Brandon Sheppard stuns the field
and wins the 33rd Annual Dirt Track World Championship to become
the youngest driver to ever win that race
It wouldn't be the DTWC weekend without having to deal with mother nature. Thursday started off the weekend with the modified portion of the event. Thursday mother nature unleashed a shower through the day but that didn't stop them as they got the night started with hot laps. Then 94 mod's took to the track for qualifying with late model standout Jeff Babcock setting fast time. In preliminary action the heat races were won by Doug Adkins, Ben Adkins, Jason Montgomery, Devin Gilpin, Dan Ebert and Brian Skaggs. Then 3 B-mains would determine the rest of the starting lineup as Todd Robinson, Rick Aukland and Dave Jamison all won their last chance races.
Friday would be the nicest day of the 3 day race weekend. First up was late model hot laps followed by qualifying. 79 late models were ready to get qualifying underway and it was Brandon Sheppard driving the Mark Richards owned Rocket House Car usually driven by Josh Richards.
In heat race action the fastest qualifier in each group would start on the pole. In the first heat race Brandon Sheppard and Tim Dohm brought the field to the green flag and it was Sheppard leading most of the way until Florida's Earl Pearson Jr, who started 5th, passed Sheppard in turn 4 on the final lap to win the first of six heat races, also transferring to the DTWC was Don O'Neal.
In the second heat race Michigan's Jeep VanWormer and West Virginia's Steve Shaver brought the field to the green flag. It was Shaver who got the early jump and sailed off the get the win followed by VanWormer and sixth starting Steve Francis, who on a late race restart got around VanWormer but VanWormer got back by him on the outside so he had to settle for a third place finish.
The third heat race saw Georgia's Dale McDowell and Kentucky's Eric Wells bringing the field around for the green flag. In a race plagued by cautions saw Wells get the early jump, almost to have his night come to an abrupt end as a car slowed in front of the leader and the flagman didn't throw the caution in time and Wells almost got involved in a wreck but some quick thinking kept the youngster out of harms way. Finally the race got back under way with Wells getting a big lead over the field and went on to win heat three. Following him across the line was Dale McDowell and Missouri's Will Vaught, who was driving the Warrior chassis house car # 1g.
In the forth heat race it was local hotshot Jackie Boggs bringing the field around for the green flag along side Mike Marlar driving Dillon Wood's # 1w. At the drop of the green Boggs got the early jump with John Blankenship moving up to second. A lap 4 caution for fly for Tennessee's Billy Ogle Jr slowing car. On the restart Mike Marlar got into the back of Ohio's Donnie Moran causing the two to spin and collected 5 cars total. After the wreck got cleaned up and they got back underway Boggs blasted off to the win followed by Blankenship and Illinois' Jason Feger.
In the fifth heat race Tennessee's Scott Bloomquist and West Virginia's Eddie Carrier Jr would bring the field around for the green. At the drop of the green Carrier blasted off into the lead with Bloomquist close in tow. A caution on lap 5 would slow the race but after the restart Carrier held the lead but Bloomquist stayed glued to his rear bumper. As the two caught lapped traffic Carrier went high as did the lapped car of Wayne Chinn and Carrier got held up just long enough to let Bloomquist sneak by on the bottom and go on to win the race followed by Carrier and Georgia's Jonathan Davenport.
Heat six saw two of the hottest drivers in the country bring the field to the green. Arkansas' Billy Moyer and Tennessee's Jimmy Owens brought the field to the green with Moyer getting the jump and lead the whole way followed Owens and Georgia's Shane Clanton transferred to the DTWC.
In the first B-Main it was Pennsylvania's Davey Johnson and West Virginia's Jared Hawkins transferring to the DTWC. The second B-Main saw Wisconsin's Jimmy Mars and Kentucky's Dustin Linville making the big show. The third and final B-main of the night saw Pennsylvania's Mason Zeigler and Kentucky's Chris Combs moving on to the big dance.
