This weekend’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals led to a first time win for one World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series driver as well as the continuance of a winning streak for another.
The first of two feature races began Friday night with Dresden, OH’s own Devin Moran finding his way to the first $10,000 win of the 2018 season. During this Series first-ever appearance at Terre Haute Action Track, for the first of two shootouts versus the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Models, third place starter Moran charged to the lead ahead of current Summer Nationals point leader and race pole sitter Shannon Babb after a restart from a late race caution on lap 24 of the 30-lap Sears Craftsman Feature. Following this pass, the young dirt driver drove his way to his first win of the 2018 season.
“I was really good on the restarts,” said Moran. “I actually messed up on the bottom of one and two on that restart and I thought ‘man, that might have been our shot.’ Fortunately, I followed this up with a good run and was able to pull off the slider. It was kind of hard because I was pretty tight on entry, but I just made sure I got clear and then got all the way to the wall, and I just tried to stay in the traction.”
Although disappointed in his runner-up finish, DIRTcar Late Model driver Shannon Babb said he was impressed with his young competitor.
“Congratulations go out to Devin, who has always been a really strong competitor,” said Babb. “I really didn’t need that caution. I really messed up on that restart in turns one and two. I was running through the middle on the restart and I didn’t know where to go. Then I didn’t get a good restart down the back straightaway and cost myself speed and he was able to get by me. All-in-all I was able to finish the race in second, so I can’t thank the fans and all those who put this race on enough.”
While Friday night’s feature gave one driver his first win of the 2018 season, Saturday night’s feature at Federated Auto Parts Raceway continued a season hot streak for now six-time winner Brandon Sheppard.
Although Friday’s winner Devin Moran looked to be on his way to a near picture-perfect weekend by setting the fast time, collecting his heat win and then drawing the pole position for Saturday night’s 50-lap feature, the final lap of this race ended the young driver’s hot streak.
Instead of collecting his second weekend feature win, Moran fell to the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series Rocket Man Brandon Sheppard on the final lap of the Sears Craftsman Feature. Despite the young gun leaving it all on the line as he pulled a massive slider in front of Sheppard while the pair exited turn four and headed toward the checkered flag, Sheppard snuck between the No.9 and the wall to steal the $10,000 payday just 0.289 seconds ahead of his fellow driver.
“I think he was a little bit better than I was at the end,” said Sheppard of Moran in Victory Lane. “Me and Devin race hard all the time and we rub a lot, but this time he gave me a lane and I took advantage of it. It was some hard racing there at the end, but it was a lot of fun and I thank Moran and his team for this.”
Despite this loss, Moran said that he was proud of how hard he and his team worked for a weekend sweep.
“We worked really hard this weekend, but I kind of messed up off of turn two on the final lap of this race,” said Moran. “I just couldn’t quite keep up on that bottom, but I felt like I was a little better on the top, so I just hung on as much as we could and we gave it a shot, but Sheppard definitely earned that win.”
Both Sheppard and Moran, as well as the rest of the champions from the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, will return to racing action Friday, July 6 at Dubuque Speedway (IA). This event will kick off a grueling five-races-in-nine-days stretch for World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series regulars. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all of your dirt racing coverage.