis Erb JrCarpentersville, IL14.023-0.629
162919RRyan Gustin Marshalltown, IA14.036-0.642
17715Nick Anvelink Bonduel, WI14.056-0.662
18440BKyle Bronson Brandon, FL14.083-0.689
191816Tyler Bruening Decorah, IA14.099-0.705
201611GJames Giossi Hudson, WI14.122-0.728
212411HLance Hofer Cochrane, WI14.252-0.858
22277Jordan Yaggy Rochester, MN14.356-0.962
23676Blair Nothdurft Renner, SD14.435-1.041
241510Paul Parker Kaukauna, WI14.365-0.971
251790Lance Matthees Winona, MN14.547-1.153
26151Matt Furman Iowa City, IA14.641-1.247
271114WDustin Walker Polk, MO14.899-1.505
2897XJesse Glenz Chippewa Falls, WI14.899-1.505
292355CChad Mahder Bloomer, WI14.899-1.505
30549Jake Timm Winona, MN14.899-1.505
DIRTVision Highlights  
Event Info  

Milton Hershey School Back to Class Showdown
Friday, September 01, 2023
Mississippi Thunder Speedway
2895 WI-35
Fountain City, Wisconsin 54629 

Series Racing
World of Outlaws Late Model Series

To Win Amount

Ticket Options  
Grandstand Type

Frequently Asked Questions  
To Win Amount

Type of Grandstand

Stadium Seating
Bring your own lawn chair to better enjoy the cement grandstands!

Track Info  

Mississippi Thunder Speedway
2895 WI-35
Fountain City, Wisconsin 54629 

Track Phone
(608) 687-3282

Track Email
[email protected]

Track Size

Track Type
High-banked sweeping oval

Closest Airport
La Crosse, WI

Other Airport
Rochester, MN

Track Map
Competitor Info  
Competitor Downloads

Tire Rules
Left Front Tire: Hoosier (Open)
Left Rear & Right Front Tire: Hoosier (90) W30, (90) NLMT3 Right Rear Tire: Hoosier (92) NLMT3, (92) W30, (92) NLMT4 **Grooving & Siping will be allowed**

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