With the history of Carl Short's Dirt Track World Championship the one event everybody remembers is the inaugural event where Jim Dunn came from the tail at Pennsboro Speedway where it was known as the flat track where you could not pass at all. Dunn came from the back of the B-main to make the feature and almost missed the call to start the engines for the feature and thought about going home but his hauler had broke down and the hauler that was coming to pick him up broke down as well so with a last minute decision his team pushed his car to the staging lane with workers still working to get his car ready to race. Then he came from the tail and went on to win the first ever DTWC. Then the following year Dunn was involved in a crash at the Paducah Speedway in Kentucky that lead to his untimely death.
Next up was the modified feature which was a real nail biter as modified standout Devin Gilpin and late model driver Greggie Oliver battled it out for the entire length of the race with Oliver pulling off the win. The two raced side by side for almost the entire length of the race.
This year's running of the DTWC saw the running of the Jim Dunn Memorial which they have been running a few years. The running of the DTWC gives the winning driver a last ditch effort to get into the big dance. In this years Jim Dunn Memorial the winning driver gets the option of either taking home $3,000 or getting the final starting spot in the DTWC. The winner of the Jim Dunn Memorial was local boy RJ Conley who took the final starting spot in the DTWC.
So with the field set and the drivers making last minute changes to their cars the drivers were all brought out onto the front stretch for driver introductions. After that was the famous 4 wide parade lap along with fireworks.
After a redraw for the top six starting positions with the six heat winners it was Steve Shaver starting on the pole with Scott Bloomquist along side. With the green flag in hand the race got underway and it was Bloomquist jumping into an early lead but Shaver stayed close behind for a few laps with Moyer running in third and Wells forth. By the 10th lap Wells had been shifted back to the 7th spot as Pearson, Boggs and Sheppard all got around him. On lap 19 Bloomquist caught up with traffic as Shaver put his nose under Bloomquist but couldn't get it done. By this time Brandon Sheppard was one of the only cars running the top groove of the track and had already got up to the 4th place before a caution on lap 21. On the restart Brandon Sheppard made a bonsai move on the outside to pass 3 cars to move up into the 2nd position and set his sights on Bloomquist. With 40 in the books it was Sheppard and Boggs putting pressure on Bloomquist for the lead with Sheppard finally getting it done on lap 43 and a lap later Boggs got by Bloomquist and the two leaders pulled side by side as Bloomquist came to a rest bringing out a caution. On the restart Shaver got back around Boggs for second with Boggs in third, Francis forth and Moyer fifth. After halfway it was Sheppard in the lead with Boggs second, Francis third Shaver forth and Moyer fifth. Boggs pulled under Sheppard a couple times en route to the checkered flag but couldn't get the job done as Brandon Sheppard became the youngest driver to ever win the DTWC. Following Sheppard across the line was Francis, Boggs, 14th starting Jason Feger, 2013 LOLMDS points champion Jimmy Owens rounded out the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Don O'Neal, Billy Moyer, 26th starting Dennis Erb Jr, Eric Wells and Steve Shaver.
In victory lane Sheppard said "It hasn't sunk in yet!!" Sheppard became the youngest driver to ever win the DTWC and that made his first ever Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series victory who was driving Mark Richards Rocket House Car subbing for a vacationing Josh Richards.
33RD ANNUAL DIRT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1 7 1b Brandon Sheppard
2 15 15 Steve Francis
3 6 4b Jackie Boggs
4 14 25f Jason Feger
5 12 20 Jimmy Owens
6 13 71 Don O'Neal
7 4 21 Billy Moyer
8 26 Dennis Erb
9 3 18e Eric Wells
10 1 6s Steve Shaver
11 5 44 Earl Pearson Jr
12 16 Jonathan Davenport
13 8 23 John Blankenship
14 21 25z Mason Zeigler
15 28 71R Rod Conley
16 25 5 Jared Landers
17 2 0 Scott Bloomquist
18 28 71c RJ Conley
19 22 37 Jared Hawkins
20 17 1G Will Vaught
21 23 D8 Dustin Linville
22 10 28 Eddie Carrier Jr
23 11 17m Dale McDowell
24 19 2J Davey Johnson
25 9 55 Jeep VanWormer
26 20 28m Jimmy Mars
Notes from the race:
Jimmy Owens clinched the LOLMDS points title again for 2013.
79 cars entered the DTWC
94 modifieds entered
Kenny Schrader was driving a modified and made the feature and finished 10th