At one of the most challenging and exciting dirt races of the season, the current World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series points leader finally earned a dream come true. A driver who many have deemed the newest rocket ship on dirt, Brandon Sheppard, continued his season of dominating success after becoming this year’s winner of the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway.
Although “The Rocket” Shepp has long been attempting to at least earn a spot the 100 Lap feature race at The World’s Greatest Dirt Track, over the last few years this dream has eluded him. That is, until this year. After breaking the curse of not making this race last season, Sheppard began the opening laps of this race by rocketing to the lead from a 16th starting position following the drop of the green flag. While chasing down the race leaders throughout the first half of this race, Sheppard only had one driver to overtake by Lap 63. Earl Pearson Jr. continued to lead Sheppard on the high side as the laps wound down. When Pearson blew a tire on Lap 72, Sheppard finally found a way to race to the lead.
Sheppard continued to lead the 28-car field unchallenged until the final three laps, where the driver who had once mentored the Rocket quickly became his biggest challenger. This past Dirt Late Model Dream champion seemed to have just the car needed to take down Sheppard as he worked the bumper of the Rocket1 Racing machine in the final laps.
The final lap between Sheppard and McDowell had fans on their feet as they raced into turn three. After Sheppard nearly scrubbed the outside wall, he thought for sure that McDowell would get the better of him. That is, until McDowell began to hug the inside jersey barrier.
As they came out of turn four, McDowell drifted up the track and appeared to have nosed ahead by inches, but Sheppard hit on something that he had been using lap-after-lap on the high side to propel him past McDowell, catching the win that has eluded him by just 0.056 seconds for the biggest win of his career.
“This race was just a day of dreams,” said Sheppard. “We have had a few good and a few bad runs at Eldora. It is just one of those deals where we can go there and be fast and just not be able to put in a full weekend, but this year was finally our lucky day. It just so happens that this year was our year and it is phenomenal to know that this win also means a $125,000 payday. I am at a total loss for words for how to express how excited I am.”
Sheppard will be back at his winning ways with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series on June 20 for the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for the latest racing news in the dirt.