Brandon Sheppard has added another crown-jewel victory to his already illustrious list of career accomplishments.
The 25-year-old driver from New Berlin, Ill., took the lead from Jimmy Owens on lap 23 of Cedar Lake Speedway’s USA Nationals. Sheppard led the remaining distance to complete a sweep of the 3/8-mile oval’s blockbuster World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series weekend.
Saturday’s $50,000 victory, which followed Sheppard’s $6,000 triumph in a tune-up event on Thursday, marked Sheppard’s first USA Nationals win and his eleventh WoO victory of the season.
Advancing from the third starting position, Sheppard overtook polesitter Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, for the runner-up spot on lap five then set his sights on Owens for the lead. Sheppard used high-side momentum exiting turn four on lap 23 to complete the pass and take over the top spot.
Brain Shirley if Chatham, Ill., who started in the fifth position, worked his way past Owens for second on lap 25 and looked under Sheppard while the pair of Illinois drivers negotiated lapped traffic during the event’s middle stages.
Shirley proved to be no match for Sheppard, however, as the defending Outlaws champion survived lapped traffic and a restart with seven laps to go to win by 2.507 seconds over Shirley.
Owens finished third, while Chase Junghans and 20th starting Bobby Pierce rounded out the top five.
The win helped Sheppard narrow the gap in the WoO title chase as points leader Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., was credited with an 18th place finish after retiring early. Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., who entered the event second in series standings 24 points behind Madden, finished sixth. Sheppard entered the event third 34 points back in third.
The series moves to Farley (Iowa) Speedway for a $10,000-to-win event on Monday.
Feature Finish: (1) Brandon Sheppard, (2) Brian Shirley, (3) Jimmy Owens, (4) Chase Junghans, (5) Bobby Pierce, (6) Mike Marlar, (7) Shannon Babb, (8) Dale McDowell, (9) Chris Simpson, (10) Frank Heckenast, (11) Devin Moran, (12) Kyle Bronson, (13) Tyler Erb, (14) David Breazeale, (15)Don O’Neal, (16) Jason Rauen, (17)Ricky Weiss, (18) Chris Madden, (19)Rick Eckert, (20) Jimmy Mars, (21) Brent Larson, (22) Tyler Bruening, (23) Jonathan Davenport, (24) Jason Feger, (25) Shane Clanton, (26) Nick Anvelink, (27) A.J. Diemel, (28) Rob Mayea.