After almost a one-month hiatus from hardcore competition, drivers in the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series were back at it on Friday night in South Carolina. While it appeared that The Rocket, Brandon Sheppard, would earn yet another victory, a hometown driver instead scored his first season win.
Despite starting on the outside pole alongside the No. 44 of Chris Madden, Clover, SC-native Ross Bailes had a near perfect night at his home track that included earning the PFC Brakes Fast Time Award, winning his Drydene heat race, taking the lead early and leading almost all 50 laps of this feature race.
Although it seemed as if this young and mighty driver had the ideal recipe for a picture-perfect night, this David of sorts had to overcome his own Goliath in World of Outlaws Late Model point series leader Brandon Sheppard. Sheppard started out steady inside the top five, passing a car for position here and there before finally making the move for second by Lap 17. His next move to pull off his victory would involve taking down the No. 87 Bailes Construction ride of Ross Bailes.
Like many other events in the past, several restarts presented opportunities for Sheppard to make his move, but to no avail – that is, until the final 10 laps of this 50 Lap feature race. Regardless of The Rocket Sheppard’s best efforts during the final laps of this race, Bailes’ ability to ride the high line let him hold off Sheppard’s heavy pressure to complete his dream night with his first win of the 2019 season.
“I had a guy spotting for me, and he was the one who told me to move up top and stay there,” said Bailes. “I thought when he told me to move up, Sheppard was five or six car lengths back, but I guess he was underneath me. I didn’t know exactly where he was, but I knew he was closing in on me and I knew just had to hit my marks if I wanted to stop him and earn this win. This is the most confident and comfortable I have ever felt in a car this early in the year and with this kind of confidence I believe that this is the first of many for both myself and my Barry Wright Race Cars team.”
Saturday’s event at Lavonia Speedway, in Lavonia, GA, was postponed to October 3, due to impending inclement weather. The next race on tap for the Outlaws will take place at the Fayetteville Motor Speedway. This two-day, 100-lap, $25,000-to-win finale event will take place May 10-11. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all the latest racing news in the dirt.